Baby Growth and Development: 8-12 Month Milestones
Sit Without Assistance
As an 8 month milestone, Baby may get into a sitting position without assistance. He still might topple over from time to time, but he will usually catch himself with his arms. Try rolling a ball to your baby while he’s sitting; every time he leans over to reach a toy, he strengthens his core muscles.
Use Pincer Grasp
Pay More Attention to Speech
As your baby prepares to start talking, he’ll cue into your conversations. The more animated your speech is, the more interested he will be. Let him watch your mouth and facial expressions as you talk.
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. Give her a box or bag filled with different baby-safe household objects to shake, bang, throw, and drop.
Develop Stranger Danger
As baby grows, he may develop an attachment to his parents. Stay close to your little one when he's around a new person, because holding him helps him feel extra-safe. Ask strangers to approach Baby slowly at first.
Respond to Verbal Requests
Around this time, your baby will respond to simple verbal requests. Here’s how to help: 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.
Bang Things Together
When your baby first plays with blocks, she will love throwing or banging them together. By 12 months, she might begin building simple towers and will especially love knocking them down.
Find Hidden Objects
Baby will master the concept of object permanence—or the idea that objects still exist even when you can’t see them—as an 8 or 9 month milestone. Consider hiding behind a piece of furniture, leaving a foot or hand out as a clue. She'll love finding you!
Assume Hand-and-Knee Position
Since your baby's arm muscles are more developed than his legs, he might rock back and forth or even push backward. Place bright toys and fun objects in front of him to encourage him to move forward.
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.
Since babies learn by imitation, he will copy your words and actions. Test this out by offering 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.
Creep on Hands and Knees
Many babies “creep”—or push around on their belly —during this timeframe. (But sometimes babies skip the creeping stage and immediately start pulling up and cruising.) Create a miniature obstacle course using pillows, cushions, chairs, and boxes for Baby to move between and over.
Put Objects in Containers
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.
Show Preference for Toys
Baby’s favorite toys are called “transitional objects” because they help children emotionally transition from dependence to independence. Using them is not a sign of weakness or insecurity.
Pull Self Up to Stand
As an 8-10 month milestone, your baby might pull himself to a standing position with the help of furniture or crib walls. At first, Baby might not realize how to sit back down. Teach him how to bend his knees to lower himself without falling. Your baby might also stand momentarily without support.
Let Things Go
Your little one will love throwing objects from his crib or high chair just to watch you pick them up. When you tire of this game, place him on the floor so he can retrieve the toys himself.
Use Simple Gestures
Babies may start using simple gestures as a 9 month milestone. In fact, 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.
Introduce your child to a variety of foods, since he will their differences in feel and taste. 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.
Walk While Assisted
Around 11 months, your baby might walk while holding onto furniture. 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.
Point with Index Finger
You might also notice that Baby points to objects that he wants or enjoys. 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.
Say Simple Words
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.
Help Get Dressed
Baby might extend an arm or leg to help when being dressed. 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.
Take First Steps
Most babies take their first steps between 9-12 months—though some children wait much later, which is also perfectly normal. Most babies advance from a couple shaky steps to fairly confident walking in just a matter of days.