Your baby at nine weeks old

Nine-week-old baby

By nine weeks old, your baby is becoming more lively and characterful. Almost, dare we say it, like a real human being! You're probably getting lots of smiles from her and may notice her respond in kind to funny noises or faces.

Sleep patterns at nine weeks old

Now she's having longer stretches of sleep things should start to become easier for both of you. She'll be better able to cope with more active times when she's had a decent kip and you'll be feeling slightly less frazzled, too.

Most babies at this age sleep 11 to 12 hours out of every 24 but she'll be nowhere near doing this in one go yet. She may sleep for one long stretch – between five and seven hours at night – though, with a few naps in the day. Those daytime naps might be getting shorter but they are still important, in fact, you might find that her night-time sleep improves the better she sleeps in the day, so it's worth investing some time in getting her to nap well by putting her down in a quiet, dark place that's conducive to sleep and spotting the first signs of tiredness (the ones that come before her getting completely hysterical and sobbing) – look out for ear pulling, blinking a lot and looking a bit vacant (and that's just your partner).

Around this time you might notice she's looking a little snug in her Moses basket. If you're thinking about moving her to a cot you could try letting her do daytime naps in it at first to start getting used to it or even just put her in her Moses basket inside the cot to sleep so she slowly gets used to the environment. Switching from blankets to a baby sleeping bag when she moves into a cot might also make the transition easier as she'll feel more snug and secure in that big, open space.

Feeding at nine weeks old

Nine-week-old babies tend to feed five to six times in every 24 hours. The number of feeds is slowly decreasing as she's able to feed more efficiently and her growing stomach allows her to take more milk. Around now she may move from feeding from just one breast at each breastfeed to emptying both breasts in one sitting. Think of it as 'main course and dessert'. The good news is that once she's feeding from both breasts at each feed you'll no longer get that 'lopsided' feeling when one boob is full and the other empty.

Physical development at nine weeks old

At nine weeks, she's really filling out and growing beautifully chubby thighs and arms. As well as gaining weight, she's gaining muscle tone, too. When she lifts her head up now, she has the strength and control to turn it and even hold it at a 90-degree angle, and if you gently hold her arms when she's lying down she has the muscle tone to help you pull her up to a sitting position now.

How much can my baby see at nine weeks old?

Your baby's eyes are developing the ability to see in 3D now, meaning she's able to judge distances more easily, and this will improve her hand-eye coordination. This skill will continue to develop until she's around six months old but begins around week nine and you'll soon start to see the changes. The objects that catch her attention most are those around eight inches from her face, but she'll be looking all around her quite intently this week.

Brain development at nine weeks old

She's noticing the world around her more and may take a particular interest in new sounds. Put a CD on and watch her stop and listen and maybe even kick her legs to the music. When you 'talk' to her, try to leave gaps for her to 'reply' in – these moments are the first building blocks of conversation. The funny baby noises she makes are becoming more purposeful now and, as well as smiling, you might even catch her first laugh around now.

Play at nine weeks old

There's evidence that babies of this age show a preference for faces above any other shape or image. It's an in-built inclination that encourages babies to bond with their parents. Look for toys and board books that have pictures of faces in them for her to enjoy.

She's very responsive to sounds from this age and, as well as enjoying noises of all kinds, she'll start to take interest in the direction sound comes from now, looking around to work things out. She will particularly enjoy learning that her own actions can create sound – wrist and ankle rattles that strap on with Velcro are great for this stage and she'll delight in shaking her arms and legs to hear the noise she can make.

And if you think that's irritating, just wait until someone buys her an electronic toy that goes off day and night. Still, it's all good fun and means she's beginning to learn about cause and effect.

Baby milestones at nine weeks old

This is the week you might hear a first chuckle from your baby, so have those joke books at the ready. Some babies will start rolling from their back onto their side now, but it may well be a while yet before you see this – it depends on how keen your baby is to be on the move.

Your life with a nine-week-old baby

Week nine marks the start of your baby becoming a bit more companionable. If you've felt as though motherhood was a bit of a thankless and lonely task, things are looking up now with plenty of smiles and giggles for your trouble. And because your baby is a bit more robust and predictable, it becomes easier to get out and about, which is something of a sanity-saver for you. Now might be a good time to look into what's on locally for mums and babies and join a few groups and classes.

Mumsnetters say…

Some people are really hung up on forming a routine, others are happy to go with the baby and let a routine form naturally. As long as your baby is getting sleep, food, comfort and playtime, it's fine.

Follow the pattern that your baby is setting at the moment (why give yourself a battle you don't need to be having?)

Going out – even for just the evening – becomes something of an event in itself once you have children. It can actually be easier to go out for the evening when they are that tiny (than when they are clingy and aware that you are leaving them with someone else).