Link Copied

A link has been copied to your clipboard!

Baby Care: Your 11 Month Old Baby

Feb 25, 2022 | 3 Minutes Read

Keeping track of that little bundle of energy will be getting more difficult now. Your 11-month-old will be busy exploring the household as well as everyone in it. Everything will demand inspection and lots of poking and prodding.

There will be times when you feel your baby is simply compelled to explore things that are not safe. The television, cords, and power outlets will all hold endless fascination for them. Don’t feel as if your baby is being deliberately naughty or defying you by going back to these over and over again. They are still too young to know that what they are doing could potentially be dangerous. For now, you will need to be vigilant and patient as they learn where they can play and what is out of bounds.

Barricade off areas in the house that are dangerous and aim to keep things simple and safe. Gates, safety latches, outlet covers, and child-proof locks are all designed with families in mind.

Feeding and sleeping at 11 months old

If you are still breastfeeding, don’t feel as if you need to wean unless your baby wants to. There is a lot of supportive evidence for continuing to breastfeed for as long as both a mother and her baby are happy. If your little one has never accepted a bottle, then getting them to take one at this age could be a challenge. You may have more success if you offer your baby fluids in a sippy cup and avoid offering bottles altogether. If your baby is bottle feeding, continue offering formula until they are 12 months of age. Cow’s milk can be hard to digest and will not supply them with the balance of nutrients they need to grow.

Sleep patterns are more defined this month, with 2 regular daytime naps. Morning naps can be a time when a lot of babies are easier to settle with fewer protests. Afternoon naps can vary, depending on what the rest of the household is doing.

Behavior at 11 months old

This is a highly oral stage. Don’t think your baby is unusual if they want to suck and gnaw on the furniture and everything in a close radius. Unsuspecting visitors are likely to have their ankles closely examined and shoelaces pulled on which can make for some delightful conversations.

At 11 months, your baby will have developed close relationships with their primary caregivers; the issue of stranger danger or stranger anxiety is common. Your baby’s trust will need to be earned over time, so don’t try to push them onto other people too quickly. There are very strong, biological reasons why they behave as they do and our concept of them being polite or considering other’s feelings won’t really make any difference for your 11-month-old baby.

Developmental milestones at 11 months old

Your baby may be walking but don’t worry if they aren’t even close. Every baby develops in a head-to-toe direction on their own sweet time and when they are ready. Try not to push your baby towards developing skills. It takes time, practice, confidence, and coordination to learn what is involved in reaching a new developmental milestone. Try not to interpret your baby’s acquisition of physical skills as a sign of their intelligence. Although it can be tempting to do this, how and when they are able to move their body is not a sign of their academic potential.

Your baby will be pointing at lots of things this month and will be more easily understood by their body language. They will use each hand equally and will be fully ambidextrous. It won’t be until they are closer to pre-school age until it becomes obvious which will be their dominant hand.

Your baby will be able to respond to simple commands such as “come here” and “get the ball.” They won’t follow conversations, no matter how basic. Your baby will be able to pick up small objects with their thumb and finger in a pincer grasp and will continue to put most things into their mouth.

Growth at 11 months old

Your baby has grown so much in almost a year; it will be hard to remember when they were tiny. If they can stand well, position them against a wall and pencil in their height. Doing this over a period of time will help you to gain an objective idea of how tall they are becoming. You may want to draw around their hand and put the date and age on it as well, take a series of photos with them standing next to a piece of furniture or a fence and keep an annual record of their comparative size. Look at photos of yourself at the same age and compare the similarities. Leg shape, stance, and even facial expressions can be eerily familiar: genes are a powerful influence.

Even though you may be tempted to discard your baby’s used clothing, consider donating it to a worthy cause. This may be your last or only child, but there are always families who are grateful for donations. Just remember to keep a few special items and store them well. Although it may seem years away, you may want to pass these onto your children’s children.

Keeping well at 11 months old

Your baby will be spending so much time on the floor that it will pay to try and keep the floors as clean as possible. Get into the habit of washing your baby’s hands before they eat to try and minimize the transfer of germs into their mouth. There is good evidence to support plain soap and water, careful rinsing, and drying hands well are good strategies to reduce infection. Don’t be obsessive about being clean; just adopt some sensible precautions.

Avoid kissing your baby on the mouth or blowing on their food to cool it. The bacteria in your mouth are different from your baby’s and if you have periodontal disease or tooth decay it could be easy to transfer this to your baby. If you are a smoker, make a point of not smoking near your baby. They will be at an increased risk of developing infections such as colds and ear infections as well as asthma. No immunizations are needed this month, but they will be due for another round next month. If it is fall, think about your own health and get an influenza vaccine. Other vaccines are recommended for adults and can help keep both you and your family safe.

Play and interaction at 11 months old

Get used to having a little person under your feet! Learn to dodge and weave your way around them. At 11 months your baby will want to venture away from your side and explore their world, but they will still need to return frequently to you to assure their feelings of security. Watch them as they crawl away, look back to you for reassurance, and then go off again. If they get scared or feel unsure, they will immediately look for you as their secure base.

Sometimes it will be enough just to give them some verbal reassuring prompts and a smile. But there will also be times when you need to hold them close and help them feel safe. Try not to interpret this kind of behavior as being weak or soft. The only way your baby can feel secure enough to push beyond familiar boundaries is if they feel safe enough to do this. You and their family are a major part of this process.

When in doubt about how to keep your 11-month-old entertained, a bath is always an option. Supervised water play at this age is wonderful and will keep them entertained for a long time. If it’s summer, a cool bath can provide a welcome reprieve from the heat. A sandpit and a set of swings is another option for this age group. Both will help your baby develop their gross motor skills. Invest in some play equipment for the yard and consider shade options as well.

What About mom?

Thinking about having another baby? Most experts recommend waiting at least 18 months between your pregnancies as prior to this puts you at a slightly higher risk of some pregnancy complications.

Now is the time to think about preconception planning! Make an appointment with your obstetrical healthcare provider and discuss your plans. Some actions to consider before becoming pregnant include maximizing the quality of your diet, taking a folic acid supplement, not drinking alcohol, and making sure any chronic health conditions are under control.

You may have even had another baby by now, which means you are particularly busy. Try not to overlook your own needs by eating well, resting when you can, and asking for help. Accepting all reasonable offers of assistance can make the difference between managing and struggling to get through each day.

Your emotions
Still feeling utterly absorbed by the family’s needs with little time to consider your own? This is a common experience even if it has been nearly a year since your baby was born. Treat yourself kindly, reach out to friends and family, and consider yourself as always being valuable and worthwhile. As a parent, you may feel underrated, but not to this baby who could not survive without your loving care and devotion.

If you have returned to work, you may feel the all too familiar tension between roles: parenting versus profession, employee versus mommy. It can be really hard to find an acceptable balance. Guilt is a common emotion among working mothers, but it is also a waste of energy. Save that energy for what really counts: your little one and your family.

Your sleep needs
Even if you’ve never been an early-to-bed person, reinvent yourself this month. Follow your body’s signals that it’s time to sleep and make it happen. Keep yourself from becoming overtired, which can make your own sleep worse. Sleep plays such a vital and restorative function in our lives but is often not given as much credit as it deserves in our busy lives.

The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.