9 Month to 12 Months


  • Start encouraging a daily schedule of 3 meals and 1-2 snacks.
    • Avoid “grazing” between meals and snacks, which is when babies are fed little snacks throughout the day.
    • If they finish everything on the plate, offer more until they stop showing interest.
  • Continue encouraging solid food intake, offering these foods at the beginning of the meal, before formula or breast milk.
    • There is no minimum or maximum requirement for formula or breast milk.
    • As solid foods increase, breast milk and formula intake will decrease.
  • Continue to encourage lots of different textures and tastes.
    • If they seem to hate a food you try, continue to offer it daily.
      • They don’t hate it, they just don’t know it yet.
  • There is no science on how or when to advance to thicker textures.
    • Follow your baby’s cues, and advance when your baby shows interest.
      • If your baby seems interested in the food you are eating, you should offer these foods as well, provided they are soft and cut into very small pieces.
      • Always watch closely during feeding to prevent choking, especially when transitioning away from purees.
  • Encourage your baby to feed himself at mealtime and snacks. 
    • This will be a messy, but important, part of the learning process for your baby.


  • Provide a well-rounded diet with all the food groups.
  • No cow’s milk from the carton or honey before 12 months of life.
    • Other dairy products made with whole milk (yogurt, cheese, etc) are fine.
  • Make sure the diet meets the age-based nutrient requirements each day.
    • Encourage high iron-containing pureed foods in the diet to prevent iron deficiency.
      • At the 12 month visit, your provider will check for iron deficiency by testing your baby's hemoglobin (obtained via toe-prick)
    • If your baby is taking less than 32 ounces of formula per day, continue the vitamin D supplement every day.
    • If your baby is taking more than 32 ounces of formula per day, you should not give vitamin D on that day.
  • At 12 months of life, we recommend you stop giving formula, and transition to vitamin D-enriched milk (cow, goat, soy, pea, etc).
    • Simply finish whatever formula you have left, and then don't buy anymore.
    • When the formula is finished we also recommend removing the bottles altogether, which are a known source of tooth decay in babies.
      • Out of sight, out of mind: you can give them away or box them in storage for your next baby, but don't leave them in the cupboards for your baby to see and ask you for.
      • If you stop the bottles immediately at 12 months, your child will forget they've ever seen a bottle in a day or two. 
      • If you wait until 15 or 18 months they will remember, and this will make the transition much more difficult.


  • Continue to encourage 4-6 ounces per day of fluoride-containing water.
    • This helps develop strong teeth, which are growing under the gums even if you can’t see them yet.
  • The tap water in Austin is safe, and a good source of fluoride.
  • If you use a water filter, check with the manufacturer to make sure it does not remove fluoride.

Sippy Cups

  • Give the water in a sippy cup.
  • The sippy cup should not have a soft plastic/rubber spout.
  • The day your baby turns 12 months, we remove the bottles from the home or pack them up in storage (out of sight, out of mind).
    • Bottles cause tooth decay and cavities.
    • If you stop the bottles right away at 12 months, your child will forget they’ve ever seen a bottle in a day or two.
    • If you wait until 15 or 18 months, they will remember, and getting rid of the bottles will be very difficult.


  • You will know your baby is teething when you run your finger across the upper or lower gums and feel sharp teeth poking through.
    • The first teeth erupt between 6-15 months of life.
  • Please read our guide on teething for all the details.

Dental Care

  • Once your child’s first tooth appears, start brushing!
    • Dental decay in baby teeth can negatively affect permanent teeth and lead to future dental problems.
  • Apply a grain-of-rice-sized amount of fluoride-based toothpaste to a soft toothbrush.
    • Press the toothpaste into the bristles to prevent your child from sucking the toothpaste right off of the brush.
  • Most toothpaste specifically labeled for “babies” does not contain fluoride. 
    • Please make sure you buy toothpaste that does contain fluoride, even if labeled for “children.”
  • Brush teeth once in the morning and once before bed. 
  • It is normal for your child to resist having their teeth brushed. The following strategies may be helpful:
    • Allow your child to brush their teeth first then follow up by brushing their teeth for them. 
    • Make up a silly song about brushing teeth. 
    • Some children resist brushing less if brushing teeth while their siblings or parents are doing so as well.
    • If these methods fail, don’t be afraid to bring in another caregiver to restrain your child while you brush their teeth.
      • Sometimes it needs to be a two-person operation!
  • The best thing you can do to keep your child’s teeth healthy at 12 months is to remove bottles (see discussion above).
  • Thumb-sucking and pacifier use are fine.
    • These may cause the teeth to jut forward, requiring braces when your child gets their adult teeth.
      • If you're ok with that, so are we!
  • Plan your child’s first visit to the dentist at 2 years of age. 


Gross Motor Skills

  • If your baby is not crawling yet, focus on tummy time, all the time.
    • Tummy time muscles are the same muscles used to crawl, pull-to-stand, and walk independently.
  • Once your baby is crawling, allow him to explore in a safe environment, and the other gross motor skills will follow.
    • Some babies have taken first steps at 12 months of life.
    • Others may not walk independently until 18 months of life, and this is normal too!
  • Find a safe way for your baby to pull up to a standing position, and encourage him to do so.
  • Avoid using push walkers to “teach” your baby to walk.
    • These inhibit independent walking
  • Avoid seats with wheels.
    • These are dangerous, and inhibit independent walking.

Fine Motor Skills

  • Give dissolvable puffs or cheerios to help develop your pincer grasp and oral motor skills.
    • To avoid choking, give them one-by-one, not a big pile at once.
    • They are dissolvable and will not cause choking.
  • Let your baby feed himself at mealtime and snacks, provided the food is soft and cut into very small pieces.

Language Skills

  • Talk to your baby all the time.
    • She should hear as many words as possible from the people she cares about.
    • This is best accomplished through interactive play with caregivers.
    • Reading books is always encouraged, but most babies will lose interest quickly, and that’s ok too!
  • Avoid “baby talk.”
    • Instead pronounce words correctly, to teach your baby to make sounds correctly.
  • At 12 months of life, some babies speak a word or two with meaning, however all babies should be using consonant sounds (“gaga” “baba” “mama” “dada” etc).


  • If your baby is sleeping well, don't change a thing!
  • If your baby stops sleeping well, please see my guide to sleep in the first year of life for detailed recommendations.