Milestones: 9 – 12 Months

Here are some milestones for 9-12 months


  • Babbles back & forth with adult and with the inflection of adult speech
  • Begins to point
  • May say first words typically “Mama” and/or “Dada”
  • Shows an understanding of familiar words like “Mama”, Dada”, “bottle”
  • Responds to some simple requests paired with gestures like “Come here” or “Give me”
  • Understands and reacts to “no-no!”


  • Enthusiastically explores toys/objects in his/her environment
  • Enjoys banging things together & dropping things to see the effect/reaction
  • Will find toys hidden behind or under things
  • Enjoys dumping out & taking off and will begin to put things in & on
  • Enjoys cause and effect toys (Eg: Pushing a button that causes music/lights)
  • Enjoys looking at pictures in books and may turn pages


  • Begins to wave, clap and imitate other gestures like raising hands for “So big!
  • Enjoys social games like Peek-a-boo, Patty Cake & This Little Piggy
  • Holds out a toy to show others
  • Shows preference for certain people, places and things
  • Often stays close to parent and wants only parent to meet his/her needs
  • May test parents’ reactions during routines like meal time and bed time


  • Crawls as a primary means of moving from place to place
  • Pulls to stand and cruises along furniture
  • May stand independently and take first steps
  • Isolates index finger to point/poke
  • Uses thumb and index finger to pick up small items
  • Bangs toys/objects together, takes things out/off, voluntarily releases objects

Adaptive (Self-Help)

  • Bites and chews solid foods
  • Begins to finger feed self and may play with a spoon
  • Begins to drink from a sippy or straw cup
  • May extend arm/leg for dressing
  • Displays stranger anxiety
  • May show fear (understanding/awareness) of previously accepted situations

Age Appropriate Activities to Encourage Development

  • Play games like Peek-a-boo, Patty Cake & This Little Piggy with your child
  • Sing songs with sounds and actions for your baby to begin to imitate
  • Look at pictures books, point to & name pictures and talk about what your baby sees
  • Name people, animals and objects that your baby points to in the environment
  • Imitate your baby’s sounds and model animal & environmental sounds for your baby
  • Give your baby pots & pans or plastic containers to practice dumping out and putting in
  • Give your baby safe space to explore and practice crawling, cruising & taking steps
  • Blow bubbles to encourage your baby to point and poke to pop
  • Give your baby musical instruments to shake and bang
  • Stack blocks with your baby and let him/her knock them down
  • Cause & effect toys help your baby to begin to understand that they make things happen

Each child is different and will develop at their own pace. These milestones are a guide to when children meet these milestones on average. If you are concerned that your child is not meeting these milestones in a timely fashion, contact your pediatrician to talk about your child and their individualized needs.