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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!
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 food15 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
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
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.
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:
goodnight to objects in the room
and into crib
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:
time: 6:45 a.m.
1: 9:30 a.m.
2: 2:30 p.m.
Bedtime: 7:00 p.m.
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
However he does
it—crawling, scooting, walkingor
some other creative way of moving forward—your baby has a mode of locomotion.
Yourbaby can feed himself, grasping food between
thumb and finger.
shows that heunderstands your wordsby following simple requests or responding to known words and phrases.