Your toddler is 12 months old!
It’s hard to believe that a year ago you were heavily pregnant and full of nervous anticipation, anxiety, excitement and fear at the prospect of having a baby. These days you are probably giving your ‘Mummy’ friends much needed advice.
This month you may see your baby walking, attempting to talk and possibly even having a tantrum or two. You’ll also be celebrating his first birthday – an important moment for you, your partner and your baby. You’ve survived your first year of babyhood and we bet you’re hooked. Thinking about number two…?
Your baby is turning not-so-slowly into a toddler and soon he'll be toddling everywhere. But for now, here's a look at what your baby might be able to do in month twelve.
At twelve months old your baby may be able to play a few ball games (rolling a ball back and forth), throwing objects and pushing them away (food), stacking toys and drumming on a drum.
Language and comprehension
Somewhere around twelve months he should be able to point or look at something familiar, for example, ‘Where’s Froggie?’ may be met with a point, if Froggie has been pointed out to him before. From now on he starts to grasp the meaning of words more frequently so try not to swear in front of him and use please and thank-you. Twelve month olds recognise roughly around 20-50 words, but comprehension comes before speech so it will be a while before he utters them. He may be able to say simple words like ‘milk’ or ‘mummy’ and ‘daddy’, and will enjoy the sound his voice makes, often repeating the same sounds over and over again.
By the time your baby reaches twelve months he will not look or act like a baby any longer, in fact from this point onwards he is regarded as a toddler. Although separation anxiety may be lingering, your baby will also show signs of wanting a bit of independence. You probably have a struggle on your hands when its time to change his nappy or if you ever want him to stay in one place. He can make decisions about what he wants, and asserts them in his own unique way (Clamping his mouth shut when he has had enough food, or wriggling out of a cuddle).
Tumble time baby
Where before he’d loose his footing, take a tumble and cry, by twelve months you may notice him roll out of a fall like a stunt-man! This does not mean you can take your eyes off him when he is exploring the living room, he will still find ways to squeeze through gaps or reach the items you have put out of his reach. See toddler first aid tips for help with tumbles and falls.
Lots of babies are walking, or at least showing the inclination to walk at twelve months. If you’ve witnessed a few tentative steps so far, it will not surprise you when he takes off one day, so make sure you are ready with cushions, outstretched arms or a camera. As well as using those legs, you may notice your baby reacting to music. All babies love music from an early age (in fact babies in the womb show signs of reacting to music they enjoy) but by twelve months (or earlier) your baby may start bopping along and wiggling around when he hears his favourite tunes.
Food and feeding
It is a good idea to eat as a family around the dinner table, so your baby can see you all tucking into your food. This will encourage him to start eating the type of foods the rest of the family eat as his independent streak means baby mush no longer cuts the mustard. By now he can eat most of the foods you eat as long as they are cut up for him and have no added salt or sugar. As he experiments more with finger foods be prepared for messy mealtimes and put a sheet of newspaper below his highchair to catch any food strays. At twelve months your baby can switch from formula or breastmilk (as you wish) to cow’s milk. Cow’s milk does not contain sufficient levels of iron that formula or breastmilk do, so it is advised to wait until your child reaches his first birthday before introducing it. Make sure it is fresh and full fat, not semi skimmed as your baby needs the extra fat to help his brain and nervous system develop properly. He needs to have a minimum of two thirds of a pint of milk a day, so this roughly equates to two beakers or cups of milk. If he drinks too much milk he will store the fat in his body, so if he is thirsty offer water or watered down fruit juice.
How should my baby drink cow’s milk?
If your baby is used to a bottle it might be a good idea to introduce a beaker with a lid or a slanted open top cup like a Doidy cup. This is so your baby stops being so dependant on getting milk from a teat. If your baby never had a bottle and is used to breastfeeding you could try to introduce the beaker or cup for his milk and bypass the bottle altogether.
What if he hates the idea of Cow’s milk?
Persevere with the cow’s milk but if he only takes a little bit, make sure he is getting other calcium-rich food as part of his diet. Try mashed sardines, cheese and natural yoghurt. Also, remember that breastmilk was not cold, straight from the fridge! Try warming your baby's milk up slightly (but don't make it too hot) to see if he likes it better that way.
Twelve-month old babies need roughly 13.5 hours sleep, which roughly equates to two and a half hours in the day and eleven hours at night. Your baby may have either two naps (morning and afternoon) or one big nap at lunchtime. Hopefully by twelve months your baby should manage to sleep for a decent stretch of time at night. No baby, toddler, child, teenager or adult is the same when it comes to sleep so resist the urge to compare your baby’s sleep patterns with anyone else’s. This is also a very rough estimate as some babies need very little sleep whiles others are fond of a long slumber. If you are worried about your baby’s sleep patterns consult your health visitor or GP for advice.
One of the best things to happen in month twelve is your baby’s first birthday party. You will probably feel emotional as you remember how you felt this time a year ago (scared, rabbit in the headlights, big…) but you should also give yourself a huge pat on the back. Look at your amazing baby, on the edge of toddler hood, perhaps walking, perhaps attempting a few words and growing bigger, stronger and more independent everyday. This is definitely a time to say, we’ve come a long way baby…