8-12 Months

Important Milestones by the end of 1 year (12 months)

Babies develop at their own pace, so it’s impossible to tell exactly when your child will learn a given skill. The developmental milestones listed below will give you a general idea of the changes you can expect, but don’t be alarmed if your own baby’s development takes a slightly deferent course.

Social and Emotional

  • Shy or anxious with strangers
  • Cries when mother or father leaves
  • Enjoys imitating people in his play
  • Shows specific preferences for certain people and toys
  • Tests parental responses to his actions during feeding
  • Tests parental responses to his behavior
  • May be fearful in some situations
  • Prefers mother and/or regular caregiver over all others
  • Repeats sounds or gestures for attention
  • Finger-feeds himself
  • Extends arm or leg to help when being dressed


  • Explores object in many different ways (shaking, banging, throwing, dropping)
  • Finds hidden object easily
  • Looks at correct picture when the image is named
  • Imitates gestures
  • Begins to use objects correctly (drinking from cup, brushing hair, dialing phone, listening to receiver)


  • Pays increasing attention to speech
  • Responds to simple verbal request
  • Responds to “no”
  • Uses simple gestures, such as shaking head for “no”
  • Babbles with inflection (changes in tone)
  • Says “dada” and “mama”
  • Uses exclamations, such as “Oh-oh!”
  • Tries to imitate words


  • Reaches sitting position without assistance
  • Crawls forward on belly
  • Assumes hands-and-knees position
  • Creeps on hands and knees
  • Gets from sitting to crawling or phone (lying on stomach) position
  • Pulls self up to stand
  • Walks holding on to furniture
  • Stands momentarily without support
  • May walk two or three steps without support

Hand and Finger Skills

  • Uses pincer grasp
  • Bangs two objects together
  • Puts object into container
  • Takes objects out of container
  • Lets objects go voluntarily
  • Pokes with index finger
  • Tries to imitate scribbling

Developmental Health Watch
Alert your child’s doctor or nurse if your child displays any of the following signs of possible developmental delay for this age range.

  • Does not crawl
  • Drags one side of body while crawling (for over one month)
  • Cannot stand when supported
  • Does not search for objects that are hidden while he or she watches
  • Says no single words (“dada” or “mama”)
  • Does not learn to use gestures, such as waving or shaking head
  • Does not point to objects or pictures
  • Experiences a dramatic loss of skills he or she once had

From www.cdc.gov/actearly
From CARING FOR YOUR BABY AND YOUNG CHILD: BIRTH TO AGE 5 by Steven Shelov, Robert E. Hannermann, © 1991, 1993, 1998, 2004 by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Used by permission of Bantam Books, a division of Random House, Inc.