Content Map Terms

Babies' Cognitive Development from 6-9 Months


baby in playpen reaching for handle


Cognitive development refers to the way your baby learns to think, remember, imagine, gather and organize information, solve problems and develop judgment. Sounds like a lot, but it all happens gradually.

Here's what you can expect between six and nine months.

Cognitive Milestones

At this age, a baby will likely:

  • Notice the size of objects, reaching for smaller objects with her finger and thumb and larger objects with both hands.
  • Know whether objects are near or far.
  • Understand how objects can be used. For example, your baby may bang blocks on the floor, shake a noisemaker harder, or push buttons on a toy.
  • Search briefly for an object when it's taken away. 

Play and Activity

You can nurture your baby's cognitive development in a variety of ways including:

  • Continuing to breastfeed.
  • Offering lots of praise for new skills.
  • Providing a range of objects or toys (fill-and-dump toys; toys for stacking, nesting, and sorting; toys with a variety of textures, shapes, sounds, colours and weights; childproof books).
  • Reading books to your baby.
  • Playing copy games, such as sticking out your tongue or banging a pan.
  • Playing hide and seek games.
  • Playing in and out games, such as putting blocks in a container and taking them out.
  • Dancing, playing music, and singing with your baby.

Other Cognitive Milestones

Between six and nine months your baby may also:

  • Drop objects and then look for them.
  • Understand the concepts of "in" and "out." For example, drop several large beads in a cup, dump them out, and repeat.
  • Use problem solving skills. For example, pull the string of a pull toy to get it closer.
  • Start to combine known behaviours in new ways. For example, reach and crawl at the same time.
  • Think of himself when looking at a child in photos or a mirror.

Developmental Concerns

Some babies will take longer than others to reach developmental milestones. And certain things may cause concern. Call your healthcare provider for advice if you have concerns or if your baby exhibits any of the following traits:

  • unusually stiff or floppy body
  • not watching faces by two to three months
  • unusually quiet
  • unusual difficulties with feeding
  • does not startle to loud noises
  • holds hands in tight fists
  • does not follow activities with his or her eyes
  • does not seem to recognize you
  • does not vocalize
  • does not seek sounds with his or her eyes
  • persistently unable to settle

Resources & Links:

Read about your baby’s next steps: Babies' Cognitive Development from 9-12 Months
Leap BC’s Guide: Move with Me from Birth to Three
HealthLink BC: Cognitive Development, Ages 1 to 12 Months 
HealthLink BC: Stimulate Your Baby's Learning

Last Updated: January 24, 2018