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 Milestones: Your baby’s development from 9 to 12 months

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Milestones: Your Baby's Development from 9 to 12 months

Charles Sprague, M.D.
Boys Town Pediatrics

​Congratulations on approaching the first birthday of your baby!

Hi, I'm Dr. Charles Sprague, pediatrician at Boys Town Pediatrics. During the later months of your baby's first year, you will be amazed by the leaps and bounds she makes in her physical development. Not only has she grown from this tiny infant that once fit in the crook of your arm, but she is making both literal and figurative steps toward increased mobility and agility.

This video addresses some common milestones your baby may reach by his or her first birthday.

Parents often find themselves wondering how their baby's overall growth compares to other babies. However, it is more important to assess a baby's growth based on her own track record. Provided your child is following a steady pattern on her growth chart, she is likely doing well.

That being said:

  • Most babies of this age will have grown about 10 inches in length since birth.
  • Typical head growth is about quarter to a half inch per month.
  • Babies' weight gain will slow down at this age. Many babies will triple their birth weight around their first birthday.

Suddenly, your baby is amazing you (and quite possibly exhausting you) with how much she can move on her own. Her newborn reflexes have diminished, and she's showing increased control over her gross motor movements. Additionally, she might impress you with:

  • Moving from the stomach to a seated position
  • Pulling up
  • Creeping or crawling
  • Cruising furniture
  • Standing up unassisted
  • Walking

Similarly, your little one is illustrating increased dexterity as her fine motor skills refine. Her ability to pick up small objects between her thumb and finger is cause for you to be very aware of potential choking hazards. Additionally, she may be able to use the same skill to feed herself finger foods.

Her fine motor abilities are also increasing her ability to entertain herself. With a little effort, she might work to reach and pick up an object. For objects completely out of reach, she should be able to let you know what she wants by pointing or gesturing.

Your baby's sensory skills - sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch - are a pairing of both physical and cognitive development. The senses that were in place before her birth have improved over the past months.

Her well-developed sense of smell is often used in conjunction with her sense of taste. She may show strong preferences for certain flavors and odors. Research shows that infants exposed to a full range of foods and flavors at this age are shown to have lower rates of obesity and accept diverse flavors later in life.

Her sense of touch, one of her most highly- developed senses since birth, continues to progress. She can sense pain, discomfort, and changes in temperature, and assert preferences for textures.

From the physical standpoint of sensory development, she should be able to hear her name and react to simple requests. She should enjoy the sound of her own babbling voice and perk up at the sound of other's voices. Toward the end of this age range, she should begin to repeat sounds and words that she hears.

Her sight, which was the weakest of the senses at birth, is now nearly as strong as an adult's in the areas of clarity and depth perception. While she prefers to look at objects nearby, she can see objects across the room. The color vision she now sports is apt to stay the same with only subtle changes.

Because your baby is getting more and more mobile, now is a great time to start baby proofing your home.

Keep only safe objects within your baby's reach. Move anything that could be poisonous, pose a choking hazard or break into small pieces. Cover electrical outlets, use stairway gates, and install child locks on doors and cabinets.

If you have furniture with sharp edges, pad the corners or remove it from rooms where your baby plays. The same goes for lightweight objects your baby might use to pull himself or herself to a standing position, such as plant stands, decorative tables, potted trees, extension cords and floor lamps.

Your baby's babbling sounds are becoming more like real conversation, and you'll hear her first words – often "mama" or "dada." Soon she'll talk in simple phrases, but in the meantime she uses gestures to indicate what she wants – or doesn't want! – and pays close attention to your words.

Keep talking to your baby. This is a critical time for her language development. Describe your routine, what you're doing now, what you're going to do next - and what you see. Describing how you think your baby is feeling helps her learn emotions. Keep reading together and play peekaboo, hide-and-seek, and turn-taking games.

If your baby reaches for a book, ask, "Would you like to read a story?" If he or she points to the cow on the cover, say, "You found the cow! What does a cow say?" Wait for your baby's response and then offer the correct answer. As you're reading the book, get creative. Make up your own stories to fit the pictures.

Ask your baby questions about the pictures. Don't limit yourself to yes or no questions

Each child develops at his or her own pace, but talk to your child's doctor if your baby:

  • Doesn't crawl
  • Seems to drag one side for a month or more while she's crawling
  • Can't stand with support
  • Doesn't try to find objects you've hidden in front of her
  • Doesn't say any words
  • Doesn't use gestures, such as shaking her head "no" and pointing

Boys Town Pediatrics offers a 24-hour nurse helpline, so answers are only a phone call away, anytime of day or night.

Remember, each baby grows and develops differently. This video generalizes where most babies are from 9 to 12 months of age. Please contact your pediatrician if you have any questions about your baby's growth or development.

​Thank you for watching this Boys Town Pediatrics Milestone Video. Enjoy the final months of your baby's first year of life!

Milestones are an exciting time in your baby's life. Dr. Charles Sprague​, Board Certified pediatrician at Boys Town Pediatrics, provides insight on the development of your baby from 9 to 12 months of age.

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