Infant developmental milestones: 6-12 months
Your delicate newborn seems to have turned into a sitting, smiling, chatty baby overnight! Here are the developmental milestones you can expect your little one to reach between 6 and 12 months.
Your baby is six months old! There’s a good chance you’re wondering where the time went while simultaneously breathing a small sigh of relief that the helpless newborn stage is over. That was a lot of work!
Here are the developmental milestones you can expect your child to reach each month from 6 to 12 months. Remember that these are general guidelines and all babies develop at different paces. If you have any concerns, speak to your pediatrician.
The seventh month
By the time your baby turns seven months old, they may be able to:
- Sit unsupported, first by leaning on their hands and then without leaning
- Bear their full weight on their feet
- Reach with one hand
- Use a raking grasp (using all their fingers but not their thumb)
- Have full color vision
- Have an improved ability to see distant objects and track moving ones
- Respond to their name
- “Talk” when others are talking
- String together consonants (“b-b-m-m”)
- Distinguish emotions by tone of voice and express their emotions with sounds
- Find partially hidden objects
- Enjoy social play
- Be fascinated by mirror images
Warning signs: Talk to your doctor if your child is very stiff or very floppy, uses one hand a lot more than the other, doesn’t roll in either direction, can’t sit or stand with your help, doesn’t smile or make eye contact, doesn’t turn their head toward sounds or doesn’t babble.
The eight month
At eight months, your baby may:
- Sit well without support
- Start to get around by rolling, shuffling or crawling
- Stand with help
- Bang blocks together
- Uncover hidden toys and observe toys closely
- Try to chew (which means they’re ready for mashed foods rather than purees)
- Try to feed themselves or hold their own bottle
- Begin combining syllables like “mama” or “dada” without knowing what they mean
- Understand the word “no” but not necessarily obey it
- Look for family members when asked
- Display separation anxiety
- Love to play games such as peekaboo, finding toys and making animal sounds
Warning signs: Make an appointment with your pediatrician if your child doesn’t roll, can’t sit or stand without your help, is very floppy or very stiff, has difficulty eating solids, or doesn’t smile, make eye contact or babble.
The ninth month
Your baby is nine months old! Check out what they may be able to do:
- Get into a sitting position
- Sit unsupported for longer periods (10 minutes)
- Pull to stand from sitting
- Stand while holding on to furniture
- Use their thumb and index finger to pick up objects
- Point at objects
- Watch objects as they fall
- Hold, bite and chew food
- String together syllables such as “mamama” and “bababa”
- Understand “no” and respond to simple verbal commands
- Copy sounds and gestures
- Be afraid of strangers and be clingy with parents
- Have favorite toys
Warning signs: Speak to your doc if your baby doesn’t sit with help, bear any weight on their legs with support, transfer objects from one hand to the other, respond to their name, recognize familiar faces, babble, make eye contact or smile.
Activities to stimulate your baby’s development from 6 to 9 months
To help your baby’s development and strengthen your bond, try these activities:
- Talk: Your baby loves the sound of your voice, so talk as much as you can. Actively listen to and respond to their babbling to encourage language and communication skills.
- Play: Playing games such as peekaboo, singing nursery rhymes, looking for hidden toys, copying sounds and playing outdoors can not only help your little one’s development but make them feel secure.
- Read: Look at picture books and read stories together to help language development.
- Encourage movement: It can be tempting to limit your baby’s movements so that they can’t get into trouble, but letting them crawl and move around as much as possible can help them develop muscle strength and learn new skills.
- Offer new foods: Introducing your child to a variety of tastes and textures at a young age can help them become open-minded eaters. But make sure the foods you offer are soft and cut into small pieces to avoid choking.
The tenth month
At 10 months, your baby could be able to:
- Crawl (if they hadn’t already)
- Sit for as long as they like
- Stand with support
- Cruise (shuffle on their feet while holding onto furniture)
- Use their thumb and index finger to pick up objects more skillfully
- Poke objects with their index finger
- Hold a bottle and try to hold a spoon
- Wave “bye” and understand what it means
- Say “mama” or “dada” and understand the meaning
- Repeat actions that elicit a reaction
- Follow pictures in books
Warning signs: Act early by talking to your doctor if your baby uses one hand a lot more than the other or loses skills they used to have, or if they don’t sit on their own, turn toward sounds or voices, smile, babble or make eye contact.
The eleventh month
Babyhood is almost over! By 11 months of age, your child might:
- Try to stand unsupported for a few seconds
- Cruise while holding onto furniture and may try to walk unsupported
- Enjoy finding hidden objects and exploring them thoroughly
- Reach for, grab and even throw objects
- Place objects in a container
- Say their first word, such as “mama”, “dada”, “hi”, “bye” or “no”
- Use body language to communicate, such as waving and pointing
- Be more comfortable around strangers
- Enjoy music and bounce to it
Warning signs: If your baby can’t yet sit alone, strongly favors one hand over the other, or doesn’t turn toward sounds, smile, make eye contact or babble, contact your healthcare provider.
The twelfth month
At the end of this month, your baby will celebrate their first birthday and enter toddlerhood! By then, they might:
- Stand alone and attempt their first steps alone
- Walk with only one of their hands being held
- Sit down from standing
- Use their hands and fingers to feed themselves
- Explore objects in many ways, including, shaking, banging, throwing and dropping
- Start to use objects correctly, such as drinking from a cup or brushing their hair
- Turn book pages and recognize some pictures when they’re named
- Put out an arm or leg to help when getting dressed
- Follow fast-moving objects with their eyes
- Find hidden objects easily
- Say a few words, such as “mama”, dada” and “uh-oh!”
- Try to imitate words you say
- Use simple gestures like shaking their head “no” and or waving “bye”
- Respond to simple verbal requests such as “pick up the toy”
- Repeat sounds or gestures to capture attention
- Be fearful in some situations
- Show affection
- Show a preference for some people and toys
Warning signs: Talk to your doctor if your child doesn’t crawl, can’t stand with support, doesn’t search for objects you hide, doesn’t say single words like “mama” or “dada”, doesn’t learn simple gestures such as waving or shaking their head, doesn’t point to objects or pictures, or loses skills they once had.
Activities to stimulate your baby’s development from 9 to 12 months
- Talk: Describe your everyday actions to your baby as you’re doing them. Listen attentively to their babbling and respond with positive words and facial expressions to help develop their communication skills.
- Play: At this age, babies love interactive games such as peekaboo, songs with actions such as “Itsy-Bitsy Spider” and “This Little Piggy”, as well as making funny noises and faces. As they approach their first birthday, you can try toys and activities that encourage creativity, such as blocks, crafts and painting. They’ll also love playing outdoors in the yard or at the park.
- Read: Read stories, discuss pictures in books and ask your child to point at the objects you name. Reading is one of the best ways to develop their language and literacy skills.
- Encourage movement: Create a safe space in your home where your baby can practice crawling, sitting, pulling to stand, cruising and walking without hurting themselves on sharp corners or slippery surfaces.
- Offer healthy food: Healthy finger foods such as cut-up fruit, soft veggies, cheese and crackers will not only develop healthy eating habits but also fine motor skills as your child learns to grip the small pieces.