Your child's developmental checks 9 to 11 months

Your baby will be checked by the public health nurse (PHN) as follows:

Physical development

Your baby will get a physical examination. The PHN will check:

  • respiration (breathing)
  • skin
  • fontanelle (the soft spot on your baby’s head)
  • mouth
  • palate (the roof of the mouth)
  • neck
  • eyes
  • ears
  • abdomen (the belly area and the space between the chest and pelvis)
  • genitalia
  • spine
  • limbs (arms and legs)


If your baby is a boy, the nurse will check their testicles (testes) to make sure they have moved down into the scrotum (this is called testicular descent).

Posture and large movements

Posture is how your baby holds their body.

Large movements (also called 'gross motor skills') are the movement and coordination of the arms, legs and other large body parts. Examples include sitting and crawling.

Your baby will be checked to see if they can:

  • sit with support (for example, on your lap)
  • sit without support
  • try to crawl
  • roll both ways
  • support their weight on their legs


The nurse will check if your baby can see well. They will shine a light in their eyes to see how the pupils respond.

Your baby’s eyes will be watched to see how they track moving objects.

The nurse will also check to see if your baby’s eyes are looking in the same direction.

Fine movements

Fine movements (also called 'fine motor skills') are the use of smaller muscles like the muscles in hands, fingers and wrists.

The nurse will check to see if your baby:

  • pokes at objects with their index finger
  • eats finger foods
  • uses their hands to rake objects
  • transfers from one hand to the other


The nurse will check if your baby:

  • enjoys games like peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake
  • turns and looks in the direction of sounds
  • listens when spoken to
  • recognises words for common items like cup, shoe or book
  • begins to respond to requests like “come here” or “want more?”

Speech development

The nurse will check if your baby:

  • babbles
  • has both long and short groups of sounds such as "tat upup bibibibi"
  • uses speech or non-crying sounds to get and keep attention
  • uses gestures to communicate (waving, holding arms to be picked up)
  • copies or imitates different speech sounds
  • has one or two words (hi, dog, dada, mama) around first birthday, although the sounds may not be clear

Social, emotional, play and behaviour

The nurse will check to see if your baby can:

  • play games like peek-a-boo
  • copy or imitate clap hands
  • point with their index finger
  • respond to people’s expressions
  • take interest in their own reflection in a mirror

Page last reviewed: 20 November 2018
Next review due: 20 November 2021