Please see our page on "Babyproofing" Your Home / Safety Checklist on our website. By Dr. Brown
Your baby's first birthday - can you believe all that's happened? How much your child has changed from when you first brought her home from the hospital! But you have grown very much as a parent as well. Can you remember all the feedings in the middle of the night, all the soothing in the first few months, and all the joy at seeing her develop new abilities? Such precious memories to always cherish!
If your child is not walking yet, she will be soon. Although many children may have the physical capability to walk (as evidenced by their walking with mom or dad's help), some will not walk independently until as late as 18 months. Have your child practice a lot of walking with your help, giving your child less and less support as time goes on. Push and walking toys are good to use also.
Speech begins to evolve more at this time. Try to play lots of fun games with your child. Games such as the "animal sound game" (what does the doggie say, etc) will engage your child. After she masters many animal sounds, you can play the body parts game, having her identify various body parts. Continue to read to your child with simple picture books, pointing out and identifying the various objects. Learning to point is a big developmental milestone for your child. This will enable her to communicate better, express her wants, show interests, and socially interact with you. Consider using a "word box". In a sturdy box, put 2 or 3 simple objects such as a ball, a cup, a shoe. Every day spend about 5 minutes playing with your child handling and identifying the objects. Say things like "give mommy the cup", "take the cup out", "put the cup in", etc. As she masters these objects, add new objects to the word box.
You may want to consider learning "sign-language" to help your baby communicate. Studies have shown that babies who sign and communicate their needs and interests do very well emotionally and cognitively. There are several books where you can read about the topic as well as learn how to sign. Give this some serious consideration, even if you only use a few signs. Check the "Recommended Books" section - Special Topics, of our website for a recommendation.
Go to the section "Child Development" on our website to get more info.
Your child could be completely on table foods by now. You can continue to give your child jar foods to make up for any deficiencies she may have. Your child can have honey at this age, but please avoid nuts, or other things she may choke on.
You can now change from formula to whole milk. If your child was on a soy formula, have a discussion with the doctor to see what type of milk to transition to. If you are still breastfeeding, please continue; you may now supplement with whole milk if you need to. Most children do not need special toddler formulas at this time. This is a good time to transition your child off the bottle and onto the cup. We like to have children off the bottle by fifteen months. Your child should try to get in at least 16 ounces of milk per day.
You may soon see the "toddler appetite slump". Some days your child may eat like there's no tomorrow, other days, she may not take a bite of food. Favorite foods may be frowned upon. Don't watch your child's appetite day to day, you've got to watch over many days. Make sure she gets some vegetables, some fruits, and proteins. Generally its no problem to get children to take breads and carbohydrates. You still have to make sure that your child gets exposed to plenty of different foods. You can't control what gets past your child's lips, but you can control what she is exposed to.
Your child should be sleeping through the night. That means 10-12 hours at night. Most children are taking 2 naps, but some are down to only one nap now. Your child should not be having anything to eat or drink in the middle of the night.
Please see our page on "Babyproofing" Your Home / Safety Checklist on our website.
Watch out for choking and poisonings. There is controversy whether or not to give activated charcoal or syrup of Ipecac for poisonings. You may want to have both at home, but first call Poison Control to see which if any to give. Both activated charcoal and Ipecac can be purchased at the pharmacy without prescription. Poison Control telephone number is: 800/942-5969.
This is really a big time to child proof the home. Install locks on cabinets that contain dangerous cleaning supplies, medicines, etc. Watch out for electrical cords and sockets. Check under furniture for any items that your exploring child may find and choke on. Gate stairs and other hazards. Its also a good idea to turn your hot water heater down to 120 degrees to avoid scalding. Close the bathroom door so your exploring child won't play in the toilet!
Remember to always use the car seat. It is now recommended to keep your child's car seat rear facing until at least two years of age. Rear facing is always the safest position.
Be careful when holding hot liquids. Your mobile child may sneak up on you!
Toddler Appetite Slump
As mentioned above, your child may start having all sorts of changes with her appetite. Some suggestions about eating if your child is having a slump:
Teach your child to feed herself as soon as possible. Don't expect your child to finish her portion and don't put food into her mouth because it is open.
Put your child in charge of how much she eats.
Don't give her more than two snacks per day and limit juice intake.
Serve smaller amounts than your child may want to eat. Let her ask for more.
Avoid conversation about what your child eats; neither praise or criticize.
Make mealtimes pleasant.
Don't make your child sit at the dinner table after everyone has left so that she can finish her meal.
Temper tantrums commonly start showing up when your child becomes more independent and wants to make her own decisions. A lot of this independence starts when she begins to walk and move to where she wants to go. Stopping her or telling your child no will commonly precipitate these protests or tantrums.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Doctors Office Visits
Now that your child is older, she may start finally realizing what goes on at the doctors office. For the next year or so, the office visits may not go so well, as she protests being examined. This is normal and common!
Your curious toddler will want to get into everything. Baby proof the house and be prepared!
Stimulate your child's language development as much as possible. See some of the above suggestions.
Soon your child should start seeing other children on a frequent basis. Although they don't play together interactively, children engage in what's called "parallel play"; they watch the others, especially older children and begin to mimic their play. This is a great way for children to learn how to accomplish new developmental milestones. Other children are a great stimulus for your child.
COVER TEST FOR VISION
Whenever you can think of it, try this test to see if your child's vision seems to be equal from both eyes:
When she's looking intently at an object, cover one eye with your hand, then cover the other. What you're doing is checking to see if she protests consistently. For example, if your child has a "weak" right eye, she'll probably allow you to cover that eye because she can still see well from the left eye. If you now cover her left or "good" eye, she may protest or push your hand away because things may appear blurry out of the right or "weak" eye. It's very likely that she'll protest whenever you do either eye, but if she consistently allows you to cover one eye and not the other, there may be a problem.
If there are concerns about your baby's vision you can either discuss this with the doctor, or visit the website: www.infantsee.com. On this site you can find more info and a list of optometrists who can check your baby (in many cases this exam is performed for free!) Please see the website for further info.
If you have any concerns, please see the section below "Special Topics" - Autism.