May 17, 2023

Identifying signs of concern in 9-12 Months

Jane Magnani
Jane Magnani
Identifying signs of concern in 9-12 Months

As your baby approaches their first birthday, they typically undergo several changes in their developmental milestones. Each month brings newfound skills and abilities that will help them to explore their environment and learn about the world around them. However, it is essential to keep an eye on their development to ensure they are meeting their milestones appropriately.

In this blog post, we will discuss some developmental concerns parents should be aware of when their little one is 9 to 12 months old.

Gross Motor Skills

Babies undergo significant physical development between the ages of 9 to 12 months as they continue to grow and explore the world around them. The most common physical developmental milestones include moving, sitting, crawling and standing. 


Crawling is a crucial milestone in a baby's physical development, preparing them for future movement. Your baby should be crawling around and exploring their environment by nine months. However, some babies may skip crawling and opt to bum shuffle, crawl backwards, or uses commando-style crawling. However, your baby's choosing to move is absolutely fine; the bottom line is that they are moving, exploring different ways of investigating their environment and learning about the world while developing physical skills and strengthening their core muscles. 


Standing and Walking


It's typical for babies to start standing, pulling up, and even taking their first steps between the ages of ten to twelve months. However, it's important to remember that every baby develops at their own pace, so there's no need to worry if your baby hasn't started walking yet. At this stage, your baby should be attempting to "cruise," which means pulling themselves upright and taking steps while holding onto walls, furniture, or caregivers.

If your baby is not attempting to move, seems weak in the legs, doesn't bear weight, and doesn't attempt to crawl or stand could indicate that there are developmental delays. Additionally, if they are walking or cruising constantly on their tippy toes and not putting weight on the flat of their foot. In that case, this is also something that you should have evaluated.


Sensory processing and touch

If a baby between 9-12 months old shows extreme reactions to touch or new textures, it could indicate an underlying medical concern, such as a sensory processing disorder. This disorder affects how the brain interprets sensory information and may cause the baby to avoid certain textures or sensations. As a result, the baby may experience difficulty with everyday activities such as eating, dressing, and playing. 

If you observe these behaviours, consulting with a paediatrician or specialist is vital to ensure your baby receives the necessary support and interventions to thrive. 

Early intervention can lead to a brighter future for the child's development.


Fine Motor Skills


Fine motor skills are those movements that require the use of small muscles in the fingers and hands. These skills are essential for everyday activities, such as feeding, grasping toys, and drawing. In addition, these skills are critical for learning to write later on.


By ten months, your baby should have developed some pincer grasp. Pincer grasp involves your baby using their thumb and index finger to pick up small objects, like Cheerios or small toys. By twelve months, they should be able to use their pincer grasp more effectively by grasping and manipulating objects of different shapes and sizes.

See medical advice if your baby is not attempting to pick up objects or hold onto toys. 


By 9 months, most babies start understanding and recognising simple, familiar words like "dog", "no", or "bye-bye, and say a few independently, such as "mama" or "dada."

It's an exciting phase as they try to communicate their needs and wants through babbling, gaa-gaas and coos. 

If your baby isn't babbling or showing any understanding of words, it may be time to consult with your paediatrician. Your doctor can help evaluate if there is a need for further investigation or early intervention. 



As your baby grows and reaches 9-12 months of age, they typically begin to display a growing interest in interacting with others. And it's not uncommon for babies to experience separation anxiety or feel uneasy with socialising during this stage, which can manifest as excessive anxiety around unfamiliar people. If you notice that your baby seems uninterested in socialising or exhibits persistent stranger anxiety. Consult with your GP for guidance and support.



At 9-12 months, your baby should eat solid foods and attempt to feed themselves with their hands or spoon; they should also start using a sippy cup. It's essential to ensure your baby gets a balanced diet with all the necessary nutrients. 

Around this age, your baby might start refusing to eat certain food types or have difficulty swallowing. It could be because of teething or experiencing new strong tastes at this stage. It would help to offer your baby smaller, more frequent feedings and introduce new foods slowly. It's also important to note that children need to be exposed to a particular food at least 12 times – and sometimes up to 30 times – before deciding if they like it. So, let your child interact with the food by seeing it, touching it, and smelling it in various ways before making their final decision.

If your little one shows signs of distress, struggles with eating, or chokes whilst eating or drinking, consult your GP.



Your baby should be sleeping through the night at this age, although it's normal for some babies to wake up once or twice. 

Suppose your baby is consistently waking up throughout the night or having trouble falling asleep. In that case, it may be time to consult your GP or sleep specialist.

It would help to develop a consistent bedtime routine, actively engage in playtime with your child to exhaust them and avoid screen time before bed.

Regression in Developmental Skills

Your little one's development will likely include phases of sudden regression in some skills they had already developed. For example, they are not feeding themselves anymore, their sleeping patterns have changed, and they wake up often at night. The cause could be teething or reaching a new developmental stage. However, if the regression continues, or they drop some skills, such as waving hello or goodbye or clapping, inform your GP to keep track of these changes. They can help you determine if any issues need to be addressed.

Although it's natural to worry about your child's progress, keep in mind that children have their unique pace of development. If you have any concerns, seek advice from your child's doctor. 

They can provide guidance and support to ensure your child is on the right path.


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