So you’ve made it to month nine. Baby is on the move – maybe even already walking! He knows more what he wants and makes it known, so it’s not as easy to schlep him around anymore. So… now what?

Check out the suggestions below and stay tuned for more

1. Explore foods

While baby’s primary source of nutrition should remain breast milk or formula until the age of one, nine months is a great age to experiment with different tastes and textures of food before she develops that pesky picky gene. If you haven’t already explored Baby Led Weaning (BLW), definitely check it out. In short, BLW promotes having baby eat exactly what you’re eating, as opposed to only purees. This method doesn’t fit with every child, so be sure to read up on it before jumping in. Regardless, experiment with taste and texture now – give baby a taste of a pickle, add some pepper to her fried egg in the morning, etc. Follow her lead and have fun! If you’re really feeling brave, try out some new recipes – you might find a new family favorite.

2. Recognize separation anxiety

Separation anxiety is real and can be especially pronounced if baby is used to being with you all day, every day. Kelly Mom offers some great tips on how to lessen the impact of separation anxiety, but the most important thing is that you recognize it and address it. You and your significant should be able to leave the house for some alone time and you should definitely get out for a pedicure without a monumental meltdown. Remember to be sensitive to your little one – imagine how scared and desperate he must feel. This shouldn’t prevent you from leaving him entirely, of course, but use your best judgment, mama.

3. Quick field trips

To make mundane errands more exciting, treat every outing as a field trip. Grocery shopping can be an exploration of food, colors, and numbers! Even if it isn’t on your usual to-do list, stop off at your local pet store to visit the animals. Baby will love to look at the colorful fish or hear the squawking birds. Very often customers will bring in their pets to shop – always ask first before touching someone’s animal, but this is a great opportunity to let baby meet a dog or cat, if they don’t already live with one.

4. Story time

Baby may be showing a greater interest in books and having you read to her. Your local library or bookstore may offer a weekly story time, but you can also create a fun reading space in your own home! Pile some pillows on the floor, grab an armful of books, and plop down with your little one. Let her direct the story time (she can lose interest quickly and you don’t want to force her), but make yourself and that big pile of books available to cuddle and share a story.