You may wonder how it is possible that your baby is nearing her first year – time seems to fly around this time and before you know it, your baby is a toddler.
As you may well know, babies are very curious at this age and are into absolutely everything!
Feeding and sleeping
At eleven months old, your baby will need around 13-14 hours of sleep over a 24-hour period, possibly including two naps during the day – usually a shorter one in the morning and a longer one in the afternoon. Some babies at this age will regularly sleep for up to 12 hours through the night, but one in four eleven-month-olds will not yet sleep for eight hours consecutively. Every baby is different and sleep patterns vary. Teething pains, hunger and discomfort can all contribute to regular night-time waking.
When it comes to food, continue to expose your little one to a range of flavours and textures. You may be feeding her the same as the rest of the family by now, if you have not been doing this all along, with minimal effort required when it comes to preparing her meals. Even if she refuses certain things, keep offering them as it can take several exposures before babies will happily eat something. Roasted broccoli tastes different to steamed broccoli for example, so sometimes just mixing up the cooking method can make something more appealing to your baby. Milk will still feature in the same volume as it has done before, with your baby needing approximately 500ml of milk per day, usually as three feeds – one in the morning before breakfast, one after lunch, and one before bed.
Your child will also need daily vitamin drops unless she is drinking 500ml or more of formula milk per day, and your GP or health visitor will be able to advise if you are worried about your baby’s feeding pattern and weight gain.
By now, your baby will likely be using hand gestures very efficiently to communicate with those around her; clapping, waving goodbye, pointing towards the things she wants, and holding out her arms to be picked up.
Your baby’s understanding of language and her own ‘chatter’ will be improving by the day, and her little personality will be flourishing as she moves towards the toddler phase. You may notice that she often protests quite vocally, shouting and being assertive which is a normal part of her development as she seeks to become more independent. When she gets cross about something or you can sense a tantrum looming, try to use distraction techniques such as pointing out things you are passing (‘ohh, look at that red car’).
At this age, babies are increasingly efficient at detecting the tone of your voice, even if they do not yet understand the meaning. Commands, such as a firm ‘no’, when she is about to do something dangerous usually do the trick in averting an accident, but all babies respond differently. However you choose to approach setting limits, consistency and a loving approach is key to ensure she has a chance to understand the rules you would like her to follow to keep her safe, while also allowing her to explore and grow.
Senses and physical development
Early walkers may make themselves known this month, cruising around the room holding on to furniture, push-along toys, or even taking a few tentative steps and standing on her own. Stay close by to avoid any accidents and knocks to the head which can happen easily during the wobbly-walking stage. It is important to keep in mind that all babies are different, and many will not make their first steps for at least a few months yet.
At eleven months old, your little one’s hand-to-eye coordination will have developed further still as she experiments with throwing objects rather than simply dropping them on to the floor, so keep an eye out for any flying objects, particularly when pets and other children are around.
Playing with your eleven-month-old
Chatting constantly and reading together with your baby will help to support the development of her vocabulary and language skills. Remember that the tone of your voice can help to support her understanding as well as the actual words themselves. If possible, around now is a good time to try and wean your baby off a dummy if she has one outside of sleep times, to support her speech development.
You can support your baby’s motor and cognitive skills by providing stacking blocks and cups, puzzles, and shape sorters for her to explore. Try playing together with her first, then give her space to explore the toys and make connections at her own pace. This not only encourages independent play, but also supports her self esteem as she works out how to do things on her own and receives your praise. Ride-on and push-along toys can help to support her physical development as she shows signs of wanting to walk independently.
You can also encourage the development of your baby’s imagination through role play, introducing toys such as play kitchens, toy phones and little doctor kits to her play area.
While the above indicates what you can expect to see your baby going this month, it is important to keep in mind that all babies are unique and will develop at their own pace. If you have any concerns about your baby’s development, talk to your doctor or health visitor.
Jen Dowding, Baby massage and baby yoga instructor, Basking Babies Laindon & Orsett