12 Month Visit

You hit the first birthday! Hopefully your celebration was filled with family, fun, and cake! By now you’re realizing that your ‘little baby’ is starting to grow up. She’s showing her own personality, letting her wants be known, and generally tearing up your house. Just remind yourself: this is fun!!

What most babies do by this age:

Social/Emotional Milestones

  • Plays games with you, like pat-a-cake

Language/Communication Milestones

  • Puts something in a container, like a block in a cup
  • Looks for things he sees you hide, like a toy under a blanket

Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Looks for objects when dropped out of sight (like his spoon or toy)
  • Bangs two things together

Movement/Physical Development Milestones

  • Pulls up to stand
  • Walks, holding on to furniture
  • Drinks from a cup without a lid, as you hold it
  • Picks things up between thumb and pointer finger, like small bits of food

Source: CDC – Learn the Signs, Act Early

Next, work on…

Playing on the floor

Thankfully, babies of this age pretty much demand exactly what they need from a physical development standpoint. They want you to be on the floor playing with them! Great activities include throwing, kicking and bouncing balls, stacking blocks and starting to play with shape sorters.


You’ll notice that receptive language develops first, and expressive language follows. By 15 months of age, your toddler will likely be able to say 3-6 words but will probably understand over 50 words. 

Picture books are great for the next few months. Now you can use those books to point and name items. At 15 months, you can name and let her point and at 18 months, you can point and let her name the items in the books.


  • Your infant should now be able to use a sippy cup fairly well. If he is not already weaned, now is the time to transition him from bottle to cup. Encourage the use of a spoon; however, expect messiness!
  • Your child should feed himself finger foods. Avoid things like popcorn, peanuts, raw carrots, hot dogs, whole grapes and other foods that your child could choke on.
  • You may now give your child whole milk. You may change him to 2% milk or less when he is two years old, but for now he needs the extra fat in whole milk.
  • Your child’s appetite may seem decreased and he may eat less at some meals than others. This is normal for this age.
  • Mealtimes should be enjoyable! It is best not to pressure children into eating. Place a variety of healthy foods in front of him, and trust your child’s appetite center in his brain!


During this stage of development, your toddler’s motor skills are improving rapidly. They begin to walk and run, which opens up a whole new world of exploration for them, and a whole new world of watchfulness for you. As you try to keep your toddler safe, remember that while they understand “Stop!” or “Don’t touch!” they don’t yet have the impulse control to stop themselves the next time the temptation appears. Since they are better at doing things rather than stopping what they are doing, “Walk slowly” works better than “Don’t run.”

  • Create safe places in your home where your child can crawl under furniture, cruise around a table or stand on his own. Help a child who has walked upstairs to get down safely.
  • Think of ways to divert your child away from a forbidden object so you don’t have to say “no” all day long. For example, if he’s fixated on the television remote, maybe a toy with buttons and twisty knobs could be a substitute.
  • Your child should ride in a car seat at all times. It’s safer for her to be rear facing until she’s two years old.
  • Be sure your house is “childproofed”. Keep all medications, cleaners, and vitamins out of his reach. Also, be sure to watch for dangling cords, exposed outlets and hanging tablecloths.


As your baby becomes a toddler, the concept of discipline is suddenly meaningful. As they start to express their own will, they are also learning how to live and relate with others. This process is hard and will likely result in temper tantrums, hitting, biting and throwing.

Your best discipline tool for the toddler time is your attention. Turn your attention with praise to good behavior, and ignore behaviors you want to discourage. If your toddler is having a temper fit, say something like, “I can’t be with you when you’re acting that way.” Then ignore the fit and go to a different room. When they come back to you and the fit is over, you can respond by saying, “I’m so glad that you feel better, let’s go play together.” You can then reward the “getting over” the fit by giving your attention to them.

Hitting and biting are often ways toddlers explore communication. If this happens, tell your little one, “I can’t hold you when you’re hitting me.” and put them down. They will soon learn that this is not the best way to get mommy or daddy’s attention.

Also remember, consistency is key with all discipline approaches.


Three vaccines are scheduled for today: Hepatitis A, Prevnar and
MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella).

  • Hepatitis A vaccine protects against a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. It is spread by ingesting the virus in contaminated food or drink.
  • Prevnar is a vaccine against Pneumococcus, a bacteria which causes ear infections, meningitis (infection of the spinal cord and/or brain), sepsis (blood infection) as well as pneumonia.
  • Measles is a viral infection which most commonly causes a distinct rash and fever, but can result in brain infections and pneumonia.
  • Mumps is a viral infection which causes an infection of the salivary glands and testicles. Rarely, it also infects the pancreas and brain.
  • Rubella is a viral infection which causes cataracts, enlarged liver and spleen, hearing loss, and brain infections in newborns.

The next visit is at 15 months of age. See you then!