If it's your first time being a parent, you are currently in awe of how fast time is flying and how many milestones are coming and going. Even my second time around with a newborn, I found myself unable to comprehend how my little babe was now sitting and eating food. The 7-9 month age bracket is a B I G milestone development time frame, especially when it comes to gross motor skills. Then again, when is there NOT a lot of milestones happening when it comes to raising children?!
So prepare yourself to say goodbye to your easy immobile baby and brace yourself for a motivated mover! It doesn't stop at just crawling either -get ready for pulling to stand on furniture and independent sitting!
I think it's safe to say this would be a good time to baby proof!
- This guideline has been developed through clinical experience and in combination with references Peabody Developmental Motor Scales 2 + The Beery VMI.
- Reminder: Focus on your child’s strengths, not weaknesses. Focus on if your child is making an overall forward progression instead of making sure your child makes EVERY milestone according to plan (you can easily drive yourself and your baby crazy.). Relax and enjoy these fleeting moments!
Gross Motor Skills
Now that the ATNR reflex has integrated (gone away), your baby is ready to learn to crawl. Don't force it if they are not ready, let it happen naturally!
Here are some signs your baby is getting ready to take flight:
- On tummy (prone), baby lifts chest and thighs completely off the floor and assumes a superman-like position (prone extension)
- Baby lifts up into quadruped (hands and knees) and rocks back and forth.
- Baby lifts into quadruped position and reaches for a toy with one hand while weightbearing on the other hand.
- As funny as it may sound, a baby typically begins to crawl backwards before they learn to propel themselves forward purposefully to obtain an object. And usually, they begin to belly crawl or scoot before they learn to push up into the hands and knees position for actual crawling. So if your baby is currently going backwards, don't worry, this is a normal progression of crawling.
Crawling Tip: Grass, sand and other fun textures are good places for a baby to learn to crawl because the added texture provides more tactile and proprioceptive input to the hands and knees, giving the brain and body a better awareness of his/her position in space.
- 4-6 months: baby can push entire chest off of the floor (recap) when placed on tummy
- 0-7 months: rolls from back to stomach and stomach to back
- 6-8 months: baby pushes up into quadruped (hands and knees) and shifts weight into one hand while reaching for a toy with the other
- 7-9 months: baby scoots on belly forwards or backwards
- 8-9 months: baby can maintain quadruped position (hands and knees with tummy completely off the floor) for a few seconds at a time
- 8-9 months: baby can propel themselves forward on their tummy via a commando crawl
- 9-11 months: independent crawling
- 0-7 months: begins to sit independently (without support of own hands)
- 0-8 months: sits independently for a few minutes
- 0-9 months: sits independently for five minutes and can rotate trunk to one side in sitting
- 0-9 months: Walks a few steps when adult holds both hands
- 0-9 months pulls self up to standing position using furniture
Visual Motor + Visual Perceptual Skills
- 0-7 months: in sitting, baby can track a moving object 180 degrees
- 0-8 months: baby plays peek-a-boo with an adult
- 0-8 months: plays with self image in mirror (pats, kisses, smiles, etc)
- 0-8 months: finger feeds self independently
- 0-9 months: looks at simple objects when named (in a book or items pointed at in environment)
- 8-9 months: imitates simple actions such as clapping hands and banging objects together
Fine Motor + Grasp Development
Now that your baby has less reflexive actions going on to get in the way (such as fisted hands and ATNR reflex), they being to learn how to use their hands effectively to manipulate their environment and obtain what they want. The development of grasp begins with more immature grasping patterns such as raking and using a whole fist to grab an object, and then refines into a more mature grasping pattern, what we call a pincer grasp. A mature pincer grasp is when the thumb is opposed to the tip of the index finger with a space in the palm/webspace. It is normal for baby to initially begin grabbing objects with the pinky side of the hand (ulnar palmar grasp) and then fingers against the palm (palmar and radial palmar grasps) before becoming proficient at a refined pincer grasp.
Here is how the development of grasp progresses:
- whole hand grasp >
- ulnar palmar grasp (pinky finger side) >
- palmar grasp (middle of the palm) >
- radial palmar grasp (thumb/radius side) >
- raking grasp >
- pincer grasp
Grasping + Fine Motor Milestones:
- 0-7 months: passes/transfers objects and toys easily from one hand to the other
- 0-8 months: baby can poke and point to objects
- 8-9 months: uses a pincer grasp (thumb and index finger with visibly open web space) to obtain small items (raisins, beans, etc)
- 8-9 months: intentional release of objects develops and baby can begin to learn to put "things in" (i.e. shapes into a bucket, balls into a hole, etc)
- 8-9 months: can clap hands and bang objects together at midline when imitating an adult
- 0-9 months: waves bye-bye
Self-Help + Feeding Skills
While you may think it is too early to begin teaching your child to care for themselves, there are activities you can begin introducing early on to help your child feel more independent and confident in themselves.
- 6-9 months: begins drinking water from a cup or straw (with the help of an adult)
- 7-9 months: helpful when threading legs and arms through clothing
- 8-9 months: finger feeding becomes independent (even with smaller items such as raisins or cheerios)
- 7-9 months: can bring a loaded spoon mouth
- 0-9 months: can use tongue to transfer (or lateralize) food from tongue to side teeth and from teeth to center of tongue
- 0-9 months: gag reflex is less sensitive
- 0-9 months: intentional 2-way communication
- 0-9 months: moves from milk being primary nutrition to food
- 8-12 months: baby likes to pull off shoes
Talk to your pediatrician if you have any concerns with the following:
- Baby is still having difficulty in prone position (on tummy)
- Very notable head tilt to one side with difficulty turning head in one direction (noticable mostly in carseats, preferred sleeping patterns)
- Noticeable flat spot on posterior (back) head or on either side
- Pelvis asymmetry in sitting and crawling (i.e. trunk rotated left while pelvis/hips rotated right)
- Baby hasn't begun parental attachment (noticing and showing affection towards caregivers)
- Baby seems floppy or weak
- Baby seems tight or stiff
- Baby continues to scoot or use alternative locomotive pattern (such as hips rotated to one side or dragging one leg)
- Baby doesn't make eye contact
- Difficulty pulling to stand or crawling
- Difficulty reaching for and grasping toys
- Babies hands or one hand has a weak grasp
- Baby always stands on tippy toes
- Coughing throughout a meal or when drinking
- Limited diet (e.g. prefers the same foods for every meal)
- Frequent gag response to new foods
**Dont worry if your baby shows signs of anything above ONE or even a few times! Only if a consistent pattern is noticed in a certain area should you feel the need to be concerned. What I’m trying to say again here is, don’t make a mountain out of a molehill!