9-12 Month Milestones

Baby’s 9-12 Month Milestones

Over the course of the first year of life, a baby experiences dramatic physical and mental growth. The period between 9 to12 months marks some of the most significant changes as the baby grows from newborn to toddler, with important milestones marking the way.

Understanding Developmental Milestones

Developmental milestones are a set of skills or tasks that a child achieves during a certain age range. But since each baby is unique, it’s impossible to say that all babies will reach a particular milestone at a set age. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the age at which a child meets a milestone varies from child to child, with the level of mastery of the skill varying as well.

Typically, milestone achievement is classified as a mastered skill, emerging skill, or an advanced skill. For each age level, mastered skills are those that most children have achieved. Emerging skills are skills that many children are just starting to learn. Advanced skills are those that only some children have achieved.

Physical Milestones for 9-12 Months

These milestones include some of the most exciting skills a baby will learn, including crawling, cruising, standing, and walking. This newfound mobility is exciting and challenging for both baby and parent, and marks the beginning of independence for the child.

Physical Milestones:

  • Sitting unassisted
  • Crawling (on belly as an ‘army crawl’ or up on hands and knees)
  • Pulling up to standing position
  • Standing on own
  • Cruising (walks while holding on to furniture, a push-toy, or the like)
  • Walking

Fine Motor Skills for 9-12 Months – Learning to coordinate the use of fingers and grasp objects are important developmental milestones for this age range.

  • Uses pincher grasp (putting pointer and thumb together to get an object)
  • Hits two objects against each other
  • Picks up objects and places them back down
  • Early scribbling
  • Able to remove an object from a container
  • Waves hello and goodbye
  • Self-feeds finger foods

Language Milestones for 9-12 Months – As the AAP explains, babies recognize certain sounds and speech by one month of age. Between 9- and 12-months, babies begin to understand that speech has meaning.

  • Follows speech (pays attention to conversations)
  • Takes actions when given simple verbal commands (picks up a ball when asked)
  • Uses gestures to communicate
  • Understands ‘no’
  • Babbles, using a speech-like pattern
  • Says ‘dada’ and ‘mama’ and up to two additional words by 12 months

Social Milestones for 9-12 Months – During this age range, an easy-going, friendly baby may show signs of shyness and separation anxiety. Babies at this age also begin to show preferences and dislikes. These social milestones mark the growth and development of a baby’s personality.

  • Acts shy around strangers
  • Cries, becomes anxious or upset when separated from parents
  • Shows preference for certain people, food, activities, places, toys
  • Assists with getting dressed by moving arms and legs
  • Shows anxiety or fear
  • Shows happiness and joy by hugging, kissing, blowing kisses
  • Interacts by playing games (patty-cake, clapping, peek-a-boo)

Developmental Delays – Not all children achieve developmental milestones within the expected age range. Some may take longer than others to master a skill. Still, parents may become concerned if a child does not reach milestones as expected.

  • Not crawling or attempting another form of movement
  • Favoring one side of the body over the other
  • Cannot stand on his own
  • No single words by 12 months
  • Doesn’t use gestures (waving, nodding, pointing)

There are many forms of assistance for those babies who experience development delays. Talking to the baby’s pediatrician is an important first step in determining if a child has a significant developmental delay.

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