All babies have their own timetable, but you can watch for certain developments in your 12-month-old. Celebrate with your baby as he reaches or nears these milestones.


  • Looks and listens simultaneously
  • Understands how to use many objects (cuddling a stuffed toy, shaking a rattle, putting a cup to his lips)
  • Understands that objects have names
  • Understands object permanence well (looks for an object that’s hidden because he knows it’s there)
  • Has an expanding attention span (about 15 minutes)
  • Is attracted to novelty (new toys, objects)
  • Explores playthings in new ways (touching, banging, dropping)
  • Increasingly displays memory of recent events
  • Follows one-step commands (“Lift your arm”)


  • Has good accuracy when picking up small objects with fingers (pincer grasp)
  • Getting better at releasing objects from his grasp
  • Points and pokes with his index finger
  • Can feed self, although messily
  • Drinks from a cup
  • May be able to put things into containers
  • Crawls quickly
  • Crawls up stairs
  • Pulls up to standing position
  • May stand alone briefly
  • May cruise along furniture
  • May take first steps or even walk


  • Uses gestures to communicate
  • Shakes head or frowns to express “no” or respond to “no”
  • Holds out arms to be picked up
  • Recognizes and responds to many familiar words
  • Responds to simple questions and one-step commands
  • Babbles in long groups of consonant-vowel sounds, like “tata upupup ba ba ba!”
  • Uses the cadence and inflections of real conversation
  • May use “Ma ma” and “Da da” to refer specifically to parents
  • May say other early words


  • Accurately mimics the expressions and some sounds made by others
  • Imitates the actions of adults and other children
  • Enjoys watching older children
  • Enjoys being around other babies but doesn’t play with them yet
  • Watches for your reactions (to banging, laughing, testing limits)
  • Shows stranger anxiety (shyness around strangers)
  • Shows separation anxiety (crying or exhibiting distress when you leave the room)
  • Shows increased affection with family
  • Waves good-bye
Related Articles

Recommended Products