FOR THE 12 MONTH OLD
Your child is a whole year old now! At this point they are starting to be able to walk a few steps independently. Watch them carefully though, as this new mobility could lead to an increased risk of falling into things.
They will now start saying a few actual words like “mama” or “dada” or “baba” (to ask for the bottle). Many parents will talk about their baby’s first word and associate it with a definitive date or time that it happened. However, it is not uncommon for parents to not know when their baby said their first real word. This is because babies will often start babbling nonsensically at 7-9 months with “mamama” or “bababa”, etc. However, real speech is generally considered to occur when a child says words predictably, and with purpose and meaning. So if your child says “mamama” to pillows and pieces of furniture, chances are those are not real words. You will know when they actually are calling for you with “mama” and “dada”, when they only use those words to refer to you rather than stuffed animals, vacuums, and other inanimate objects.
At this age, babies should be anxious or nervous around strangers as they become more aware of the world. They will always want to cling to their parents and start making good eye contact with people. They will point at things they intentionally want, and can clap and wave with prompting.
Baby will now be able to start feeding themselves with utensils. It will be messy, but they can do it. Without the utensils, feeding themselves with hands should be an easy task. They should be able to pick up small things like pieces of food with their well-developed pincer grip. As we mentioned last week, a pincer grip can be best visualized by imagining a small crab picking up an object.
Food-wise, baby should now be eating whatever the rest of the family is eating. No special meals are necessary. Just make sure the food is chopped up into small enough pieces that they will not present a choking hazard.
Milk should no longer be provided in a bottle. They can safely drink homo milk, but no more than 2 cups of milk total per day. Your child may insist on milk from a bottle rather than a sippy cup, because that’s what they’re used to. But despite their crying and protests, you can rest assured that they will eventually get over it even if you cut them off cold turkey.