Happy birthday to your baby—and congratulations on the big milestone moment for you, too! As your baby transitions into becoming a toddler, you might be on your toes a bit more often. Along with all of the movement, they are constantly learning about the world around them and it shows with their developmental milestones. Right now, your baby may not be able to say many words, but they likely know what you're saying. (This is called receptive language.) They are also very curious, which means you'll want to double-check the baby proofing in your house.

Help fuel their bodies and minds with developmentally appropriate activities. By keeping track of what milestones your 12-month-old baby is working on achieving, you can support their development and consult with your pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns.

12-month-old baby milestones

Here's what The American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 12-month-old baby milestones.

Cognitive:

  • Your baby can use simple gestures, like waving bye or shaking their head no. By 12 months, your baby may be able to say a few words and is starting to use their tone of voice to express their feelings.
  • Your baby should be able to point to and correctly identify some familiar pictures in a book, such as by finding a dog or truck on a page.
  • At 12 months, your baby is very curious. They might enjoy repeatedly putting items into a container, dumping things out and shaking things to see what happens next.

Motor Skills:

  • At 12 months old, about one-in-two babies is walking. If your baby isn't yet there, it isn't cause for concern. Look instead at the bigger picture of their strength and movement skills, such as whether they are able to support themselves while standing.
  • After observing the use of objects for a while now, your baby has the skills to start using them correctly—like using a fork for food, putting a hat on their head, drinking from a sippy cup and so on.
  • Your 12-month-old should be able to point or poke using their index finger.

Social and Emotional:

  • Your baby may seem hot and cold when it comes to other people: They either love them (like you!) or are shy and uncomfortable (like around strangers). This can make navigating social situations a bit challenging, but it's right on track for your baby's development.
  • Your 12-month-old baby likely enjoys games that involve other people, such as peekaboo and motion-based songs like The Wheels on the Bus.
  • Your baby might gesture to or bring you things they want help with, such as a book they want to read or their shoes when they want to put them on.

How to support your 12-month-old baby’s development this month

Up for a little homework assignment, mama? Here are some 12 months old baby activities to support your cutie's development.

  • Help your 12-month-old baby learn to identify pictures by reading books with objects and animals that your baby can help point out while you name.
  • Play with your 12-month-old baby by encouraging the thrill of discovery. A low, stable activity table can help motivate your baby to explore.
  • Encourage your eight-month-old baby's sense of self by giving them two good choices, such as "do you want to drink from the red cup or green cup?"

It’s science: Your affection can shape your child’s happiness for life

As a parent, the little things can make a big difference—especially when it comes to an extra cuddle at the end of the day or a big display of enthusiasm when your baby is proud of themselves. Research shows that kids who experience affection during childhood reap the benefits throughout their lives. As your baby gets older (and enters toddlerhood!), you can show your affection not only through snuggles, but also through play and your words.


Can we just say something? You are amazing, mama. The first year of your baby's life is usually filled with highs and lows—and you did it. We're sure you've learned a lot about them and yourself along the way, too. As you enter your little one's second year, keep their developmental milestones in mind. If you have questions or concerns, bring them up with your child's doctor. Early intervention leads to the best outcomes.

12-month-old baby 101: