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Your 11-Month-Old

Gasp! Your baby's first birthday is just one month away! Some parents go all out to commemorate the occasion (which is more a chance for the grown-ups to celebrate the day), and others opt to go more casual. Whichever way you choose to mark your baby's first year, you're reaching a big milestone!

Eat

You may be nursing or formula-feeding your baby as normal, with solid foods being simply a complement to this primary source of nutrition. "Solid foods should not change the amount of milk a baby consumes," says Wendy Haldeman, board-certified lactation consultant. "Milk is the number-one nutritional requirement for a baby for the first year."

If your baby is nursing, she may do so a few times a day, or every 3–4 hours. As your baby enters toddlerhood, her nursing sessions will likely get shorter in duration, to the point when she can empty the breast in just a few minutes. Breast milk is still the primary source of nutrition through the first year, so make sure to protect those feedings and not replace them fully with solid food.

Pop quiz: How many times should you offer your baby a food that she doesn't "like"?

Answer: It can take babies many tries to get to know a food. The rule of thumb is to offer a food 15 times before shelving it for a few weeks.

"Try to refrain from falling into a pattern of coaxing or bribing," says board-certified infant feeding specialist Cynthia Epps. "Forcing food on a child at any age sends very mixed, negative psychological cues." Put a variety of healthy, whole foods on the table at mealtimes—how much your baby eats is up to her own belly.

The dynamic at mealtime is established in these early months, and it is powerful as the years go on. Falling into power struggles over food derails healthy eating. "An innocent, age-appropriate food refusal on the part of your toddler becomes much more fun if you react," says Epps. Instead, she suggests to leave the refused food on the plate, offer one previously prepared alternative, and allow that to become the rule.

"Studies show that children react negatively when parents pressure them to eat foods," says Epps. That stands, even if the pressure is to offer a reward. In one study, researchers asked children to eat vegetables and drink milk, offering them stickers and television time if they did. Later in the study, the children expressed dislike for the foods they had been rewarded for eating.

And exactly how much food is enough? According to Epps, calories are a measure of energy and are essential for healthy growth. However, recent studies show that most infants and children up to the age of three grow normally—and avoid later obesity—on approximately 15 percent fewer calories than previously recommended by experts. This change came from new research methods that measured the actual volume of food eaten, instead of maternal perceptions of what their children ate.

At one year, the average toddler consumes approximately 850 calories per day. From two to three years, toddlers consume between 1,050 to 1,250 calories per day. These estimates will also fluctuate up and/or down from week to week as influenced by growth spurts, illness and teething.

Sleep

What is your baby's bedtime routine? Sleep consultant Heather Turgeon offers an example of an 11-month-old's routine that sets the stage for good sleep:

  • Bath
  • Pajamas
  • Breast or bottle
  • Baby-led play
  • Stories
  • Say goodnight to objects in the room
  • Song
  • Kiss and into crib

The right routine is key, says Turgeon, because the way a baby goes into bed affects how she sleeps during the night. "We always help our clients make adjustments to the bedtime routine," says Turgeon. "Even a very small tweak in the routine can have a huge impact on a baby's nighttime sleep."

A sample sleep schedule for an 11-month-old:

Wake time: 6:45 a.m.

Nap 1: 9:30 a.m.

Nap 2: 2:30 p.m.

Bedtime: 7:00 p.m.

Play

Your baby probably loves to imitate you. While you talk on the phone, you might see him babbling with purpose into a toy held to his ear. This is a natural way your baby learns and is a great sign he's noticing and modeling after the most important people in his environment. It also means that what you do and say, as well as your emotional tone, is always being registered by your little one. Nothing goes over his head at this point, so be aware of how you communicate not just to him, but to other people in the house.

It's a good idea to take note of any red flags in your baby's behavior. Your almost-one-year-old should be making eye contact, smiling, showing pleasure in social interactions, babbling, pointing, showing interest in his surroundings, and showing definite signs of knowing and preferring his closest caregivers. If there's anything about your baby's behavior that concerns you, bring this to your pediatrician's attention.

Milestones

  • However he does it—crawling, scooting, walking or some other creative way of moving forward—your baby has a mode of locomotion.
  • Your baby can feed himself, grasping food between thumb and finger.
  • You almost-one-year-old shows that he understands your words by following simple requests or responding to known words and phrases.

LOOK AHEAD: Your 1-Year-Old!

Photograph by: Getty Images

Explore More: baby care, sleep, milestones, baby feeding, Baby 101, Month by Month
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