When Will My Baby Develop The Pincer Grasp?

6 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

When Will My Baby Develop The Pincer Grasp

In the first year, a baby experiences an exciting ride throughout the juncture. It’s the development period when the baby discovers several things. And, both baby and parents forge a strong bond. The intensity of this process stalls with time when the baby matures. However, during the initial year, the baby achieves several milestones. Pincer grasp is one of those.

Pincer grasp is one of the extremely important fine motor skills that a baby develops at around 9 months of age. This allows the baby to hold things between their thumb and the forefinger. In this article, we explain all about when and how your baby will develop a pincer grasp and how you can help them.

In This Article

What is Pincer Grasp?

The pincer grasp is a common phase of every infant’s life. It explains the ability of a baby to hold an object between their first finger and thumb finger. It’s a natural skill that all babies develop at a certain age when they are around 9 to 10 months old.

The pincer grasp is a paramount milestone. It defines a crucial fine motor skill. It’s the phase when babies can hold and pick something up to feed themselves. It will strengthen the foundation of a good pencil grip within babies when they start schooling.

Why is Pincer Grasp Important?

Why is Pincer Grasp Important

The pincer grasp is a key developmental skill for babies. This skill develops independence in babies and makes them able to

  • Hold objects like spoons, crayons, and pencils in their fingertips pinch
  • Feed themselves
  • Understand the use of fingers
  • Manipulate objects from one hand to another,
  • Play with toys and block things and more.

It forms a foundation to develop other important skills to grow in the future.

How do Babies Develop Pincer Grasp?

In general, babies start developing pincer grasp skills at the age of 9 to 10 months. It’s a fine moto development skill that generally doesn’t take a longer time to develop.

Palmar Reflex (0 to 6 Months)

Initially, babies can grasp anything you put in their hands at the newborn stage. It’s usually the palmar reflex grasp stage that appears and disappears by the age of 6 months.

Crude Palmar Grasp (4th Months And Above)

In between, infants start using their palm section to hold everything you give in their hands. It’s again called a crude palmar grasp that appears at the age of 4 months.

Ulnar Palmar Grasp ( 4 Months And Above)

Shortly, infants develop another skill called ulnar palmar grasp when they grasp an object toward the pinkie side of their hands. They use their palm till now and cannot operate the thumb yet.

Raking Grasp (6 Months And Above)

By the age of 6 months, which is a vital stage, babies start picking up objects using all their fingers simultaneously. It’s raking grasp when they try to reach for things. At 8 months, the baby’s thumb dexterity upsurges, and they can grasp small objects like peas, raisins, etc., in their thumb.

Radial Digital Grasp/ Pincer Grasp (9 Months And Above)

Lastly, at 9 months, they develop a radial digital grasp. It’s the phase when babies grasp things between their thumb and fingers without using the palm for stabilization.

Pincer Grasp Activities to Help Your Babies

After your infant develops the pincer grasp, it doesn’t end here. You need to engage them with several activities to perfect their skill and continue their grasp development.

The following are some.

  • Put small soft finger-sized foods like cooked potatoes, carrots, and ripe bananas in front of your newborn. Let them reach for the food and pick them up to eat.
  • You can place various-sized tiny playthings, toys, or objects in front of your infant. Observe how they are trying to pick things up. For example, put blocks, marbles, buttons, etc.
  • Remember, at this age, babies put every little object in their mouths. Hence, be extra cautious and watch this activity with care. So, the infant doesn’t swallow anything or choke himself.
  • You can put any playing object in front of babies like crayons, eating spoons, cards, busy books, etc. Give them anything that they can grasp in their hands. It helps babies to develop their pincer grasp skills.
  • Give them food in their hands and let them play with various objects to help them develop their skills.

Toys To Encourage Babies in Using Pincer Grasp

Toys To Encourage Babies in Using Pincer Grasp

The pincer grasp is a natural developmental milestone in a baby’s life. To help your infant with this skill development, you can indulge them with some engaging activities. And certain toys can help! The following toys will ensure a baby’s hand movements through playing with those playthings. It will result in strength and agility in their fingers and thumb.

1. Blocks

Blocks are a great toy to help babies develop their grasping skills. At first, they will pick the blocks to put in their mouth. And, slowly, they will learn to play with those blocks, making a tower.

2. Slime

Slime is a popular form of toy for babies and toddlers. It’s soft and slimy to play pretty like playdough. Babies need to pull and pinch slime to play with it, which improves muscle development.

3. Jenga

Jenga is a favorite time pass for babies as well as adults. It’s another active method for babies to strengthen their muscles. Further, this toy helps develop brain functions in babies.

4. Spinning Tops

There’s literally no baby who doesn’t love spinning tops. These are attention-grabbing moving toys. Spinning tops help babies flexible their fingers and hold the toys in their hands. Moreover, these playthings strengthen the muscles in babies.

5. Legos

Legos are fun toys to play with for babies. These enjoyable pieces of toys help reinforce the much-needed development skills in infants. So, you can gift your infant the age-appropriate Legos to help them develop their pincer grasp skill.

What Happens After The Pincer Grasp Development?

Pincer grasp helps babies pick up things. This is helpful in many ways, for example, playing, eating, organizing their toys, etc. The finger dexterity improves allowing them to do a lot of things. This fine motor skill also lays the foundation for pencil-writing skills in the future.

Often, some babies cannot develop these fine motor skills or have poor skills. Therefore, playing with toys or eating with their hands will be difficult for those infants.
Besides, those babies in the future may struggle with various life skills. I.e., eating, dressing up, writing in school, etc. So, it’s crucial for parents to give their babies all possible opportunities to develop critical motor skills in their life. It will allow them to be independent.

When Should You Worry?

When Should You Worry

Despite all your efforts, if your baby still struggles with pincer grasp skills, it will be ideal to consult a child specialist. A pediatrician can perform some occupational therapies to help them develop these skills. Some specific exercises enable infants to grow their skills in their babyhood.

We hope this piece of content will teach you to help your baby develop natural motor skills. Follow these activities mentioned above to ensure your little bundle of joy reaches each milestone with vigor!


1. Is the Pincer Grasp a Gross Motor Skill or a Fine Motor Skill?

The pincer grasp is a fine motor skill. It’s a natural developmental skill in younger babies that involves using the muscles of the hands.

2. What Are The Activities For Pincer Grasp Skills?

The pincer grasp activities include self-feeding, playing with blocks, pulling playing objects, strengthening index finger, Pom-Pom whisk activities, and more.

3. Why is it Called Pincer Grasp?

The pincer grasp is a fancy name for a specific natural motor skill. It means an activity of moving and using the fingertips of the index fingers and thumbs (by a baby) to pick tiny things up.

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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