It might feel like only yesterday that your baby first entered the outside world, and now their first birthday is right around the corner. At lot has happened throughout the last 12 months and your baby has reached numerous mental and physical developmental milestones along the way. Reaching their first birthday, though, is not the end of the milestones, and you will see your baby dramatically develop their social, emotional, and cognitive capabilities in their second year.
As your baby gets older, their personalities start to form, and their mind is like a sponge. Every new information that they hear, smell, feel, and see is being processed in their young brains as your 12-month baby begins to make increasing sense of their surroundings. Although your baby has learned a lot, there are certain things you can do to aid their development. This article offers tips and information about how best to care for a 12-month baby.
Baby Development by Month: Twelfth Month
By the twelfth month, your child may be starting to act more and more like an independent being with their own thoughts and emotions. Although they are still heavily reliant on their parent or caregiver, they are less dependent than they were, say, 6 months ago. Now, they can move from one location to another, they can amuse themselves with toys and games, and they can put food inside their mouth without support (to some extent).
The physical and emotional developments in your baby have been abundant and frequent over the past year and, before you know it, they will be walking and talking – it seems like a milestone is hit every week. A lot of veteran parents express regret at not having documented the progress of their baby in their primitive years, so be sure to take lots of pictures and keep a diary to record the achievements of your baby.
Average Baby Weight and Physical Changes
The average baby weight at 12 months is between 23 and 24 pounds for a boy and 21 and 22 pounds for a girl. The average baby length of both boys and girls is between 29 and 30 inches. This may seem tiny, but when you consider the average at birth (between 19 and 20 inches), your baby is grown considerably in the past year.
Averages should not be given too much importance, though, as the measurements of babies can fluctuate greatly at this age. If your child is slightly underweight or shorter than average, their growth spurt may be just around the corner.
Baby Movement Milestones
When it comes to movement, most babies are expected to have reached certain milestones by the time they are 1 year old. A 12-month baby should be able to crawl with a decent level of proficiency and/or be able to pick themselves up to a standing position to navigate their way around on foot using support.
There are a few ways to encourage your child’s ability to move around if you think they are a bit behind in their development. Try leaving objects slightly out of reach so that they are encouraged to move their bodies in order to reach it. This will encourage them to use muscles that they are not used to exercising.
Moreover, not to carry your baby everywhere. It is often the default reaction to pick up your baby and move them to another location when changing places, yet this may not be the best thing for your baby. By moving from one place to another without your baby, you can give them the opportunity to move their bodies and use their muscles in order to reach you.
Baby Vision Development
A 12-month old baby can see almost as clearly as an adult. They will be able to focus on distant objects of all sizes and can track moving items with ease. At this stage, babies can recognize people by their faces and will have become familiar with the people who regularly feature in their lives.
Their hand-eye coordination is far better than it was a few months ago but will still improve some more over the coming few months. They will be able to grab objects within reach with relative accuracy and can pass objects from one hand to another.
Parents and caregivers should take advantage of their little one’s improving ability to process visual information by pointing at as many objects as possible while saying what they are. This will encourage your baby to form a connection with the work to what the object looks like and, before you know it, they may be saying the word back to you.
Baby Hearing Development
As with their eyesight, a twelve-month-old baby’s hearing development has improved considerably since they entered the world. They will now recognize commonly used words, such as bottle, table, and ball. They will also recognize their own name and will turn to face a person when their name is called out.
By the end of the first year, most babies can make vowel sounds and most consonant sounds and will be combining the two to make noises such as “mama”, “dada”, or “gaga”. Talking and reading to your baby is recommended at this stage in their development as they will listen to the sounds that you make while speaking and try to imitate it. The greater the variety of books that you read to them, the more sounds they are exposed to.
A lot of babies are particularly fascinated by music, too, and can spend hours at a time being completely engrossed in a piece of music. Some babies may even try to shake their bodies to the rhythms and sounds that they hear.
If you’re worried about your baby’s sense of hearing, there are a few signs that you should look out for. You may have to contact your doctor if your child can’t do any of the following by the time they are 1 year old:
- Babble and coo with various vowel and consonant sounds.
- Follow simple commands, such as “no”.
- Respond to their name being called.
- Show interest in music.
Baby Sense of Smell Development
A baby’s nose plays a big role in their development. Their sense of smell is closely aligned with their sense of taste as part of the chemosensory system. Their food preferences are somewhat defined by now and you will know if your child does not like a certain food before they have even tasted.
A 12-month baby is also forming memories with their nose. The scent of you, a toy, a blanket, or a box of crayons can have a lifelong impression on your child and will be imprinted into their memories.
A baby’s nose is not only useful for smelling certain fragrances and aromas, it is also beneficial to their health. The tiny hairs in a baby’s nose help to filter out harmful particles and dust from the air and keep the nasal passageways healthy and in optimal condition. It is important, therefore, to keep your baby’s nose clean and congestion free as best as possible.
Baby Feeding Schedule
At 12 months old, a baby needs to have three meals per day that consist of solid foods, and they should be trying a variety of different baby safe foods. Some parents start transitioning their child from breastmilk to cow’s milk at this stage, too, but this should be done slowly, and you should seek medical advice if you are worried that your child is not taking to the transition very well.
Introducing new foods to your child can be a difficult process – some foods may be gulped down before you can blink while other foods can take a handful of tries before they are appreciated. A child should never be forced to eat a food if they are particularly averse to it, though. Popular food options for a 12-month baby include mashed fruit, cooked vegetables, whole wheat cereal, and soft cheese.
Baby Sleep Schedule
Despite your baby’s growing independence, they still require the same amount of sleep as when they were younger. A 12-month baby needs between 13 to 14 hours of sleep and will likely still have two daytime naps during the day. This will change over the next few months and they will soon condense their daytime sleeping hours to within one longer nap.
How to Change Baby Sleep Schedule
Having a consistent bedtime routine is essential at this stage as your child will crave, and learn from, having a persistent schedule. By scheduling playtime, bathing, and story time for the same time very night, your baby learns to stick to a certain timetable and will get used to the different patterns in the day.
Baby Emotional Development Milestones: Twelfth Month
Your baby will have developed emotional attachments to the people around them and will become anxious when they are away from them for a period of time. This separation anxiety can lead to your child becoming unsettled when sleeping at night, too, and it’s common for children to wake up more frequently as their emotional intelligence improves. Try and allow a sufficient amount of time for your child to self soothe before comforting them, though.
Baby Daily Routine at Month 12
Babies crave routine and, while your baby is almost a toddler and becoming more independent with each passing day, a schedule will help them get used to the patterns of the day and encourage them to act appropriately. In the evenings, for example, your child will know that they should try to settle down if their daily routine consists of story time and bathing before bed. Conversely, they will be more active during the day as their senses are stimulated on a more frequent basis.
Baby Causes for Concern at Month 12
As a parent or caregiver, it’s easy to worry and overestimate the severity of minor problems such as a cold or a cough. Yet, sometimes your baby may have symptoms that are harsh or last for longer than usual, and this can be worrying. It’s important to know when you should visit your doctor in these scenarios. You should seek medical assistance if your child is showing any of the following symptoms:
- Long lasting cold or cough.
- Refusal to eat or drastic change in appetite.
- Severe change in behavior.
- Tender navel or penis.
- Fever that lasts longer than a day or is accompanied by other symptoms.
- Regular diarrhea.
- Projectile vomiting.
- Unexplainable rashes.
- Unusual eye discharge.
If your child has shown any of the above symptoms and you are worried about their health, don’t be afraid to contact a medical professional immediately. If you do, you should be prepared to answer questions about your baby’s symptoms, medical history, bowel movements, changes in temperature, diet, and possible exposure to illnesses.
Baby Checklist at Month 12
- Schedule a 12-month check-up.
- Make an appointment with the dentist.
- Purchase comfortable shopping shoes in preparation for your baby’s first days of walking.
- Prepare a first birthday party with friends and family.
- Read stories regularly to your baby to improve their understanding of words.
How do I know my baby is developing?
Your baby is likely developing if they are consistently gaining weight and have a healthy appetite. There may be cause for concern, though, if your child isn’t responding to sound, appears disinterested in playing, and doesn’t track moving objects with their eyes.
How can I help my baby’s development?
Playing with a variety of toys and introducing them to different styles of music can be beneficial to your child. Be sure to stimulate their senses in new and imaginative ways so that they have the opportunity to process new sensory information.
What age do babies start doing things?
By the age of 14 to 15 months, most babies are walking independently. From 18 months onwards, your baby may start to say their first few words. This may seem like a distant possibility but, in the grand scheme of things, it’s just around the corner!