The Eleventh Month
Your baby is rapidly nearing the one-year mark. Can you believe it? A year ago, you were anticipating the birth of this little one and gearing up for labor. Now, he or she is almost a year old, and you are preparing for a first birthday celebration. Congratulations, the past ten months have been phenomenal in terms of child development and parental learning. You probably didn’t know there was this much to learn about a little one! Developing bodies and minds are in high gear now!
Sleep is the one area that hasn’t changed dramatically over the last two or three months. Your baby is still sleeping nearly two-thirds of the day. However, most of those sleep hours are likely to come overnight rather than throughout the day. Some babies are nappers, and others aren’t. Don’t be alarmed if your baby still sleeps eight to ten hours at night and takes three naps. That’s just your baby’s style.
“I do it myself” seems to be the mantra of your baby. While he or she may not be using sentences, you can see that is what they are thinking. Feeding is probably the place this is most true. Your baby will likely want to feed themselves and leave you to clean up the mess. This is good practice for hand-eye coordination and personal skills. Let it happen when you can.
The physical development your child experiences is mostly related to their movement and mobility. You will notice your baby trying to walk and even run right now. If your baby is still crawling, he or she will appear to be racing an imaginary baby and zooming all over your house. Block off those danger zones!
Your baby will have no fear. Stairs, doors, and hot stoves will pose no threat in your child’s mind. You will have to monitor your child’s every movement and ensure that the baby proofing has extended into areas your child can reach by stretching and standing. Your baby is also probably learning to climb and explore. Block off stairs and other things your child can easily climb upon and get injured. Physical injury is inevitable, but you want to prevent it as much as you can.
Your baby’s stability is improving exponentially. However, babies are not as stable as they believe. Ankles, knees, and hips are growing and strengthening with all of their movements and attempts at walking. If your child’s gait seems unusual, try to remember that walking is awkward at first. However, hip, knee, and ankle instability can be corrected by braces and physical therapies if necessary.
Cognitive development is generally related to cause and effect and problem-solving. Your child will learn more about their world than any other area during the next few months. Walking and physical changes will present new problems and navigational challenges. The cognitive development here will help them physically as well.
Cause and Effect
Your baby has been learning this concept for months. The dropping of toys and someone else picking them up began this lesson. Now, children will learn that their actions can cause injury or harm, or happiness. Crawling to a toy and batting it with their hands will be great fun. They will learn that hard hits make it go further, but soft hits mean it stays close. Toys disappearing under furniture will seem like big-time fun, but they may get hurt trying to retrieve them. This helps them learn the cause and effect. While you don’t want them hurt and do everything to stop it, they are bound to learn that they cannot do everything they want.
When children learn that they cannot crawl under the couch and get lost toys, they will learn to problem-solve. They will begin considering things they can do to prevent lost toys. Some children will begin hiding things they want for later too. Your child will also learn that parents and other adults are useful tools to use. Problem-solving may include navigating when one can’t walk but can hold on to a table and cruise. Keep learning, little one!
Babies who aren’t pulling to a stand at this point may need to have a physical exam. Likewise, when babies aren’t babbling and trying to talk or making word-like sounds, they may not be developing typically. It’s imperative, especially now, that many peers may be doing more or less than your child. It’s not a race. No one will remember whose baby walked first when they reach adulthood. It won’t matter either. If your baby’s sleep pattern is exceptionally different from what you expect, this can also be a sign of specific challenges. Chat with your doctor with any concerns.
You have almost made it through the first year. This is the most rapidly changing year your child will experience in terms of cognitive, personality, and physical changes simultaneously. You have had to learn a lot this year too. You guys are doing the best you can. No one is a perfect parent. Protect your child and help them learn more! You are doing great.