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Infant development: Milestones from 10 to 12 months

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Dec 22, 2022.

Babies this age are often on the move. They like nothing more than to drop a spoon from the highchair over and over again. If you aren't saying "No!" now, chances are you've said it in the last few hours. Welcome to life with a 10- to 12-month-old. At this age, infant development is rapid.

What to expect

From ages 10 to 12 months, your baby is likely to enjoy:

  • Improved motor skills. Most babies this age can sit without help and pull themselves to a standing position. Creeping, crawling and walking while holding onto furniture will eventually lead to walking without support. By 12 months, many babies might take their first steps without support.
  • Better hand-eye coordination. Most babies this age can feed themselves finger foods, grasping items between the thumb and forefinger. They might also be able to use a spoon. Your baby might delight in banging blocks together, placing objects in a container and taking them out, as well as poking things with a finger.
  • Evolving language. Most babies this age respond to simple verbal requests. Your baby might become skilled at gestures, such as shaking the head no or waving bye-bye. Expect your baby's babbling to take on a new tone and evolve to words such as "dada" and "mama." You might hear certain exclamations, such as "uh-oh!"
  • New cognitive skills. A baby's understanding that objects exist even when they're hidden will likely improve. This is called object permanence. Babies at this age can easily find hidden objects. Although your baby might cry when you leave the room, your baby will likely begin to realize that you still exist even when you're out of sight. You might find your baby imitating you by pushing buttons on the remote control or "talking" on the phone.

Promoting your baby's development

For most babies this age, their curiosity is growing, and your baby is able to move faster than before. An interesting and safe environment can help babies at this age keep learning.

  • Create an exploration-safe environment. Move anything out of reach that could be poisonous, pose a choking hazard or break into small pieces. Cover electrical outlets and use stairway gates. Gates between rooms can help keep your fast-moving baby in safe areas too. Install child locks on doors and cabinets. If you have furniture with sharp edges, pad the corners or remove it from areas where your baby plays. The same goes for lightweight objects your baby might use to pull up to a standing position, such as plant stands and small tables. Anchor bookcases, televisions and their stands to the wall.
  • Snuggle up and read. Set aside time for reading every day even if it's only a few minutes. At this age, your baby might love books with flaps, textures or activities. Make your reading more interesting by adding facial expressions, sound effects and voices for characters.
  • Keep conversations going. Talk to your baby whenever you can and give your child a chance to reply. Using adult speech, not baby talk, teaches your baby to imitate words correctly. And using all the languages your family speaks helps your child learn them at the same time.
  • Set limits. Babies don't have a sense of right or wrong. Praise your baby for good choices. Steer your baby away from unsafe situations. Use a calm no if your baby hurts others. Explain calmly why the action isn't OK, and then redirect your baby's attention.

When something's not right

Your baby might reach some developmental milestones ahead of schedule and lag behind a bit on others. It's a good idea, however, to be aware of the signs or symptoms of a problem.

Consult your baby's health care provider if you're concerned about your baby's development or your baby:

  • Does not crawl or consistently drags one side of the body while crawling.
  • Cannot stand with help.
  • Does not use gestures, such as waving or shaking the head.
  • Does not babble or attempt words such as "mama" or "dada."
  • Does not search for objects that are hidden while your baby watches.
  • Does not point to objects or pictures.

Trust your instincts. The earlier a problem is found, the earlier it can be treated. Then you can look forward to the delights and challenges that lie ahead.

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