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Baby Developmental Milestones: By 8 to 12 Months

Uses body language to communicate and may respond to "no"

Though he isn't using words yet, your baby uses his body to talk. He points to things and may nod his head "yes" or "no." He may pause when you say "No!" and "Uh-oh." He may wave "bye bye." Help him learn words with rhymes, songs, and books. Name objects for him often.

May say “dada” or other strings of sounds to imitate words

Did baby say her first word? Was it "dada"? If so, don't take it personally, Mom. She's stringing sounds together now, and "m" is harder to pronounce than "d." In fact, she probably stumbled upon "dada" by accident. But very soon she'll be saying both "mama" and "dada" and meaning it.

May shake, bang, or throw objects

What could be more interesting to baby than dropping an object and watching you pick it up over and over again? He doesn't mean to try your patience. He learns how the world works by shaking, banging, throwing, and dropping objects. Play together with texture books, balls, and squeeze toys.

Finds hidden objects easily

A few months ago, if you hid a toy under a blanket while baby was watching, she'd do nothing. Now, she finds it easily. She's learning "object permanence" -- that things exist even when she can't see them. Add a twist to peek-a-boo: Throw a blanket over your head and let her pull it off to find you.

Begins to use objects correctly

Nearing 1 year of age, the baby who was banging on his play telephone not long ago is now dialing and holding the receiver to his ear. He's learning that objects have names and purposes. Give him a hairbrush, a cup, or a spoon, and see how he plays with them now.

May be shy or anxious with strangers

Your outgoing baby is suddenly anxious around others, even relatives and babysitters. Stranger anxiety is one of baby's first emotional milestones. Around new people or in new places, hold him and give him time to adjust. Ask relatives to let baby make the first move.  

Cries when mother or father leaves

With stranger anxiety comes the start of separation anxiety. Your baby is realizing that she's separate from you and that sometimes you aren't there. She may put up a big fuss, but don't sneak out. Always say "good-bye" and tell her you'll return. Eventually she'll realize that you always do.

Enjoys imitating people in play

Your baby is imitating things that go way beyond mimicking faces and sounds now. When playing, he enjoys imitating what people do -- whether it's talking on the phone or sweeping the floor. Give him a plastic bowl and spoon and let him "cook" with you or let him "drive" with a toy car dashboard.

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