Everything You Need for Your Baby: 9–12 Months

A baby boy reading book to his stuffed rabbit

Catherine Delahaye / Stone / Getty Images

Once your baby hits the nine month milestone, it’s tempting to start thinking about all the things they will need (or you want to buy) once they reach their first birthday.

But before you start loading up on new toys, clothes, and other supplies, there are a lot of physical and mental development that happens between nine and 12 months! Thankfully, there are a lot of products designed with the almost-one age group in mind.

Remember that all kids grow and develop on their own schedule, so while some babies are starting to meet major milestones—like walking—others will be just starting to crawl (and that’s perfectly normal!). It’s OK to look ahead at what milestones are coming and get prepared, but don’t forget to make sure your baby has everything they need to be safe and happy now, too.

For the kids who are leaving babyhood behind but not quite cruising into toddlerhood yet, this list will help you see everything you need for those last “official” baby months so you can buy with confidence.

Childproofing Supplies

If you haven’t childproofed your house yet, you really can’t wait any longer—at this age, even a child who isn’t showing much interest in crawling or walking yet can catch you by surprise one day.

And we’re not just talking baby gates and outlet covers. You need to take a good, long look around your house to identify anything (and we mean anything) that poses a potential hazard to your soon-to-be-mobile little one.

The best way to make sure you’ve covered all your bases? Get down on the floor and crawl around to see the world through their eyes. For example, ask yourself:

  • Are the stove knobs within your reach?
  • Can you touch an exposed radiator with your bare hands?
  • Can you yank open the fridge and pull stuff out?

Remember that your child’s ability to move around is going to come with an intense curiosity and enough fine motor skills to get into some serious mischief, so it's best to be prepared.

What You Need

This is dependant on your house or, at least, the gated-off areas where your baby will be spending their time.

Some parents choose to limit access to kitchens and bathrooms, so you don’t have to go crazy buying fridge and toilet locks. (But if you’re not limiting access, you definitely do!). Otherise, most parents need to buy:

  • At least one baby gate
  • A package of outlet covers
  • Furniture safety straps
  • Childproof locks or knobs for doors

Supportive Shoes

We know you got the most adorable pair of low-top sneakers for your baby at your shower, but those probably aren’t going to come in handy once your child becomes legitimately mobile.

A newly crawling or walking kiddo needs sturdy shoes that provide good support and protection, especially when they’re outside the house. Look for comfortable shoes with flexible materials, solid insoles, and velcro straps so they can be adjusted as needed (and put on/taken off with little effort).

What You Need

We recommend one or two pairs of seasonally-appropriate shoes. A pair of sneakers is always a good choice, but you may also want a pair of boots or supportive sandals if the weather will be very hot or cold.

For your child’s first pair, you might consider having their feet sized at a shoe store to ensure you’re getting off on the right foot—literally!

Finger Foods

If you’ve been feeding your baby pureed versions of solid foods for a few months now, you can start exposing your child to baby-friendly solids not in pureed form.

Why? All those sleepless nights and cranky days of teething are giving your child new opportunities to chew, gnaw, and chomp a variety of fruits, veggies, grains, and protein sources.

As your baby gets closer and closer to turning one, you’ll find their meals consist less of spoon-fed purees and more of self-fed finger foods

What You Need

You'll want to try a variety of age-appropriate foods for snacks and mealtimes. Think small bites of pasta, chicken, ground meat, rice, banana, peaches, blueberries, peas, potatoes, and cheese.

You can buy specific foods for your baby or simply modify what you’re eating. This is also the age when Cheerios and other baby-friendly puffed snacks are a big hit (plus, they travel well in your diaper bag for when you need a fast distraction).

Gross Motor Skill Toys

Most babies learn to crawl between nine and 12 months, and some even begin walking before their first birthday, too. Your baby will love having a few toys around that help them improve their newfound skills and explore their world on foot (or hands and knees) like:

  • Activity walker or tables
  • Ride-on vehicles
  • Play lawnmowers and doll strollers
  • Play tents or tunnels

What You Need

One activity walker or table is a great choice. Featuring exciting sounds and colorful buttons, these toys entice kids to pull themselves up to a standing position and then give them the support they need to stay there, strengthening their muscles.

If you spend a lot of time outdoors, you may want to consider a ride-on vehicle or toy that can be pushed around the yard; if not, think about a tunnel, climbing arch, or trampoline to help your child get exercise indoors.

Cause and Effect Toys

One of the best parts of having a baby between nine and 12 months is seeing them make all kinds of connections about how the world works.

Kids this age are beginning to understand the concept of cause and effect, so having toys on hand that reinforce the action-consequence sequence are especially age-appropriate (and a lot of fun, too).

What You Need

Look for three to five different toys that invite your child to perform an action and observe the effect. Most musical toys include this element, as do many toys involving balls or other moving objects.

Look for durable toys with bright, appealing colors as well as ones with simple, uncluttered designs so your child can explore them independently.

Interactive Board Books

Even newborns can benefit from hearing a story read out loud, but nine to 12 months is when reading to your child gets really fun. Babies this age are often excited by the idea of sitting in someone’s lap to read a book, and your child may even bring preferred books to you over and over again!

You can take advantage of their interest by buying board books with interactive features like flaps to lift, sound buttons to push, mirrors to peek into, and textured pages to feel. An easily-distracted baby might sit still through the end of a book if it has a few extra bells and whistles.

What You Need

Select board books that invite your child to really explore the pages. Since babies may still prefer eating, ripping, or tossing books more than reading them, extra-durable board books are a better investment than traditional ones.

Aim for a variety of topics, too—dinosaurs, fairies, trucks, animals, and learning concepts (like the alphabet and numbers one through 10) will make it easy to figure out what subjects your child likes best.

A Word From Verywell

It's OK to be excited about your child's first-ever birthday, but try not to let your excitement make you forget all about the fun things your child is capable of doing in the months right before they turn one.

Babies at this age need tools and toys to help them become more independent in exploring their world, and nine to 12 months is the perfect time to make sure you have everything on hand.

By Sarah Bradley
Sarah Bradley is a freelance health and parenting writer who has been published in Parents, the Washington Post, and more.