How your baby grows and learns: 6-9 months

Milestones matter! How your child plays, learns, speaks, acts, and moves offers important clues about his or her development.

This is a general guide to infants from four to six months of age. Remember, each child is unique and will grow and develop at their own pace. It is normal for a child to be behind in some areas and ahead in others. For babies born prematurely, milestones are based on their corrected age (your baby’s actual age minus the number of weeks or months they were born early).

Babies can’t be spoiled so feel free to play, cuddle and respond to all your baby’s cues and cries. You can help your baby learn and grow.

Your baby knows who are their family and friends and who are strangers.  Your bond with your baby makes them feel safe and secure and helps them develop confidence and self-esteem.

By 6 months your baby is becoming more aware of other people.  They may: You can help your baby learn by: Safety tip:
  • Be afraid of strangers
  • Be clingy towards you and other familiar people, especially in unfamiliar environments.
  • Have favourite toys
  • Recognizing that these are normal parts of development and are signs that they have a strong relationship with you.
  • Paying attention to the way your baby reacts to new situations and people; try to continue to do things that make your baby happy and comfortable.
  • Staying close as your baby move around more, so they know that you are near.
  • Using words to describe your baby’s feelings. For example, “You are upset that I took away the car keys. You can play with this toy instead.”
  • Getting to know your baby’s favourite toys
  • Offering choices of foods
Never shake your baby.  If you are feeling tired and frustrated ask someone else to watch your baby while you take time to calm down, or gently place your baby in the crib, cradle or bassinet and leave the room to get your feelings under control.  Shaking a baby can cause permanent brain damage and even death. See Why is my baby crying? What can I do? for tips on comforting your baby and staying calm.

Your baby may start to understand simple words and start using some gestures.

By 9 months, most babies will be putting sounds together, and may: You can help your baby learn by: Hot parent tip:
  • Say sounds like “ma-ma” and “da-da”
  • Copy other people’s sounds and gestures
  • Begin to understand the word “no”
  • Start using simple gestures such as waving hello and goodbye
  • Start to point at things
  • Talking, reading and singing to your baby throughout the day
  • Encouraging your baby by copying the sounds she makes
  • Making new sounds to encourage your baby to copy you
  • Teaching your baby wave to other people
  • As you read to your baby, point at the pictures in the book, and let baby do the same
  • Describing what your baby is looking at; for example, “red, round ball”
  • Talking about what your baby wants when he points at something.
  • Instead of telling baby what not to do, ask for behavior that you want. For example, it is easier for a baby to understand “sit down” than “stop standing”

You may notice that your baby is getting more playful – with you and with their toys.

By 9 months your baby’s brain is developing quickly and they may: You can help your baby learn by: Safety tip:
  • Continue to be curious and enjoy playing with a variety of toys
  • Enjoy banging objects together to make noise.
  • Start to understand that something or someone still exists, even if it is out of sight. This is called object permanence.
  • Look for a toy that they see you hide. Before learning object permanence, your baby will act as if the toy disappeared. Once they gain this skill, they will lift up a blanket to uncover the toy.
  • Playing games such as peek-a-boo and hide-and-seek
  • Play games with “my turn, your turn”
  • Showing your baby how to bang objects together
  • While your baby is watching, covering a toy that they are playing with and let them find it
  • Continuing routines
  • Rolling balls back and forth, pushing toy cars and trucks, and putting blocks in and out of a container
  • Babies put everything in their mouths. Never give your baby a toy with small parts that they could choke on. As a general rule, if it is small enough to fit through a toilet paper roll, it is too small to give to your baby. For more information on choking click here.
  • Avoid letting your baby watch the television, smart phone or computer screen. Screen time is not recommended for children under two years of age.
  • Model healthy screen use by turning off screens when not in use and avoiding having the TV playing in the background.

Your baby will be increasingly mobile and playful.  Parents can give their babies opportunities to play and develop. Anticipating your child’s next physical milestone can help you keep them safer.

Between 6 and 9 months of age, your baby will become a lot more mobile and may: You can help your baby learn by: Safety tips:
  • Scoot around on their tummies
  • Start crawling
  • Be able to get into a sitting position and sit without support
  • Pull to stand by holding onto furniture or a person
  • Pick up small items up between their thumb and first finger
  • Learn to let go of objects. Babies enjoy throwing toys onto the floor and having you “go and fetch” them
  • Giving them opportunities to use their fingers by giving small foods such as Cheerios and cooked peas
  • Playing “come and get me.” Chase after your baby as they move and hug your baby when you catch them
  • Placing some of your baby’s toys on the couch or a table so your baby can practice standing while playing with her toys
  • Providing room for your baby to move and explore in a safe area
  • Putting your baby close to things that she can pull up on safely
  • As babies get increasingly able to move around the home, the environment can put them at risk of injury. To keep your active baby safe, see our Home Safety Checklist for tips on baby-proofing your home
  • Make sure that TVs, dressers and other furniture are sturdy and secured to the wall, so they can’t tip over if your baby pulls on them
  • Small items are a choking hazard for babies. Keep small things safely away from baby. If there are older siblings in the home, make sure that their toys that have small parts are kept out of baby’s reach
  • When starting solid foods, some foods should be avoided and others need to be chopped or mashed so that they don’t’ post a choking hazard. Find out more here.
  • Use a pressure mounted baby gate at the bottom of stairways and wall mounted baby gate at the top of stairways to prevent a fall. See Tips for Preventing Falls: Newborns to Toddlers
  • Now that baby can move around poisons, cleaners and medications should be out of sight and locked up tight. See Poisoning Prevention for more information.   Manitoba Poison Control Centre phone number is 1-855-776-4766.

You Know Your Child Best.

Act early if you have concerns about the way your child plays, learns, speaks, acts, or moves, or if your child doesn’t:

  • Bear weight on legs with support
  • Sit with help
  • Babble
  • Play games involving back and forth play
  • Respond to their own name
  • Recognize familiar people
  • Look to where you point
  • Transfer toys from one hand to another

Tell your child’s doctor or nurse if you notice any of these signs of possible developmental delay and ask for a developmental screening.  DON’T WAIT. Acting early can make a real difference!

For more information:


Caring for Kids: Information for Parents from Canada’s Paediatricians

Centre for Disease Control and Prevention :CDC’s Developmental Milestones