Growth & Development Milestones: 8-12 Months

The American Academy of Pediatrics has identified important milestones for babies ages 8 months through 1 year old. We've included fun and easy ways to help your baby reach these key developmental markers plus helpful information new parents should know.

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Linda Farwell

Gets to Sitting Position Without Assistance

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: Play with your baby on the floor. Roll a ball to him. Every time he leans over to reach a toy, he strengthens his core muscles.

Mama Must-Know: Your little one might still topple over from time to time, but he will usually catch himself with his arms.

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Kaysh Shinn

Uses Pincer Grasp

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: As your baby begins self-feeding, give her O-shape cereal, and soft diced foods that are perfect for picking up with her index finger and thumb.

Mama Must-Know: You'll find Baby practicing the pincer movement on any small object, so be extra-aware of coins and other objects that are a choking hazard.

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PhotoAlto/ Matton

Pays Increasing Attention to Speech

Type of Milestone: Language Skills

Practice with Baby: Tell make-believe stories to your baby. The more animated your speech, the more interested he will be. Let him watch your mouth and facial expressions as you talk.

Mama Must-Know: If your little one is often exposed to a second language, don't be afraid he will become confused. Babies can learn two (or more!) languages simultaneously.

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PhotoAlto/ Matton

Explores Objects in Many Different Ways

Type of Milestone: Cognitive

Practice with Baby: Give her a box or bag filled with different household objects to shake, bang, throw, and drop. Some favorites include egg cartons, plastic funnels, hacky sacks, and winter gloves.

Mama Must-Know: At 8 months, your baby might spend only two or three minutes with a single toy, but by 12 months, he might sit for up to 15 minutes with an especially interesting object.

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PhotoAlto/ Matton

Is Shy or Anxious with Strangers

Type of Milestone: Social

Practice with Baby: Stay close to your little one when he's around a new person. Holding him helps him feel extra-safe. Ask strangers to approach Baby slowly at first.

Mama Must-Know: Introduce Baby to his babysitter or day care provider as early as you can. He will feel less anxiety if he is given enough time to feel safe with that person.

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Baby Milestones: Your Baby's Eleventh Month

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Alexandra Grablewski

Crawls Forward on Belly

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: Lie down on the floor and let your baby crawl over you. Place toys on your chest and he'll love pulling himself onto your tummy.

Mama Must-Know: Now that Baby is in constant motion, never leave him alone on a changing table. He can easily flip over and fall.

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Banana Stock/Jupiter Images

Responds to Simple Verbal Requests

Type of Milestone: Cognitive

Practice with Baby: When you are changing your baby or getting him dressed for bed, touch and name the part of his body. Ask him to point to his tummy or touch his head.

Mama Must-Know: Don't let TV become a substitute for the real thing. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of 2 should not be watching any TV. Baby needs social and interactive activities to improve his language skills.

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Fancy Photography/Veer

Bangs Two Cubes Together

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: Let her play with blocks. At first she will love throwing or banging them together. By 12 months, she might begin building simple towers and will especially love knocking them down.

Mama Must-Know: Baby will also love investigating toys that have moving parts such as wheels, levers, and hinges.

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Linda Farwell

Finds Hidden Objects Easily

Type of Milestone: Cognitive

Practice with Baby: Play peekaboo with your baby. Take turns hiding your head and her head under a blanket. Let Baby pull it off. Hide behind a piece of furniture, leaving a foot or hand out as a clue. She'll love finding you.

Mama Must-Know: After Baby masters the concept of object permanence, she'll be ready to move onto cause-and-effect games. Fill containers with water or sand, then let her dump it out.

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Cries When You Leave

Type of Milestone: Social

Practice with Baby: As your little one's sense of separation anxiety grows, snuggle and hold her as much as possible when you are available. Try to leave her only with family members and caregivers she is comfortable with and has interacted with many times with you present as support.

Mama Must-Know: Don't believe people who tell you your child is scared or shy because you are spoiling her. Give her as much security as she needs.

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Fancy Photography/Veer

Assumes Hands-and-Knees Position

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: Since your baby's arm muscles are more developed than his legs, he might just rock back and forth or even push backward. Place bright toys and fun objects in front of him to encourage him to move forward.

Mama Must-Know: Some babies prefer to scoot on their bottoms or drag on their stomach. As long as Baby uses each arm and leg equally, don't worry.

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Frances Janisch

Responds to "No"

Type of Milestone: Cognitive

Practice with Baby: Since your still derives much meaning from the way you speak, use a firm, low voice when disciplining him.

Mama Must-Know: If you are planning to teach Baby sign language, this is the perfect time to start because he can understand so much more than he can express clearly with words.

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Alexandra Grablewski

Looks at Correct Picture When the Image is Named

Type of Milestone: Cognitive

Practice with Baby: Play simple memory games with baby flash cards. Lay out three or four cards with pictures with clearly different names (showing both a ball and bottle might be confusing). See if she looks at or points to the apple card when you say apple, etc. Try the same game with photos of family members and friends.

Mama Must-Know: Games such as peekaboo and patty-cake also stimulate Baby's memory.

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Kathryn Gamble

Enjoys Imitating People in Play

Type of Milestone: Social

Practice with Baby: Play singsong games such as "head and shoulders, knees and toes." Go slowly at first so Baby has a chance to copy your movements.

Mama Must-Know: Your baby will imitate your other actions as well. If you want to create a no biting, pushing, or hitting household, then you should not spank your child. Spanking teaches her that the people who love her will hurt her.

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PhotoAlto/ Matton

Creeps on Hands and Knees

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: Create a miniature obstacle course using pillows, cushions, chairs, and boxes for Baby to crawl between and over. Join in the game to show her how to navigate it.

Mama Must-Know: Sometimes babies skip the creeping stage and immediately starts pulling up and cruising.

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Kathryn Gamble

Puts Objects In and Out of Containers

Type of Milestone: Cognitive

Practice with Baby: Let your baby put tennis balls or toy cars in the cups of a muffin tin. She'll also love playing with shape-sorting toys.

Mama Must-Know: Baby's curiosity and problem solving work together. When she figures something out, she might repeat it many times in a row before she gets bored.

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Shows Specific Preferences for Certain People and Toys

Type of Milestone: Social

Practice with Baby: Let your little one love on his favorite stuffed animal, toy, or blanket when he is going to bed or is upset. It will provide comfort and help his separation anxiety.

Mama Must-Know: These loveys are called transitional objects because they help children emotionally transition from dependence to independence. Using them is not a sign of weakness or insecurity.

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Pulls Self Up to Stand

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: Crib walls and the sides of furniture are the perfect height to help Baby learn to pull himself up. Place a favorite toy on a couch cushion. Make sure he will be able to easily reach it when he stands.

Mama Must-Know: At first, Baby might not realize how to sit back down. Teach him how to bend his knees to lower himself without falling.

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Image Source/ Veer

Lets Objects Go Voluntarily

Type of Milestone: Cognitive

Practice with Baby: Your little one will love throwing objects from his crib or high chair just to watch you pick them up and hand them to him again. When you tire of this game, place him on the floor so he can retrieve the toys himself.

Mama Must-Know: Baby should not be showing any hand preference yet. Most children do not become right- or left-handed till they are around 2 years old.

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Image Source

Uses Simple Gestures

Type of Milestone: Cognitive

Practice with Baby: Ask your baby questions and wait for a response. Encourage her to shake her head yes or no. Teach her to wave "bye-bye" and clap when she is happy.

Mama Must-Know: Baby understands more words than you might suspect. Mention a favorite toy, pet, or a family member's name. If she immediately looks for it, you'll know she understands.

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Heather Weston

Begins to Use Objects Correctly

Type of Milestone: Cognitive

Practice with Baby: Offer your baby objects such as a toothbrush, cup, hairbrush, or toy telephone. When he treats the object appropriately, such as putting the toy phone to his ear, react positively and enthusiastically.

Mama Must-Know: Even though Baby may still be placing many items in his mouth, he is beginning to learn that some things are edible and some are not.

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Finger-feeds Himself

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: Introduce your child to a variety of foods. He will love the ways different foods feel and taste. Let him start drinking from a sippy cup. He will have fun imitating you at mealtime.

Mama Must-Know: Some favorite food choices for this age include dry cereal, scrambled eggs, diced soft fruit and vegetables, cubes of cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, diced meat, teething biscuits, crackers, pasta, and mashed potatoes.

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Linda Farwell

Walks Holding On to Furniture

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: Let your little one cruise around the living room, holding on to the sides of chairs and couches for support. Stick to heavier pieces that won't flip over, and make sure there are no sharp edges. You can also recruit older siblings to walk behind Baby, holding his hands when he gets tired of the same area.

Mama Must-Know: Do not use baby walkers. They can be extremely dangerous -- especially if a baby falls down the stairs -- and could interfere with a child's desire to walk.

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Juice Images/Veer

Pokes with Index Finger

Type of Milestone: Cognitive

Practice with Baby: When you are reading to your little one, ask her to find and point to the tree, cat, ball, and so on in the pictures. When you are dressing Baby, ask her to point to her head, tummy, and toes.

Mama Must-Know: You might also notice that Baby points to objects to communicate that she wants them.

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Says "Dada" or "Mama"

Type of Milestone: Language Skills

Practice with Baby: Listen carefully when your baby babbles. He might accidentally stumble on "mama" or "dada." Repeat the word and react with excitement to communicate the significance of what he's said.

Mama Must-Know: Some babies will have a two- or three-word vocabulary by their first birthday, while others are still speaking gibberish. The more you respond like he's speaking, the more you will encourage his communication.

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Kaysh Shinn

Fearful in Some Situations

Type of Milestone: Social

Practice with Baby: Reassure your baby whenever he develops a new fear. A night-light in his room will help with a fear of the dark. If the sound of a vacuum cleaner startles him, vacuum when he is not present. Cuddle him during thunderstorms. This comforting will help his fears settle with time.

Mama Must-Know: When Baby gets older, you'll be able to lessen his fears by talking about them with him.

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Photodisc/ Getty

Stands Momentarily Without Support

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: Every baby is bound to take a few tumbles; be sure your reaction doesn't startle him more than the fall. Unless he is truly injured, a quick hug and a little reassurance is all he needs.

Mama Must-Know: Stationary activity centers, child shopping carts, and sturdy wagons are great choices for babies who are taking their first steps.

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Bryan McCay

Tries to Imitate Scribbling

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: Provide your baby with paper and bright crayons, so she can practice her doodling. To avoid finding scribbles on your walls, let her be an artist in her high chair or somewhere you can keep a close eye on her.

Mama Must-Know: You might find that Baby spends a lot of her art time simply tearing paper. This is another sign her hand and finger skills are more developed.

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Fancy Photography/Veer

Uses Exclamations Such as "Uh-oh!"

Type of Milestone: Language Skills

Practice with Baby: Whenever your child does something accidentally, such as dropping his sippy cup from his high chair, say "uh-oh!" This lets him know you are not upset and that everyone makes mistakes. Eventually he will begin to imitate these phrases, and sometimes there won't be a real reason.

Mama Must-Know: Baby might also begin using phrases such as "oops!" and "ta-da!"

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PhotoAlto/ Matton

Extends Arm or Leg to Help When Being Dressed

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: Play games with your little one when you're dressing her. Play peekaboo when her head pops through her pajama top. Kiss her hands when they appear through her sleeves. Ask her to step in her pant legs. Clap when she follows directions.

Mama Must-Know: Make dressing easier by having everything you need ready before you start. Remember to never leave Baby unattended on a changing table while you step away to fetch her socks or sweater.

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Fancy Photography/Veer

Walks Two or Three Steps Without Support

Type of Milestone: Physical

Practice with Baby: Buy your baby a pair of shoes to protect her feet when she's outside and avoid slips. Comfortable, flexible sneakers are the best choice. They will probably last only a couple months before she outgrows them.

Mama Must-Know: Most babies advance from a couple shaky steps to fairly confident walking in just a matter of days.

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Kathryn Gamble

Tries to Imitate Words

Type of Milestone: Cognitive

Practice with Baby: Be consistent with what you label familiar things. If you call your family pet a dog today, don't call it a puppy tomorrow. If Baby regularly uses the same sound to refer to an object, even if it's not proper English, treat it as a real word. When you talk, however, use correct speech to help her learn.

Mama Must-Know: Paying close attention to your baby's babbling makes it more likely that you'll recognize her first real words.

Copyright © 2010 Meredith Corporation.

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