Growth and Development, Ages 1 to 12 Months
During the first 12 months of a baby's life, it's very common for parents to have concerns about their baby's general well-being. Know that you likely don't have anything to worry about. But it is good to be aware of health, development, and safety issues to help prevent or respond to problems.
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
Reference SIDS Opens New Window is the death, without a known cause, of a baby who is younger than 1 year old. Typically, a parent or other caregiver puts the baby—who seems healthy—down to sleep and returns later to find the baby has died.
SIDS is very rare, and it cannot always be prevented. But you can help prevent SIDS by taking certain steps. For instance, always put your baby to sleep on his or her back. For more information, see the topic Reference Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
You may just start bragging to your friends and family how your baby is sleeping through the night when—suddenly—that's no longer true. The fact is, Reference sleeping patterns change.
Your baby may suddenly start to cry when it's nap time or bedtime or may wake up during the night. Sometimes a baby gets too excited for sleep after he or she has mastered some new skill, such as jabbering or shaking the crib. Other times, hunger from a Reference growth spurt Opens New Window, a change in routine, or not feeling well may interrupt a good sleep pattern.
Try to keep a nap and bedtime routine. Your baby will adjust if you stay consistent. And remember, napping can be good for tired parents too.
- Reference Quick Tips: Getting Baby to Sleep
- Reference Reference Sleep: Helping Your Children—and Yourself—Sleep Well
You may notice your baby's feeding patterns change during this time. Parents often wonder whether their baby is getting enough nourishment. The quality and quantity of a baby's feedings probably are sufficient if the baby is gaining weight steadily, is content most of the time, and is becoming increasingly alert and active. For more information about feeding your baby, see the topics Reference Breast-Feeding and Reference Bottle-Feeding.
Babies cry a lot, especially in the first 2 months. Reference Crying is your child's first way of communicating.
The amount of time your baby spends crying usually increases from birth until your baby is about 6 to 8 weeks old. After that, your baby will gradually cry less as he or she finds other ways of communicating or consoling himself or herself.
If your child is crying, try to identify the type of cry. It helps to go through a mental checklist of what might be wrong and make sure your child is safe and cared for.
As you respond to the young child's other signals (such as whimpering, facial expressions, and wiggling), the child will usually cry less. For more information, see the topic Reference Crying, Age 3 and Younger.
Babies love to put objects into their mouths. To keep your baby from choking:
- Be careful about the size of toys he or she plays with.
- Watch out for everyday items that your baby could swallow, such as coins.
- Be careful as you begin Reference introducing solid foods to your baby between 4 and 6 months of age. Help Reference prevent choking on food by not giving your child round, firm foods, such as hot dogs, unless you first completely chop them into very small pieces.
Reference Diaper rash Opens New Window occurs most often in babies who are 9 to 12 months old. Even though a diaper rash is uncomfortable, normally it isn't serious. Usually the rash clears up when you:
- Change diapers more often.
- Are careful about cleaning your baby's bottom.
- Apply nonprescription ointments to the rash.
For more information, see the topic Reference Diaper Rash.
Your baby is Reference teething Opens New Window when his or her Reference first teeth Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window break through the gums. Teething usually begins around 6 months of age. But it can start at any time between 3 months and 12 months of age. Your baby may show signs of discomfort from sore and sensitive gums, be cranky, drool, and have other mild symptoms for a few days before a tooth breaks through the gum.
For more information, see the topic Reference Teething.
It may take a few months before an older child shows signs of jealousy of a new baby. When your child realizes that the baby is there to stay, strong emotions and behavior problems may soon follow.
You can take steps to prepare for Reference sibling rivalry. For example, you can:
- Help your older child adjust by setting time aside for just the two of you.
- Talk about how important it is for your older child to help care for the baby.
- Give your older child a role in daily care, such as handing you a fresh diaper when you change your baby.
Beginning around 6 months of age, your baby begins to feel uneasy when you go away. This is called separation anxiety, or Reference separation protest. You can help your baby manage these emotions by making sure your child is well-rested and well-fed before you leave. It may also help to distract your baby, such as with a favorite toy.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference October 7, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Reference Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics