12 Month Check-Up

9 Jan
Well, did you have a theme for the first birthday party?  Did you invite friends, family and the whole neighborhood or just keep it low key?  One of the great parts of this age is that you’re starting to really get a sense of what your baby’s personality is going to be like.  You are able to learn more and more about your child every day at this age.  Are they more timid or outgoing?  Are the cautious or little daredevils?  We’ve had some of each and learning how to adjust your parenting style to meet their needs is one of the more challenging but rewarding things about being a mommy or daddy.
Welcome to the great time where your meal schedules can pretty much match up with your babies.  You don’t have to plan for meals at 10:30 AM and 4 PM because most babies are on a 3 meals and 2 snacks schedule that this point.  It’s a great reminder that if you want your baby to eat the same kinds of food that you eat, start laying that groundwork now.  (I only recommend this if you are a healthy eater…please don’t feed your kid McDonald’s everyday to get their diet to match yours…even if it is Monopoly reward time, you know who you are).  The best way to do this is to start handing your baby food off your plate when everyone is sitting down together.  I’ve become convinced that there is some genetic switch built into 1 year olds that make anything coming off your plate or out of you cup taste better than off their own plates.
It’s time to stop formula!  Your bank account says: Hooray!  The old recommendation was that all babies should be on whole milk at age 1, we are going away from that these days as an absolute recommendation.  If your baby is average weight or below, whole milk is a good option; if their weight is above average, consider going ahead and making the switch to low-fat milk option.  Soy milk is a good option for those who weren’t able to tolerate cow’s milk but I’m not a fan of almond milk, goat milk or anything else.  Please don’t feed your child unpasteurized milk; it’s a dangerous source of infection.
Not only is it time to move on to big boy/girl milk, it’s time to drink that milk from a big boy/girl cup.  Time to ditch the bottles and move on to a sippy cup or a cup with a straw.  The main motivation is to keep their new teeth nice and protected from cavities and flaring out around the nipple but also it’s a developmental skill they simply need to learn.  Good luck with your stubborn ones! I usually find that bed time bottle to be the hardest to get rid of but it’s important.  Some grace will be extended at the 1 year but I expect a bottle-free 15 month check-up.
I expect 1 year olds to be drinking somewhere around 16-24 ounces of milk per day.  You can supplement extra cheese and yogurt if they don’t take to the milk well.
There is a dreaded day coming up in your future…the day that your baby gives up their morning nap.  That day will feel like the end of the world.  You will go through the stages of grief…you will deny it and continue for 2 weeks to continue to put them down, just in case (not really… the loss of the nap is often gradual and they will skip it some days and need it others) and end up at acceptance.  You won’t admit it but you there will be days that you feel anger (“WHY WON’T YOU JUST NAP?!?!”).  But you will survive it; everyone does.  It usually happens between 12-18 months but can happen later (if you’re lucky).
The milestone for speech development at 1 year is 1 word.  I am pretty flexible about how defined that word is…ba for ball or ma for mom can count.  When I count words, I usually count any reproducible sound that has meaning to the chid and parent.  If you are worried about your child’s speech for any reason, remember that the best way to help them with their speech is to talk with them…all. the. time.  You can see more information about this on the speech section of the 9 month check-up post.
Babies should be crawling well at this age.  Most babies are cruising or walking at this age also, but we don’t stress too much about it until after the 15 month check up.  It’s important to have push toys available so that your baby can get around behind something and explore the house.  It helps them to realize that walking is actually is a faster way to move because it seems so inefficient to them when they are first starting.  What if your baby started to walk and skipped the whole crawling thing?  Despite what my elementary school grandmothers say, I can’t find any evidence that says that they will have trouble reading.  So, quit kicking them over when they start trying to walk before they crawl.
Next checkup comes at 15 months…not a lot of big changes between now and then.  Expect more vocabulary and better mobility.  You’ll find this to be a theme for the next few checkups.
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