From scooting to crawling to cruising, babies learn how to get around during these months. So now is the time to childproof your home, if you haven't already. Be especially careful to gate staircases and block off rooms that you'd rather your baby didn't explore.
By now your baby is sitting and using his or her hands every so often for support. Once comfortable in this position, your baby will learn to turn and reach for objects without falling over. Your baby will also get better at changing positions, and soon figure out how to get into a sitting position, then pull up to stand.
When on the stomach, your baby will learn to push up onto the hands and knees and rock back and forth. This little "exercise" is working the arm and leg muscles, getting your child ready to propel forward (or backward) in an attempt to get moving.
Some babies are better at crawling than others so don't worry if your child has developed some novel ways of getting around, including rolling, scooting on his or her bottom, or creeping.
As long as your baby is using the arms and legs on both sides of the body and shows an interest in exploring surroundings, there's usually no reason to be concerned.
Leg muscles have gotten stronger from standing, bouncing, and crawling. Now is the time for your baby to start taking steps while holding on to the couch, coffee table, or other pieces of furniture for balance. This is called "cruising." You can encourage it by holding your baby's hands while your little one takes a few steps.
Fine motor and hand-eye coordination also continue to improve during this period, and your baby will develop the ability to pick up very small things, including cereal, with dexterity. This coordination can range from an awkward raking grasp to a precise finger-to-thumb pincer grasp.
Give your baby safe areas to practice moving and many chances to move — limit the time your baby spends in strollers, cribs, and other equipment that restricts movement.
Allow for tummy time so your baby is in the right position to practice crawling. Help your baby get onto his or her hands and knees, put a favorite toy out of reach, and encourage your baby to move toward the desired object.
Encourage walking by letting your baby cruise along the furniture (remove or pad furniture with sharp edges), holding your baby's hands while he or she practices, or using a sturdy walking toy or wagon. Walking toys usually have a bar that extends to about chest height on a baby and is attached to a stable, weighted base with wheels. The baby holds the bar for support and pushes the toy for movement. You'll need to supervise this process, of course, and make sure stairs are blocked off.
Call your doctor if your child does not:
Normal child development tends to follow a certain pattern. The skills that babies develop early serve as building blocks for future skills. Still, the time it takes to develop these skills can vary widely among kids. If you're concerned about your baby's development, speak with your doctor.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: September 2014
|U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) This federal agency collects information about consumer goods and issues recalls on unsafe or dangerous products.|
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|Zero to Three Zero to Three is a national nonprofit organization that promotes the health and development of infants and toddlers.|
|TOYSAFETY.net This site, which is a project of the National Association of State Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) provides toy safety information for consumers.|
|The Senses and Your 8- to 12-Month-Old Here's how you can stimulate your baby's senses and provide a safe environment for exploration.|
|Feeding Your 8- to 12-Month-Old At this age, babies start to explore table foods.|
|Movement, Coordination, and Your 4- to 7-Month-Old At this age, kids are learning to roll over, reach out to get what they want, and sit up. Provide a safe place to practice moving and lots of interesting objects to reach for.|
|Learning, Play, and Your 8- to 12-Month-Old Your baby is learning more about the world through play and is beginning to use words. Keep those toys and games coming!|
|Growth and Your 8- to 12-Month-Old Your baby is continuing to grow at a rapid rate and may even be walking! All this activity and the foods your baby is eating affect growth and weight.|
|Medical Care and Your 8- to 12-Month-Old As your baby becomes more independent, you may have questions about how to prevent bumps and bruises. Here are some other topics you'll cover with your doctor.|
|Choosing Safe Baby Products Choosing baby products can be confusing, but one consideration must never be compromised: your little one's safety.|
|Communication and Your 8- to 12-Month-Old Babies this age might be about to say their first words, and communicate using body language. Read more about communicating with your baby.|
|Childproofing and Preventing Household Accidents You might think of babies and toddlers when you hear the words "babyproofing" or "childproofing," but unintentional injury is the leading cause of death in kids 14 years old and under.|
|Sleep and Your 8- to 12-Month-Old Certain sleep problems may crop up as your child approaches the first birthday, often as he or she becomes aware of time spent away from you.|
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