Have a box of tissues handy—it's totally normal to
have mixed feelings about the one-year mark. Maybe you feel some relief that
your family is sleeping well and has a sense of routine again, or maybe there's
a little feeling of mourning the close of this baby chapter. All these reactions
are very valid. Don't worry, though, there's so much fun coming in the next
year, as your baby starts to express herself in new ways and your relationship
deepens even more. Year two is very rewarding—we're excited for you!
If you haven't
already, and you're formula feeding, talk to your pediatrician about
introducing cow's milk, or another form of milk. If you're breastfeeding,
there's no need to add any other milk to the equation. You can continue to
nurse through the upcoming year and beyond without cow's milk, just make sure
to protect those breastfeeding sessions and your resulting milk supply.
Here's a great
rule of thumb for toddler feeding schedules:
are in charge of what, when and where to eat, and kids are in charge of
deciding whether and how much to eat.
It will come as
no surprise to learn that toddlers eat more some days, and less on others. Try
to focus less on an individual meal and more on the week's well-rounded lineup.
To nurture a veggie lover,
don't be afraid to make vegetables tasty. There's no need for plain steamed
vegetables every day, so add a little butter, cheese, a dash of pepper or olive
oil. If you can get vegetables at the farmers market, fresh veggies are often
underestimate the power of the family meal. Set a good example," says Cynthia
Epps. Let your toddler see you eat and enjoy your meals together as a family.
If you're the only family member present, always sit down and eat with your
child, even if you only are eating a little bit, say Epps. This prevents a
one-way dynamic where your child feels pressured into eating. By providing
consistent mealtimes, your toddler sees you eat and enjoy a wide variety of
foods. With your help as a model, hand-to-mouth coordination will continue to
Most babies do
well with two naps until at least 15 months, but if you're wondering whether
your baby is ready to drop a nap, here are the signs you might look for,
according to "The Happy Sleeper" sleep consultant Heather Turgeon:
sleeps at least 11 hours at night.
is resisting taking one of his two naps for at least two weeks straight.
nap is becoming very short.
second nap is starting to interfere with bedtime.
bedtime when it comes to reading. Books before bed are a great routine, but
reading at other times of the day is a good pattern to get into. Have a small
stack of books in the living room and your room too. If your baby wakes up nice
and early and you don't have to start your day right away, make reading a
morning routine. When you read, expand on ideas and words with your baby, make hand
gestures to accompany books and use a sing-song voice or other engaging tone to
keep her attention. Most babies love reading and, as they grow, it encourages
imagination and language development.
Music also has a
wonderful and far-reaching impact on your baby's brain. Playing music and
dancing helps your baby develop a sense of rhythm, so break out the tunes once
a day and have a dance party. The more you clap, bounce, sing and dance, the
more your baby learns timing and beats, as well as body coordination and many
other developmental skills.
Your baby cansay some wordslike "mama" and "dada,"
or "uh-oh." Get ready for a word explosion in the next year!
Your baby may
havetaken her first stepsalready,
or she may still rely on your hands to help.
That's it, you made it! Your once tiny baby is now a thriving personality-filled toddler thanks to you. Congrats, Mama!