Your nine-month-old baby

Fine motor skills

He uses forefinger and thumb to pick up small things. That pincer grasp, in full swing, is perfect for nabbing cheerios and for offering parents a keen reminder to baby proof yet again!

Last month he learned how to bang toys. This month's improvement on that theme is banging two things together. Give him things to make different sounds -- wooden, metal and paper -- a pan and an empty oatmeal container to hit with a wooden spoon. He'll love checking out the different sounds. He's probably also learned to clap his hands together. This gives a new twist to patty-cake -- he can do it himself!

Note: These milestones may first appear this month. It's normal for them to happen later. Worried your little one isn't developing normally? Check out these developmental red flags.

The big picture

Life is so exciting; so much to examine. So much that isn't safe for little ones.

Practice turning your baby away from dangers in explorer-friendly ways.

For example, instead of "No! Don't put that in your mouth," say "We don't eat doggy's food. See how you can put this cup in that cup?" Distraction and redirection are valuable tools. Another perk? Perhaps if your baby doesn't hear "no" as often he won't use it as much.

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