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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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