9 Month Milestones

Pediatrician Jay Gordon walks us through the new milestones that come with your baby’s first nine months of life.
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9 Month Milestones

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- The nine month old check-up is often challenging because those babies are starting to test limits, and I tell parents that as soon as your child starts to test limits, you need to set limits. If you put a child at nine or 10 months of age in a room with a hundred toys and one electrical socket, they head for the electrical socket. And the way that most parents start to set limits is upside down. They say no 20 times, they finally yell and shake their finger, and the lesson learned is backwards. My mom and dad appear to be busy, but whenever I crawl over to the electrical socket or the computer cables, I get five minutes of time. And what you want to say is it's the opposite. We read, we play with you, we're on the floor unless you crawl over to that or that or that short list. Make it a short list. And then we just pick you up and we move you, and we keep moving you and it's really boring. One of the big milestones at nine months of age is testing limits. Being able to move well enough, not all babies can crawl at nine months, but most of them can. Being able to move enough to test limits. They're starting to talk. They don't speak English. They have their own little languages. They're starting to understand a lot more words. Their eye muscles are now moving completely differently. Their eye muscles are moving a lot more like adults. Their facial expressiveness is just huge. It's at nine months of age, not 19 months of age, that I think that I, perhaps with your help, should be diagnosing the large developmental delays. Autism being the best known of them. I don't think Autism should be diagnosed at one and a half or two years of age. By nine months of age, as I look at a baby and as you tell me what's going on at home, I should start recognizing social issues. And it's not something like he stares at your face like it's a block of wood. It's just that a baby who has the PDDs, persistent developmental delays, is not necessarily that interested in what you're doing over there or what happens when you walk away. And they're also not that interested in bringing you into their world. The biggest 12 month old milestone, and some babies start at nine or 10, is pointing. It shows that the baby wants you involved in his world. Babies at nine months of age are testing limits. They're starting to move. Their eyes are working great. They're talking, they don't speak English. They're listening a lot harder, and they start having a lot of social interest. They're starting, not necessarily to get along with each other, but they're interested in each other in a little playgroup. The absence of that social milestone is a red flag. Early intervention is important.


Pediatrician Jay Gordon walks us through the new milestones that come with your baby’s first nine months of life.

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Expert Bio

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Jay Gordon, MD

Pediatrician

Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP, IBCLC - In the middle of his residency training, pediatrician Jay Gordon took an unusual step. Deciding that he needed greater knowledge about nutrition, vitamins, and alternative medicine in order to practice medicine the way he wanted to, Dr. Gordon took a Senior Fellowship in Pediatric Nutrition at Sloan-Kettering Institute in New York City. After his residency at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Dr. Gordon joined the teaching attending faculty at UCLA Medical Center and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Intensely interested in infant nutrition and breastfeeding, Dr. Gordon is the first male physician to sit for and pass the International Board of Lactation Certification Exam and has served on the Professional Advisory Board of La Leche League for 24 years.

In addition to treating patients, he participates in the training of medical students and residents, lectures all over the world, writes books, and writes a monthly column for “Fit Pregnancy” magazine. He has contributed to “New York Parent,” “Parenting” magazine and has been quoted in the L.A. Times, New York Times, and The London Times.

Dr. Gordon’s first book, the well-received Good Food Today, Great Kids Tomorrow, offers a life-changing plan for families who want to make dramatic changes in health and fitness through nutrition. Brighter Baby examines the positive effect that attachment parenting, combined with infant massage, has on children’s health and intelligence. Other releases include: Good Night! The Parents’ Guide to the Family Bed and Hug Your Baby, a Gentle Guide through the First Year, which was released summer, 2002. He also authored Listening To Your Baby: A New Approach to Parenting Your Newborn, which still gets great reviews from parents. His most recent book is The ADD and ADHD Cure, the Natural Way to Treat Hyperactivity and Refocus Your Child.

When the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Television and the Media named Dr. Gordon “the most influential doctor in America,” they were referring, tongue-in-cheek, to Dr. Gordon’s role, as the medical script consultant, in eliminating lollipops from the office of “Doctor Weston,” lead character on the sitcom “Empty Nest.”

After two years of consulting on television scripts, sets, and ideas, Dr. Gordon was named CBS TV’s Medical Consultant for Children’s programming. He also worked for five years on ABC Television as the on-air medical correspondent for the “Home Show,” and continues to consult regularly for television and movies. He’s appeared on Fox 11 News, ABC’s 20/20 and most recently on Larry King Live. 

Dr. Gordon contributed and wrote the forward to Smart Medicine for a Healthy Child and The Encyclopedia of Vitamins and Supplements (both published in 1999), is pediatric consultant for “Fit Pregnancy” magazine and a frequent contributor to “Parents,” “Parenting,” and other media outlets.
 Busy as he is, Dr. Gordon finds that his most challenging job is “being a good husband and the best possible parent to my 22 year-old daughter.”

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