Infant Development: Your Baby's Twelfth Month

Congratulations on your first year with your baby! Here are some exciting developments you can expect out of your baby during her twelfth month.

Wow! Your baby is on her way to turning an entire year old. The year has flown by since you first brought your little newborn home. Can you believe that by the end of the month you will be celebrating her first birthday party? The little baby you had to carry around at the grocery store in a baby sling is now able to hold onto your leg, look up at you and talk her baby talk while you are washing dishes. This month, you will take a look back and see how far along your family has come as well as take a look forward in anticipation of all the exciting changes and developments that will occur. During your baby's milestone twelfth month, she will go through several key events.

Remember when your baby first learned to stand? Her wobbly little legs shook beneath her body as she struggled ambitiously to reach the edge of the sofa with her hands to help pull herself up. This month, you will want to have your camera constantly ready as she will probably take her first unguided step. To help her along, be sure to encourage her to walk towards you. You can hold her hands at first, so she feels safe. Then allow her to attempt the walk on her own. Sure, there will be plenty of falls as she grows used to her baby legs, but pretty soon you will not be able to get her to sit down for long stretches of time. As your baby's mobility increases, be sure to child-proof your house with cabinet and drawer locks, child gates, outlet covers and rubber edges to cover the sharp edges on your tables. Never leave small objects where your baby can reach them or they are liable to go straight into her mouth, causing a choking hazard.

As you talk more and more to your baby and read her books at bedtime, your baby should become much more vocal. She will begin adding easy-to-say words to her growing vocabulary. Do not worry if your baby is not quite stringing sentences together just yet. She may only know three or four words by the end of her twelfth month, but she will probably start "baby talking" in sentences that have inflections and pauses (much like adult sentences). Continue to point out items in your house or pictures in her books and repeating their names. Before you know it, she will begin building her vocabulary.

Whereas mealtime for baby took place at odd hours of the day as she woke up from her many naps, now your baby is old enough to sit in a highchair with your family when you are having your regular meals together. This bonding will help her feel more like a family unit, especially if she has older siblings. Be sure to include her in the "conversation" by speaking directly to her. Try to wean your baby off of her bottle. By the time she has reached one year of age, she should make the transfer to a sipping cup. Some babies will take to a cup quickly, while others will latch on to their bottles for a bit longer. Just be patient and firm with your baby and she will give up the bottle in no time.

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