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Your 11 month old – baby development guide

Baby Development Guide - 11 months oldSend out the invitations, your baby will soon be turning 1!

It has been a long year and if anyone deserves a party it is you – oh, and your little one of course! So read these tips on surviving a kid’s birthday party, crack out kids’ party cookbook and start planning.

How is baby going?

Life is pretty much a never-ending party for your little one these days anyway. There is so much fun to be had, so much to explore and so many games to play. Some favourites will include the ‘throwing toys on the floor to see who picks them up’ game, the ‘chase the cat and pull her tail’ game and the ‘remove all the tissues from the tissue box’ game.

Sleep

At 11 months old, babies are generally having two defined naps a day. They can happily stay awake for about three hours at a time. A general guide to their day might go something like this: 7am wake for the day, 10am-noon morning nap, 3-4.30pm afternoon nap, 7.30 bed. It is normal for a baby to still be waking at night for a feed or two at this age.

Feed

At this age babies still need breast milk or formula while also enjoying a wide range of nutritious solid food. However, you might be thinking about when and how you’ll wean them completely.

After 12 months of age, babies can have full fat cow’s milk as a drink but they don’t need too much – 500-600ml a day is plenty and if your toddler isn’t keen on drinking milk, that’s no big deal – they can receive calcium from many other sources (yoghurt, cheese, broccoli). There is no evidence to suggest toddler formula offers any added benefits to children who are eating a normal healthy diet.

Also, it might be a good time to start weaning your baby from the bottle as dentists recommend switching to a cup at this age to help prevent tooth decay.

If you’re breastfeeding and want to continue you should not feel pressure to wean at this age. Babies may not need breast milk after 12 months but they will continue to receive benefits – nutritional and immunological – if they continue breastfeeding.

Play

Now that your baby is a little older and awake for longer periods of time, you might start to find yourself at a loss trying to entertain them. Firstly, don’t think you have to constantly set up games and activities. Your child needs downtime as well as opportunities for independent play and safe exploration. Remember that heading outside to watch the trees and crunch up some leaves can be all the stimulation they need – the world is a very exciting place when you’re young!

Play is very important, however. It is how a child learns about the world, discovers new things and builds their gross and fine motor skills. They don’t need ‘educational’ toys or noisy, flashy devices – in fact, these are often one-dimensional rather than open-ended and may not keep a baby interested for as long as you’d like. Instead try some of these simple ideas: fill a wide, shallow container with a few centimetres of water and give them objects to float and sink (supervision is essential with all water play), grab a wooden spoon and some saucepans for noisy play showing them the difference between noisy and quiet, slow and fast etc or a simple game of catch the ball.

Health

Vaccinations are due when your baby is 12 months old. Make an appointment with your GP or your local immunisation clinic.

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How are you going?

Give yourself a big pat on the back, you have almost made it through the first year with a baby! It has probably been quite a big year and at times overwhelming. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself because feeling overwhelmed can lead to anxiety. One good way to help keep feelings of anxiety and overwhelm at bay is mindfulness. Mindfulness is the idea that we should live more in the moment, rather than thinking (and stressing) about things that haven’t happened and might not happen. Being in the moment has enormous benefits to you as a parent – here are 5 ways to make mindful parenting work for you.

If you are struggling with feelings of anxiety and/or depression it is important that you seek help immediately. We have a list of national depression and anxiety helplines that offer support and advice. Head to our directory for details of the national depression and anxiety helplines and those in your own state.

3 things to do now your baby is 11 months old

Please note: All babies are different, these are generic guides and aren’t a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to contact your health care provider.

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