Developmental milestones for 8 to 12 months by UofL Health Louisville KY

Are you a new or expecting parent? Many parents wonder what is normal for their newborn when it comes to developmental milestones. This is part three of a three-part blog series. Throughout the week we will post a  list of developmental milestones submitted by Deborah Winders Davis, Ph.D., professor of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine at the University of Louisville. To read part one, developmental milestones for 1 to 3 months, click here. To read part two, developmental milestones for 4 to 7 months, click here.

If you are concerned about your child reaching certain developmental milestones, please make sure to discuss any issues with your child’s pediatrician. If you need a pediatrician, click here to learn more about UofL Pediatrics.


  • Gets to sitting position without assistance (8-10 months.)
  • Crawls forward on belly
  • Assumes hand and knee position
  • Creeps on hands and knees
  • Gets from sitting to crawling or prone (lying on stomach) position (10-12 months)
  • Pulls self to standing position
  • Walks holding on to furniture
  • Stands momentarily without support
  • May walk two or three steps without support

Hand and Finger Skills

  • Uses pincer grasp (grasp using thumb and index finger; 7-10 months)
  • Bangs two one-inch cubes together
  • Puts objects into container (10-12 months)
  • Takes objects out of container (10-12 months)
  • Pokes with index finger
  • Tries to imitate scribbling


  • Explores objects in many different ways (shaking, banging, throwing, dropping) (8-10 months)
  • Finds hidden objects easily (10-12 months)
  • Looks at correct picture when image is named
  • Imitates gestures (9-12 months)

Language Milestones

  • Responds to simple verbal requests
  • Responds to “no”
  • Makes simple gestures such as shaking head for no
  • Babbles with inflection (8-10 months)
  • Babbles “dada” and “mama” (8-10 months)
  • Says “dada” and “mama” for specific person (11-12 months)
  • Uses exclamations such as “oh-oh”


  • Shy or anxious with strangers (8-12 months)
  • Cries when mother or father leaves (8-12 months)
  • Enjoys imitating people in his play (10-12 months)
  • Shows specific preferences for certain people and toys (8-12 months)
  • Prefers mother and/or regular care provider over all others (8-12 months)
  • Repeats sounds or gestures for attention (10-12 months)
  • Finger-feeds himself (8-12 months)
  • Extends arm or leg to help when being dressed

Developmental red flags

  • 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 (10-12 months)
  • Says no single words (“mama” or “dada”)
  • Does not learn to use gestures such as waving or shaking head
  • Does not sit steadily by 10 months
  • Does not show interest in “peek-a-boo” or “patty cake” by 8 months
  • Does not babble by 8 months (“dada,” “baba,” “mama”)

Adapted from Early Childhood Direction Center, C/O Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, 219 Bryant St., Buffalo, New York 14222

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Deborah Davis, Ph.D.

Deborah Winders Davis, Ph.D., has been involved in pediatric and neonatal healthcare for more than 35 years. She has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in nursing and a doctorate in nursing and developmental psychology. She is a tenured professor of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine at the University of Louisville. Her research areas include understanding the developmental processes that result in individual differences in children's cognitive outcomes, especially in children who are “at-risk” (eg. children born prematurely and those from low-income families). Of particular interest is the development of attention regulation skills within the context of parent-child interactions. Additionally, she has an interest in promoting positive parenting skills and parent health literacy to improve developmental and health outcomes, especially in low-income families.

All posts by Deborah Davis, Ph.D.
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