From 7 to 12 months
Now that you can change nappies with your eyes closed and have mastered the first stage of weaning, discover what’s coming up over the next few months in your baby’s development. From exploring the world on all fours and making those first words, to taking on life as a toddler.
7th to 9th Months:
What to expect in your baby’s 7th to 9th months
At 7–9 months, your baby’s growing awareness of the world around them makes everything an adventure. From pulling at curtains to finding their way into nooks and crannies, you may spend much of your time trying to keep them safe.
Asserting their preferences is a common part of a 7-month-old’s development, too, especially for a favourite toy or food. And while you may be keen for mealtimes to go smoothly, a varied weaning diet is key for providing the vitamins and minerals they need.
Your baby can also respond to your voice and even make an attempt at saying your name – although they may confuse ‘mama’ with ‘dada’.
And if you haven’t seen any signs of their first teeth yet, they will usually appear between now and nine months old. Drooling and irritable moods can both be signs of new teeth on the way.
Developing new ways to communicate
Gesturing is a significant development in your baby’s communication skills, and an important predecessor to language1. Instead of crying to be picked up, your baby may extend their arms and look up at you, or they may give you a sign that they want to be put down1.
Fine-tuning their motor skills
Your 7-month-old baby will be keen to get around – by whatever means they can manage! Some crawl, creep, slide or roll along, while others combine all four. Either way, putting a toy just out of their reach will encourage them to keep moving towards it, and help improve their mobility.
They may even be strong enough to hold themselves up on their legs with a little support, which is helpful preparation for learning to walk. The ability to hold and drink from a cup, and possibly eat from a spoon, makes for more independent mealtimes too.
Feeding your baby’s development
Iron remains an important nutrient for your 7–9-month-old’s brain development. In fact, at 7 months, they have almost the same iron requirements (per kilo of body weight) as a 30-year-old man. Iron-rich foods such as lean red meat, chicken, eggs, pulses and leafy, green vegetables, are an essential part of a healthy weaning diet. Fortified baby breakfast cereals are also an excellent source.
Getting to grips with chewier textures
As you start to introduce new tastes and thicker textures, you may find it easier to incorporate a wider variety of iron-rich foods, such as oily fish, meat and dried fruits , in your 7–9-month-old baby’s diet. For more information on making baby food, introducing new foods and new textures, read our articles.
Giving your baby a spoon will help them learn to eat, and if they keep picking up food, it may be a sign they are ready to try feeding themselves. Although it can be messy, you may find they eat more this way.
Ways to stimulate their development
As your baby gains better control over their leg muscles, bouncing up and down on your lap or in a bouncer may provide endless fun. At this stage, a homemade playground, complete with throws or cushions, is perfect for strengthening their muscles as they shuffle around it. Remember to always stay close by to keep your baby safe as they begin to explore their surroundings with their newfound skills.
Helping your baby form words
Although not yet talking at 7 to 9 months old, your baby is beginning to recognize their own name and should soon turn around when they hear it.
Their random babbling will start to sound more like words as they repeat the sounds they have mastered. Talking, reading and singing to them can help them recognize sounds and copy them. Singing songs to your baby is a great way to stimulate their speech patterns and can encourage bonding and brain development.
10th to 12th Months:
What to expect between the 10th and 12th months?
Your bright little 10-month-old baby has been working on their coordination skills and may now be able to drink from a beaker, play with finger foods, and possibly feed themselves with a spoon. Soon they will be uttering their first words and taking their first tentative steps. All this adds up to increased independence, which will keep going from strength to strength.
A nutrient-rich diet remains important to provide all the vitamins and minerals they need. And a variety of foods, fed in small quantities throughout the day, will ensure they get them.
Look who’s talking – and walking
With your help and support, your 10-month-old baby will soon be saying their first words and taking their first steps. Whether it is ‘wu wu’ for dog, ‘ju ju’ for juice, or ‘mama’ and ‘dada’, hearing their first words is always incredible.
Between the 10th and 12th months, they may also start to connect the words they have been using with actual objects.
If your baby can already pull themselves up into a standing position, they may soon take their first small and tentative steps, using you or some furniture for support. Every baby will do this at their own pace, so try not to rush them.
Their developing coordination skills
As your baby’s hand–eye coordination improves, they will gain greater control over their hands and fingers. They will also become increasingly fascinated by ‘cause-and-effect’ actions, such as the turning wheels on a toy car that make it move.
Although they may be able to hold a spoon and try to feed themselves, their attempts will still be quite messy for some months to come. It’s wise to keep a cloth close at hand, have a good supply of bibs and perhaps even lay newspaper or a plastic tablecloth under their highchair to catch any spills.
Feeding your baby’s development
At 10 months old, your baby’s increasing mobility and mental curiosity require extra fuel. Because their tummy is still tiny, it is best to feed them a variety of foods in small amounts regularly throughout the day.
This will ensure they get the energy and nutrients they need. And, by offering them a variety of foods right from the start, you will be helping to establish healthy eating habits for life.
Vitamin D for bone development
Vitamin D, often referred to as the sunshine vitamin, plays an important role in supporting the development of healthy bones and teeth. It is also needed for normal absorption of calcium from foods3.
Getting their daily dose
The recommended daily intake of vitamin D for all babies and children from six months is 5 micrograms (0.005 mg)4.
Encouraging their wobbly steps
Help to build the confidence your baby needs to take those first unaided steps by sitting a little distance away and, once they are standing and stable, opening up your arms and encouraging them to take small steps towards you. Make sure you praise every effort – especially if they make it into your arms without falling.
- Parenting. Month-by-month guide to baby's milestones [Online]. Available at:
www.parenting.com/article/month-by-month-guide-to-babys-milestones [Accessed April
- Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition. Update on Vitamin D. London: TSO, 2007
- Misra M et al. Vitamin D deficiency in children and its management: review of
current knowledge and recommendations. Pediatrics 2008;122:398-417.
- Codex guidelines on nutrition labelling, CAC/GL 2-1985 (Rev. 1 – 1993)