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As your baby approaches their first birthday, their growth will begin to slow.

Every baby grows at a different rate, but listed below are some average growth rates:

  • Head size: average growth of about ½ inch each month
  • Weight: birth weight is tripled at 1 year
  • Height: average growth of just over ½ inch; most infants grow 10 inches total in the first year

Cognitive Milestones

Babies at this age will often develop separation anxiety and a fear of strangers. Separation anxiety is fear of being separated from a parent. Babies do not yet understand that their mother will return when she leaves. While this can be a difficult stage, it is actually a healthy psychological part of a baby’s relationship with their parents. Some common behavioral traits of separation anxiety include: crying when a parent leaves, clinging or clutching parents and showing emotional distress when near strangers.

Along with separation anxiety, your baby will display signs of greater awareness of themselves and others. Some common milestones are listed below.

  • Waving bye-bye
  • Crying or showing emotions when told “no”
  • Pointing and gesturing to objects
  • Beginning to pretend or imitate simple activities, like drinking from a cup
  • Dropping objects on purpose for others to pick up
  • Exploring and becoming more curious about things
  • Moving to music
  • Displaying preferences for people and toys
  • Recognizing familiar objects and pictures in books, possibly pointing to objects when named
  • Imitating one step commands when parents demonstrate how

Physical Milestones

New and exciting abilities develop during this age and safety continues to be an important issue in the home. Some common physical milestones include:

  • Sleeping up to 12 hours at night without a feeding, but may wake at night looking for parents
  • Taking 2 naps a day
  • Banging objects together
  • Pretending to scribble
  • Turning pages in a book
  • Developing new teeth
  • Drinking from a cup without a spout
  • Feeding themselves finger foods
  • Picking up small objects with fingers
  • Receiving and rolling back a ball
  • Pulling up to standing position
  • Sitting back down from standing position
  • Cruising or walking while holding onto furniture
  • Standing on his or her own
  • Walking while holding parent’s hand
  • Taking steps on his or her own

Communication Milestones

Speech development increases at this age as babies become more social. Every baby’s speech development will differ, but some common milestones include:

  • Imitating sounds and some words
  • Saying ma-ma and da-da
  • Using simple gestures (such as waving bye)
  • Saying things like “uh-oh”
  • Imitating animal sounds in response to questions (such as, “what does the horse say?”)

Emotional Security and Development

As your baby learns new things, there are many things you can do to encourage your baby’s development and emotional security, such as:

  • Giving your child toys that move (such as cars or balls)
  • Continuing a soothing bedtime routine
  • Naming objects your baby points to
  • Reading stories together
  • Giving your baby finger foods and helping them use a spoon
  • Looking at picture books and talking about the pictures
  • Gradually introducing your baby to new things and places
  • Holding and cuddling your baby often
  • Walking away for short periods while your baby plays in a safe area (this teaches them you will come back after you leave)

Rosann Nichols, MD

Methodist Physicians Clinic Hawthorne Court (178 & Q)

Dr. Nichols answers your questions about child health and parenting. As a mom of three children, she tells her patients that she is in the parenting trenches with them and she can relate to what they are going through. She enjoys answering questions from her patients and their parents and helping parents adapt to the changes a growing family brings. She builds trust with parents and helps them understand that they are not alone and that they can call her office anytime if they have a quest ...

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