How babies develop from seven to 12 months

This is an exciting stage for new parents with some epic new adventures & milestones to enjoy. Find out more about your baby’s development as you head towards their first birthday

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Wondering what to expect next? Between seven- and 12-months babies often start to crawl or bottom shuffle, and may even take those first tentative, wobbly steps. Solid food is on the menu, so get set to embrace the mess. And baby babble becomes more fluent, so listen out for your tot’s first word – there’s a good chance it’ll be ‘mama’ or ‘dada’! Here’s our month by month guide to your baby’s developmental progress (don’t forget that all babies develop at their own pace):

Your baby at 7 months

Pincer grip

Between around seven and 10 months, your baby may start to move on from picking things up with their fist to using just their thumb and one finger. This ‘pincer grip’ is something adults tend to take for granted, but it’s a complicated man oeuvre involving fine motor skills and coordination.

Moving around

It’s around now that many babies will be making their first efforts to get around under their own steam – although most won’t succeed for another few months. Your seven-month-old may develop a distinctive style for moving around: sliding, rolling or bum-shuffling. These tentative moves towards independence will only accelerate. Once mobile, your curious baby won’t be able to get enough of exploring. It’s an important development time – but it can be a nerve-fraying one for parents. Set your mind at ease and let your tot explore in safety by child-proofing your home. For down-to-earth tips and advice, read our guide to making your home safer. And you’ll find baby-proofing heroes – from stair gates to socket covers.

Finger foods and snacks

With the ability to grasp objects and bring them to their mouth, your baby should be ready to get started with finger food. Always stay with your baby when they have food just in case they start to choke. For easy and healthy finger food ideas, explore our range of snacks and rusks. It’s great to have some healthy snacks on hand to keep little tummies happy on long journeys and spur-of-the-moment outings, too. You may want to add snacks to a ‘day trip kit’, to help you get out and about with minimal fuss.

Your baby at 8 months

More meals

The food milestones keep on coming! Your baby may be working up to three meals a day. Then again, baby appetites can go up and down daily. So, whether you’ve got a grazer or a guzzler, keep offering a wide variety of healthy foods. However, there is one golden food rule: hold the salt. Your baby’s kidneys can’t cope with much at all. We’re not born with a preference for salt, so don’t add it to home-cooked food and when you don’t have time to cook, choose salt-free pots, jars and pouches.

Brain development

Have you held your baby up to a mirror lately? Chances are, they’ll be eager to socialize with their reflection – but probably won’t guess their new buddy’s identity! Even so, there’s no doubting how smart your eight-month-old is getting. At this age, babies are increasingly aware of what’s going on around them. Another big leap is their developing understanding of cause and effect. It can seem tiresome at mealtimes (‘If I knock my bowl to the floor, Dad will pick it up’), but it does mean your baby will be getting into the swing of some classic baby games.

Focus on you: taking care of yourself

Healthy eating is important for grown-ups, too. A balanced diet will help give you the energy you need and help keep you feeling good. Stick to sensible eating and avoid faddy diets, even if you’re having trouble losing stubborn baby weight. Speak to your Boots pharmacist for safe weight-loss ideas. Are you making time for yourself in among baby’s busy routines? Using your parent network can be a great way to share tips, celebrate your triumphs and let off steam.

Your baby at 9 months

Moving around

Crawling may be established by now, but some little ones don’t get around on all fours in quite the way you’d expect. Some crawl in reverse, and others are content to shuffle around on their bottoms. Then there are those who simply skip crawling altogether. Next on your baby’s agenda is pulling up to standing, with cruising – holding onto furniture to move around the room – often following close behind. Babies at this stage can get a lot of fun out of ride-ons, too. Each baby’s developmental timeline is unique.

Baby talk

Your nine-month-old may only be able to say ‘mama’ and ‘dada’ so far (if that). But babies this age are already clever little communicators. Your little one is likely to be mimicking you, figuring out which sounds, and expressions get a laugh, and remembering and repeating them, too. At times, your baby’s babbling may sound a little like real sentences. And when you respond – by smiling and talking back – you’re encouraging your baby’s development and conversational skills. A little dinnertime chatter isn’t out of the question, either. Sitting in on the occasional grown-up meal can help your baby pick up social skills, especially if you bring them into the conversation. Even if they’ve already eaten, make them feel part of the meal by giving finger food to snack on, plus their own unbreakable tableware.

Travel time

With an increasingly mobile baby, you could probably use a break. But if family holidays seem like a logistical challenge these days, try our tips for family travel, and don't forget helpful holiday items for children.

Your baby at 10 months

Naptime

Now your baby is nearly one, sleep could be on your mind again. Many 10-month-olds nap twice daily, but don’t be surprised if yours suddenly refuses to take a morning or afternoon kip. With so much to explore, some babies can’t bear to ‘waste’ time sleeping. There’s no hard-and-fast rule about how much sleep they need, but if they get overtired during the day, or have trouble unwinding at night, more naps may be the answer. Special nap-time routines can encourage a reluctant sleeper, as can anything that makes their bedroom more relaxing (soothing music, blackout blinds…). Sometimes, though, a walk in the stroller is the one thing that works – you can find pushchairs for every budget.

Life skills

Mastering life’s important little skills is all in a day’s work for the typical 10-month-old. With improved coordination, many babies at this age try using a spoon or even drinking from a cup. Let your baby seize the spoon for starters. When buying baby spoons, look for a large-handled one, as it’s easier to grip. Just be prepared for mess… a little mealtime mayhem (and a few extra bibs to wash) is worth it when you’re helping develop life skills. Family meals will let your baby learn from you, too.

Little explorers

They may also be exploring with confidence by now. Some 10-month-olds are ‘cruising’ around by holding onto furniture and aspiring to climb anything and everything. You’ll need to be extra watchful to avoid life’s little bumps and bruises. That said, the odd oops-a-daisy is inevitable. Check out our advice on basic first aid for children.

Your baby at 11 months

Birthday prep

Now your baby’s first birthday is getting closer, you may be thinking about how to celebrate. A relaxed get-together with family and close friends is a lovely way to top off the year. One-year-olds won’t be expecting many presents (enjoy it while it lasts!). But if you’re looking for something to help your baby make a brilliant start to year two, check out these development toys.

Getting more social

Milestones ahead include first words and new social skills, too. Of course, your baby’s been learning to socialize all along, by interacting with you. But starting to spend more time with other children now will help teach your tot to make friends when they’re ready, at around two.

First words

Growing brainpower brings on some brilliant developments for babies at around 11 months. Your baby’s first words, usually between 12 and 18 months, often steal the show. But exciting things are going on behind the scenes. Symbolic thought, the intellectual leap that sees your baby link sounds to meanings, may already be helping them understand a handful of words – find out more about how to help encourage speech.

Separation anxiety

The onset of fears and anxieties – however irrational – is another sign of your baby’s maturing brain. Separation anxiety, for instance, depends on them understanding the complex concept of object permanence. That’s the realization that something out of sight still exists – you, for instance!

Your baby at 12 months

Healthy diet

Your baby’s first birthday is here! Milestones ahead include the introduction of big-kid meals. A healthy diet at 12 months can include three meals a day, plus healthy snacks and milk. Ready meals can be a great convenience but cooking your baby’s food at home (with no added sugar or salt) will help set up healthy eating habits for life.

Tangles and tantrums

As your baby becomes a toddler, thickening hair and the ensuing tangles may bring tantrums. Look for no-tangles shampoos and conditioners, and when you encounter knots, use a wide-toothed comb, and work from the ends up to keep the pulling (and crying) to a minimum.

Health review

While you’re taking stock, have a think about things to discuss with your GP or health visitor at your baby’s second full health review. This is due between nine and 12 months and covers development: language, learning, eating, behavior and safety. You’ll also get a chance to ask about your baby’s progress and what to expect in the year ahead. Don’t forget that your Boots pharmacist can help answer any health queries.

Breastfeeding less?

If you’re still breastfeeding and thinking about giving up, you may want to consider cutting back gradually. This will help your baby and your breasts get used to the change. For babies who’ve been nursed to sleep, little tweaks to bath time can help ease the adjustment, too. There’s so much to celebrate now your baby is one. Get set to see them zoom to even greater accomplishments.