Baby Reaching To Be Picked Up: When, Why & Why Not

Your little baby is now reaching to be picked up, and you are excited and fascinated about this milestone that they have crossed.

It is a beautiful time because your child now recognizes that you are the person they trust and the one they need the most.

Most importantly, it is a sign that they are growing and developing at the correct rate and at the right time.

Milestones like this help monitor babies’ development. Milestones can range from sitting, to walking, to focusing and even include babbling and cooing.

So, let’s go over everything you need to know about this milestone – your baby reaching to be picked up.

When Should A Baby Start Reaching To Be Picked Up?

baby reaching to be picked up

Your baby should reach the milestone of reaching to be picked up at around seven to nine months.

There are numerous reasons why your newborn and younger babies do not reach to be picked up, and the science behind it is extraordinary.

Younger babies and newborns do not have a developed visual system. They do not have the motor skills to move with direction and purpose, and they have not yet gained the ability to focus their vision. 

Over the past few months, you may have noticed that your little one can sustain looking at you and can even respond to your interactions.

Soon they recognize you as the provider for all they need and begin to build a bond with you.

The subject of reaching takes a lot of practice. At around four months, your baby begins reaching for attractive objects.

These are primarily fun and brightly colored materials, and at around this time, they begin to develop their tactile senses.

They see things as pieces to be examined, and eventually, they will focus their attention on you and want to examine you as well.

You may also notice that around this stage, because your baby is learning how to bond and their little bodies benefit from the little bursts of oxytocin that run through them, they want to grab and hold on to this thing that delivers pleasure. 

At this stage, your little one will love to snuggle and cuddle and even like little kisses. 

Around this stage, your baby would also have learned to build upper body strength and will learn how to roll, sit, crawl, and the swift learners will learn to walk. 

Baby Not Reaching To Be Picked Up

Do autistic babies reach to be picked up

If your little one is not reaching out to you by seven months or so, then there is no need for you to get worried. Some babies are not as fast as others and may require a bit more time.

If you can notice that they are excited to see you and at least wiggle their arms when they see your face, then it might just be a slight delay.

However, if your baby has not made at least one conscious effort to be picked up by you at one year, even when they are crying and uncomfortable, this should cause some worry. 

It has been efficiently researched that babies not reaching up to be carried or cuddled by loved ones is a potential sign of autism. Please do see a doctor.

If you have noticed that your baby is showing these signs, you would need to encourage their motor skills, and there are numerous ways by which you can do this. 

So, Babies With Autism Do Not Reach To Be Picked Up?

baby doesn't reach out to be picked up

One in fifty children in today’s world will be diagnosed with autism. It is essential to know the signs and to wonder if your child is currently exhibiting them. 

Having a child with autism is difficult and scary; therefore, to relieve all fears, make sure that you have an early diagnosis.

The ideal time to diagnose autism is between one to two years. However, babies less than a year can begin to show signs and symptoms as early as six months. 

Most children are diagnosed when they are four or older. Children’s brains are malleable at a young age, and they are much more receptive to learning.

If they can be diagnosed early, then therapy can show a drastic improvement and prevent complications. Autism does not present with a straight road of signs and symptoms.

Some children have behavioral changes that are noticed easily and quickly, and others may require therapy for an extended period and many years. 

For a child under age one, here are the signs and symptoms you can pick up:

  • Blank expression when with family. Babies are pretty friendly and will reciprocate a smile. If a child has some form of developmental issues or is ill, they will not return the favor.
  • Babbling and talking are restricted. Babies learn to coo and then babble and then make their own words. At the age of one year, they should be able to converse with parents; however, they would not engage in conversation with a child with a developmental delay. 
  • Active and alert babies are always looking around and trying to explore. The reverse is the case when it comes to autistic babies. 
  • Autistic babies hardly point or call their parents attention. They barely interact and so do not wave hello and goodbye.
  • Autistic babies tend to show loner tendencies where they do not want to play with other children of the same age. They usually find their spot and toy and become completely engrossed. 
  • Autistic babies perform repetitive motions. A good number of babies would lose interest in a toy after a while and move to another. However, autistic babies prefer to carry out activities that involve repeated play. 
  • When called out, babies recognize their name and learn to respond when they are called in due time. Autistic babies have difficulty maintaining attention for a long time and will not respond.
  • Autistic babies do not take directions well and do not follow a parent’s pointed finger.
  • Babies with autism do not reach to be picked up and do not show signs of excitement when a parent is present.
  • Autistic toddlers do not like to engage or participate in family activities. They love their own company.


Your baby reaching out to be picked up is a lovely stage of development. It will usually come at around 7-9 months, but can take up to 1 year. However, if it takes any longer, you should check for autism.

Ensure that you are not missing any doctor’s appointment so that you can get an expert opinion after your doctor must have evaluated your little one. 

The treatment principle remains therapy, and it is essential to note that early diagnosis means that you can weigh and assess all the options available for treatment better.

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