You might notice your 9 week old baby has begun to settle around this age, compared with the first few weeks after birth.
The good news is the intensity of the crying stage is beginning to ease, and the second Wonder Week has passed. Your baby might even be sleeping longer periods and she is showing a predictable feeding pattern.
Your 9 week old baby
Your 9 week old baby is taking more and more interest in the world. She has fully developed hearing now and is taking in the sounds around her. She can respond a little when you talk to her and her eyes will follow slow-moving toys when you move them in front of her.
At about two months old, you can expect your child to be moving and kicking her arms and legs much more for fun. If you place them in her hand, she can hold onto toys – or anything else she can grasp.
Watch out if you have long hair; she can grab a handful and hold on tight. This reflexive grip comes from our prehistoric past, when babies would hold on by gripping their mother’s chest hair. Soon she will be learning to grasp and grip with intention, as these newborn reflexes fade away.
How long should a 9 week old baby sleep?
When they have a young baby, the topic of sleep is never far from the minds of new parents. It is always a talking point amongst family and friends. Everyone seems to have an opinion on how, when and where your baby should be sleeping.
The truth is, though, as with the majority of parenting topics, there are no hard and fast rules.
You might find your 9 week old baby is having some longer periods of sleep at night, and therefore you might notice daytime sleep periods are shorter. This makes sense because your growing baby still needs from 8-12 breastfeeds in 24 hours. As she consolidates night sleep into longer stretches, her day feeds might increase to compensate.
9 week old baby sleep routine
Breastfeeding infants – and some formula fed ones too – seem to cat nap during the day. At 9 weeks old, their typical sleep cycle is around 40 minutes, and sometimes that is all they seem to need.
You can try to transition your baby into another sleep cycle by soothing and patting her when she begins to stir, or popping her back on the breast to ease her back to sleep.
The late afternoon and early evening can be challenging for children of all ages – just as it is for adults. Afternoon fatigue is familiar to most workers. ‘Chocolate o’clock’ kicks in around 3-4pm and productivity levels fall, energy dwindles and sleepiness sets in. This is partly due to hormonal changes as the body clock changes pace, making us sleepier and starting to think about bed.
In the modern world, bedtime is still far away, due to electric lighting overruling sunset, but that doesn’t stop the body beginning its natural wind down at this time of the day.
Infants also experience changes as the day draws to a close. They lead to cluster feeding, crying, and a need to be held. Most babies are unsettled at this time of the day – ironically referred to as the ‘arsenic’ or ‘witching’ hour.
You can find out more and pick up some survival tips in Witching Hour For Babies – 12 Tips To Help You Cope.
Should my 9 week old be sleeping through the night?
‘Sleeping through the night’ is rather a vague term that will mean different things for different babies, depending on their age, what gestation they were born at, as well as their overall health.
In the first two months, sleeping through the night is not going to mean getting a solid 6-8 hours of sleep, and neither should we expect that.
Younger infants wake frequently and need to be fed, in order to fuel their rapid growth and development.
On the whole, an older infant will sleep for longer stretches at night than a newborn will, but there is a lot of variation in between.
Remember, every baby is different. Always go with your gut feeling, and be guided by what you think is right for your child, no matter what others around you are saying (or doing).
For more information, read bellyBelly’s article Wondering When Do Babies Sleep Through The Night?
9 week old baby poop
Now that your baby’s a bit older, it’s normal for her pattern of bowel movements to change. You might not be going through quite so many diapers at this point, which is good news all round –especially for your wallet.
In the early newborn stage it’s normal for breastfed infants to poop during or shortly after virtually every feed. For formula fed babies, it’s normal for them to go on average about 5 times a day in the first few days and weeks after birth.
By the time your baby reaches 1-2 months of age, her bowel movements are likely to slow down. You might even have had some poop-free days, with no dirty diapers at all. Don’t worry; for the most part this is normal.
Little ones who are 2 months or older might only go once a day.
It’s normal for infants to cry or even strain slightly when they poop, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re constipated. If the stool remains soft, then they’re not constipated.
Constipation is very rare in a baby who’s exclusively breastfeeding, or who has an element of breast milk in her diet; this is due to the natural laxative found in breast milk.
Constipation is slightly more likely in infants who are formula-fed, as the milk is less digestible compared with breast milk. Constipation can sometimes occur due to errors in the preparation of the formula, so be sure you’re preparing powdered formulas according to the instructions on the tin.
If your baby’s bowel habits have changed significantly – for example, if your baby seems very uncomfortable or unsettled, there’s a significant change in the stool smell, or you notice blood in their diaper – then contact your baby’s doctor for further advice.
If your baby is constipated, please read our article Baby Constipation-Remedies And Causes for further tips.
Average weight of a 9 week old baby
As you know, no two bubbas are the same; therefore, we can only use averages when discussing your baby’s development and milestones and what’s ‘normal’ for gaining weight.
There’s a number of factors that can influence a newborn baby’s weight at birth, including:
- Gestation. Typically, premature babies will be smaller than those born after their due date
- Smoking status. Mothers who smoke when pregnant tend to have smaller babies
- Gestational diabetes (GDM). Mothers who have GDM during pregnancy will tend to have a larger-than-average baby
- Nutritional status. Poor nutrition in pregnancy can lead to a smaller birth weight baby
- Family history. Genetics will affect your baby’s size; size runs in some families
- Gender. Generally, girls weigh slightly less than boys at birth
- Multiple pregnancy. Typically, twins are often born smaller than singletons; this is also partly due to the fact that twins or multiples are often born a little earlier.
You can expect your baby will gain around a pound a month, on average, in the first 6 months of life.
Most 9 week old newborns grow about half an inch to 1 inch a month.
It is normal for your baby to be on different percentiles for her weight and her length or height.
9 week old baby – play & development
Your baby has come a long way since birth. It’s important to remember that every baby will develop at her own pace, and not all babies will reach development milestones at the same time.
The good news is, there is a wide range of what is considered ‘normal’.
At 9 weeks, your baby might be starting to lift her head in response to stimulation. She’ll be interested in new sounds and music, so singing and playing songs at this stage will capture her interest.
Your child might respond by kicking her legs and waving her arms in enjoyment.
What a 9 week old baby should be doing
You’ll notice that your baby’s hand eye coordination is beginning to improve. Not only are her motor skills improving, but so is her communication.
Conversation with your baby helps improve her language development, and will prepare her socially for later life.
Although actual recognizable words might still feel a long way off, your little one will start to communicate more and more with babbling and cooing sounds.
Allow gaps when you are communicating with your child, and allow her time to ‘reply’. This will encourage language and communication skills. Respond to your baby’s communication efforts by repeating sounds back to her.
Many parents feel a bit self-conscious about talking to their baby at first. If this is you, perhaps you could create a bedtime routine that incorporates reading stories aloud. It could be just the ticket to introduce your child to a variety of new words.
A bedtime routine with stories might also help your little one fall asleep more easily.
How do I do tummy time with my baby?
You might be wondering at this stage whether you should still be doing tummy time, or until what age you should continue with it.
Tummy time is generally encouraged until your child begins to crawl. Sessions of a few minutes, two to three times each day, should be about right for your little one.
It’s not unusual for your baby not to be keen on tummy time at 9 weeks old. However, there are other ways you can try to hold her interest. Put her down on her front, and play with your baby’s favorite toy in front of her. This will encourage her to lift her head, look up and engage with what you’re doing. Keep changing the toy to keep her interested.
If you need a little more inspiration, read Tummy Time – 6 Ways To Do It (And How To Make It Fun)
Spending time on their tummy is important for infants’ physical development and motor skills. It helps to strengthen their neck and shoulder muscles, which will prepare them for sitting up, crawling, rolling, and walking in the coming months.
It also breaks up the time they spend lying down with their heads in one position. You might notice your baby’s head is flatter on one side – typically the back – as this is how babies spend the majority of their time.
This is due to the soft nature of the skull bones and can lead to something known as Flat Head Syndrome.
At what age do babies roll over?
There might still be a little more time before baby rolls over, but it won’t be long.
Some can roll as early as 3 months, and it might just take you by surprise. Most will start rolling between 4 and 7 months old. So watch this space.
All that tummy time is preparing them for a life on the move.
Find out more in our article When Do Babies Roll Over?
Life after baby
If you aren’t returning to paid work for a while, you might be wondering how you and your growing baby will fill the days as she gets older. Infant care and household chores will take up a lot of your time, but it’s important for you both to include some social and play opportunities outside the home.
Social isolation is very common in new mothers, especially if most of your friends and social interaction was centered on your work.
Here are a few ways you can meet other mothers as well as plant the seeds for your baby’s own first friendships:
- Some local libraries and bookstores offer regular story time sessions, and welcome babies to take part right from birth. Simple songs and storytelling engage babies as well as toddlers, and you’ll find your 9 week old baby will enjoy the sounds and sights. Most sessions are free and allow time for parents to mingle afterwards. Join the library while you’re there and you can begin a routine of borrowing new books each time you go along
- New mothers’ groups are organized by a variety of service providers. Your local child health center, community center, church, or breastfeeding support group are just a few possibilities. Meeting other mothers with babies of a similar age allows you to chat about the experiences you share, and babies enjoy lying on the floor alongside each other while you talk. Tummy time is more interesting with another baby to look at and, as little ones grow, rolling and crawling as a group is great fun.
- Parks and playgrounds are popular hot spots for mothers and babies. Pop your 9 week old baby in the pram or carrier and walk to your nearest play space. Your 9 week old baby will love lying on a rug watching branches moving in the wind, and the fresh air will do you both good. If you have the courage to say hello to another mama, she’ll probably be just as keen as you are to make a new friend
- You can combine meeting other mothers and babies with getting back into a fitness program. Once you have the all-clear from your doctor, joining a group exercise session designed for new mothers will help you gradually regain fitness and enjoy social contact as well. There are groups that do regular pram walks and Baby Wearing fitness classes, where you can use your baby as added weight-training. Try mother and baby yoga classes where you can work on your core and entertain your baby as you stretch.
All these activities will have you feeling better physically and emotionally, making you better able to cope with the demands of your busy new life.
There are some things you need to be aware of that might suggest it’s time to speak with a professional.
Are these things true for you?
- You feel you’re not enjoying motherhood as much as you could
- The idea of making new friends makes you anxious
- You worry a lot about your baby’s health or safety
- You struggle to get through the day
- You find it hard to go back to sleep after settling your baby.
Postnatal depression and anxiety affect as many as one in seven new mothers. If you have these feelings, there are ways to manage them and help you feel better.
Reaching out to your partner, doctor, nurse, friend, or family member is the hardest step. From there, you will be supported to find the right help for you. There is no shame in postnatal depression or anxiety and experiencing these conditions do not make you a bad mother.
BellyBelly’s article Prevent Postnatal Depression – 8 Tips To Help Prevent PND has lots more useful information.