We think of “tweens” as those kiddos on the cusp of their teenage years. But the truth is that your baby is “in between” two real stages right now, too!

Those drowsy, fussier newborn days are just starting to be seen in the rear-view mirror and down the road, after a couple of small turns, is a new period filled with fun, silly, drooling, talkative, squirmy days. So, where does that put you now? In a sweet spot where you still enjoy lots of snuggles while also getting a glimpse of the grins you’ll treasure in the days up ahead! 

Your baby is still tender and vulnerable to infections, but is definitely bigger and stronger. With your footing more firmly beneath you, you may be yearning for some family adventures or social outings. 

If those excursions involve car seats, many parents find that a seat that also securely snaps into the stroller makes the car-to-adventure transition easier.  Don’t panic if your little one dozes off while you’re driving. However, please don’t fall into the dangerous trap of keeping your sleeping baby in the car seat once you return home. As comfortable as your little one may look, many sleeping babies die in their car seat when their heavy head rolls forward—choking off the windpipe. Transitioning from the car seat to the bassinet or crib might rouse your baby a bit, but using white noise, swaddling, and bassinets like SNOO help 9-weekers resist waking up and gives them a chance to practice their self-soothing skills. 

Your 9-Week-Old Baby’s Development

Around this point, your baby’s brain is working to connect some new dots! At 9-weeks, babies can already recognize familiar visual patterns as well as repeated sounds and actions.  

Your baby has already learned to widely open the mouth when a breast or bottle is within reach and is starting to figure out things like, “if I bring my hand to my mouth, I can suck on it.” They’re even intently watching our lip movements when we sing a familiar song. Recognizing patterns is lots of fun and forms the foundation for all the learning to come (from social skills to algebra!).

9-Week-Old Baby Milestones

At your baby’s 2-month check-up, you probably discussed developmental milestones. All babies develop at their own rates, but it’s good to be familiar with the normal timing of these milestones to enjoy every day, like you are watching the opening of a beautiful flower. (And of course, to be tipped off to any concerns.) Note: When a baby is born prematurely, doctors always adjust the timing of the milestones to the baby’s corrected age.

Some of the big milestones to keep on your radar include smiling at people, looking around for a parent, turning the head toward sounds, making goo-goo ga-ga sounds, holding the head up for longer periods during tummy time, and making lots more movements with the arms and legs. 

9-Week-Old Baby Sleep

As your baby approaches 3 months, there‘s more rhyme and reason to nap times. For most babies, parents can expect three daytime naps: morning, mid-afternoon, and perhaps an evening catnap, too.

Here are a couple of tips to help promote good sleep habits:

  • Dark and noisy is good. Use blackout shades and good white noise in your baby’s room.
  • You don’t have to be rigid about nap times, but for most babies—and parents—having a fairly consistent schedule of naps help establish a happier and healthier rhythm.
  • Try to put your baby down to sleep before they get overtired. Sometimes, overly tired babies get crankier, more wound up, and have a harder time staying sleep. By the time you see lots of yawns and glassy-eyed stares, you’re already late.
  • Limit daytime naps to 1.5 to 2 hours at a time, especially if your baby is snoozing three times a day. Many will nap longer, but that usually makes them wake more at night.
  • Starting a nap right after a feeding is fine. I know people hear all sorts of warnings about not letting babies fall asleep after eating. But let’s be real, babies naturally fall asleep when they have a full belly of warm milk…just like we get sleepy after a big meal.

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