Baby with pincer grasp

When we talk about milestones, they usually include rolling over, sitting up by themselves, standing, saying a few words like mama, and walking. Of course, every baby is different and develop at their own pace.

However, there is one more developmental milestone called the pincer grasp. 

Not sure about when do babies develop a pincer grasp? Read on to find out more about what a pincer grasp actually is.

When Do Babies Develop Pincer Grasp?

Your baby should be able to pick up little things by bringing their pointer finger and thumb together during the age of 7 to 9 months.

Though their grasp might not be precise, it will continue to get better around 9 to 12 months. After some time, they’ll master the art of pincer grasp.

This will allow them to grip and release small things for feeding themselves and playing.

Initially, your child will learn to feed themselves without any utensils. This is the time when you allow your baby to explore with their little fingers.

However, you have to be extra cautious and keep dangerous objects out of their reach.

How Do You Know if the Baby Has Pincer Grasp?

When your child tries to pick up something with the help of their thumb and index finger, that means your baby has the pincer grasp.

It may seem quite easy for you as an adult, but this is an important motor development milestone for your child. The pincer grasp signifies the coordination of muscles and parts of the brain necessary for the baby’s independence. 

Though the growth and development vary from child to child, typically, the baby should develop this skill between 7 to 9 months.

However, if you feel like your child hasn’t developed the pincer grasp over time, this might indicate delayed development.

It’s essential to consult a doctor who might recommend therapy and various activities to help your baby improve their pincer grasp.

How Do You Train the Pincer Grasp?

Children can pick up smaller and thinner things when they become pros at the pincer grip. Various development activities allow you to train your baby’s pincer grasp. 

  • You can start by placing different sized things; it could be toys or utensils, in front of your child and observe them as they try and pick out their favorite item.
  • Try putting a colorful toy or any other object a little out of their reach. Then encourage your child to go ahead and grab them. Make sure you give your baby things, such as plastic rings, soft toys, etc., that they can easily clutch. This will help stimulate your child’s reflex and pincer grasp. 
  • Another fun way to train your child is to put soft foods such as small pieces of boiled carrots or bananas in front of them, allowing them to pick the food up and eat it. 
  • Using spoons, crayons, and markers that can be held in between the fingers can also help develop and train your child’s pincer grasp.
  • Blocks in different sizes, colors, and textures attract your child and will try grasping them with their hands. One-inch blocks are ideal for kids because it will be easier for them to pick the blocks up with their two fingers.

Is the Pincer Grasp a Gross Motor Skill?

The pincer grasp is actually a fine motor skill that involves synchronized movements of the fingers and hands with the eyes. It is also known as hand-eye coordination.

To put it simply, fine motor skills are all about being able to grip objects, using either the thumb and index finger or both hands.

On the other hand, gross motor skills involve the movements of large muscle groups. Gross motor skills are developed as soon as a child is born.

In fact, boys develop their gross motor skills much earlier than girls. Gross motor skills movements include walking, climbing, kicking, and jumping.

Apart from that, hand-eye coordination is also required for catching or throwing a ball.

Does a 6-Month-Old Have a Pincer Grasp?

Once your baby turns six months old, you will notice that they will try picking up tiny objects by covering them with their palm and clasping in their fist. As they grow, your child will be able to grab things using the tips of their fingers.

To understand it better, listed below some stages of pincer grasp development:

Palmar Grasp

The first stage is called the palmar grasp, in which a child curls their fingers around any small object. 

Raking Grasp

In this stage, the baby uses their fingers except for the thumb. They fold their fingers, resembling a rake, on top of any object to bring the item close to them.

Inferior Pincer Grasp

This stage is between the age of 7 and 8 months, when the baby uses only the thumb and pointer finger to pick things up and hold them. 

If you’re still wondering when do babies develop pincer grasp, there’s no harm in reaching out to your pediatrician and discussing your concerns.

You can easily identify and practice your baby’s pincer grasp with the fun activities mentioned above. Remember, every child is different, and your baby might achieve the milestones differently or at a later stage.