Feeding and sleeping at 12 months old
If your baby is bottle-feeding, they can transition over to whole cow's milk this month unless your health provider has recommended otherwise. Cow's milk, along with solids, will provide your little one with all the nutrients they need to grow.
You may want to think about phasing out your baby's bottles. If your baby can drink from a cup and is becoming proficient at drinking and swallowing, then begin to phase out bottles. This will help to protect their teeth and reduce the amount of time their vulnerable baby teeth are exposed to lactose (the sugar in milk). A sippy cup is a good transition between bottles and open cups.
Expect your toddler to still need 2 naps a day until after 14 months. You'll look forward to these rest breaks and need them as much as they do. This can be a physically tiring time for parents, so be prepared and use the time wisely, which might mean a nap yourself.
Behavior at 12 months old
Your toddler will also be learning all about their range of emotions now—anger happiness, frustration, boredom, and the effects of emotions on the people around them. Babies are excellent at getting what they want, and your baby will easily charm their way into the hearts and minds of their loving parents and family.
Your toddler might also be outright demanding at times as they exert their newfound autonomy. These powerful emotions may be evident for the first time in a tantrum as their drive for independence comes into conflict with their self-limited abilities and your boundaries and rules as the parent. Managing a toddler's emotional outbursts can take confidence and patience, and it can be very hard to know just what to do when they become frustrated or angry.
One excellent book which will help you understand how your toddler's brain works is The Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderland (Dorling Kindersley publishing).
Developmental milestones at 12 months old
Your toddler will be more independent with their eating and make their wishes more clearly known. Although their language skills will still be limited, they will experiment with sounds and parts of words. You'll develop skills in deciphering what they're saying and learn to interpret their body language.
Your baby will be able to point, wave, clap hands, and transfer objects from one hand to the other. Even if they can’t walk, they may be able to balance with one hand holding on for stability.
Growth at 12 months old
Play and interaction at 12 months old
Their birthday is a day when you can relax their routine a little and just go with the flow. Take lots of photos and videos and ensure you and all the family are included. If you can, get pictures of all the generations of family present as the opportunity for doing this in life can be very limited.
You may want to give your baby a gift which can be added to over the years, such as a charm bracelet. Or you can give a special gift that can become a family heirloom such as a special train set or rocking horse. Books which are noted with a date and the giver's name are always a lovely birthday gift.
Your toddler is likely to still want to be with you wherever you are, so you might be feeling as if you've constantly got a little shadow. This is a sign that your baby feels secure with you being so close. There will come a time when they don't want to be in such close proximity so for now, enjoy it!
What about mom?
Now that a year has passed, you may feel you have more time and energy to do some things for yourself. Some me-time will do you good: see this as investing in your own self-care and wellbeing. Go for walks, go shopping, get a massage, pick up a hobby, and do things you didn’t have time for when you had a newborn.
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.