Baby Development Month-by-Month: Month 16

Month sixteen

Your 16-month-old is very much into the toddler years by now, and no doubt is constantly on the go, walking, playing and even climbing by now. She really will be keeping you busy at this age.

Feeding and sleeping

There will not be much of a change between how much sleep your little one needs this month and last month and she will be clocking up around 13-14 hours of sleep over a 24-hour period, made up of 11-12 hours at night and one or two short naps during the day. If she has not yet already, she may be starting to transition to one nap per day, resulting in a bit of a mix up to your usual daily schedule.

Continue with her daily food routine of three meals per day, a couple of healthy snacks, and around 400ml of whole cow’s milk or breastmilk, alongside her vitamin drops. Avoid anything high in salt or sugar and avoid adding these to her meals or offering drinks other than water. Your toddler is a good judge of her appetite and she will only need a portion size of around a quarter of an adult’s. Keep offering a variety of foods and try not to react if she refuses something. Fussiness can start to develop around this age, and she may need to be exposed to something 15 times before she is willing to give it a try. She is also far more likely to taste new things if she notices other members of the family enjoying them. Now is also a good time to encourage her to try to use a fork and a spoon independently if she is not already. Practice makes perfect!

Communication

At 16 months, it will be clear to you that your little one understands the majority of what you say, even if she cannot articulate what she wants to just yet. She will be storing up vocabulary and the rules of grammar ready for a language explosion in her own time.

You may notice that ‘no’ is one of her favourites of the words she can say, and power struggles can become a daily occurrence. Simple things like putting her in her car seat might become difficult and while stressful for you, this is a normal part of her development. Try to limit the number of times you use the word ‘no’, saving it for those moments when she might be putting herself or someone else in danger, and it will have more of an impact. The best thing I was ever told as a toddler mum was ‘choose your battles’. Your little one is not intentionally defying you – she is exploring, learning boundaries, and testing those limits.

Senses and physical development

It is likely that your toddler will be able to walk unaided at this stage and may even be running too so you will need eyes in the back of your head to keep her out of trouble. This is the age of fearlessness as your little one will not have much interest in self-preservation just yet and things like ponds and swimming pools appeal to her curiosity. In a similar vein, if you have not yet already installed them, now is a good time to put those stair gates up.

You may notice a slight bow to your little one’s legs when she starts to walk, as well as any other potential leg issues such as inward-pointing toes or flat feet. If you are worried and these traits do not disappear after a few months, speak to your GP or health visitor.

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