What to Expect at the 9-Month Checkup

Unless your child has been sick, you likely haven’t needed to visit the pediatrician since the last well-child exam, at six months. The nine-month exam is much the same—a checkup to make sure that baby’s growth and development are on track. The good news is that there may only be one or two vaccinations at this visit, unless you need to play catch up with any missed doses, or if it’s flu season. This can vary based on your pediatrician. 

What to expect

As usual, your baby will be weighed and measured, and you might receive a chart showing how your child’s size compares to other children of the same age. Your pediatrician will listen to baby’s heart and lungs, look at the eyes, ears and mouth, and check reflexes, muscle tone and skin tone. Your health care provider may ask you to fill out a questionnaire that asks about the last three months, what your child has learned, and any concerns you may have. Or, they may simply ask if your child:

  • Has seen any other doctors since the last visit
  • Is sleeping through the night
  • Can sit without support
  • Has started crawling, scooting and/or pulling up
  • Can use a pincer grasp (thumb and index finger) to pick up food or other objects
  • Has said any words
  • Has any teeth yet
  • Other basic developmental questions that are appropriate for this age

They’ll probably also want to discuss nutrition (and what your baby eats), safety, any new or lingering sleep issues, and healthy habits.

What to report

If your child shows any of these signs, you should let your pediatrician know:

  • Doesn’t respond to their name or other sounds
  • Doesn’t make any sounds or sounds have decreased
  • Seems off balance when trying to sit or stand, or uses one side of the body (one arm or leg) more than the other
  • Doesn’t show recognition of you and other family members, and/or anxiety around strangers

While often these signs just point to normal variations in development, they could indicate a problem that your pediatrician would want to investigate further.

What to ask

You’ll want to bring up any issues that might concern you about your child’s development, behavior, appearance or anything else. Writing down your questions beforehand will make it easier to keep track of what you want to ask. Now’s a great time to find out about good first foods, helping your baby sleep better, the best games to play and how to encourage your child’s development.