One Year Old Baby Development

by Emma Dodds |
Published on

Well done, you have reared a beautiful baby! Your little one is fast approaching their first birthday, so you're probably starting to plan your baby's first ever birthday party. Take a look at our tips for throwing the perfect baby birthday party if you're feeling overwhelmed. And make sure you take a moment to pat yourself on the back – this parenting business isn't an easy job!

At this age, your baby may become shy or nervous around strangers or other people they don't know very well – even other children, and may become tearful and cry when you leave the room. They will start to have favourite things and people, as well as books – and they might start to demand stories from you by passing you a book.

How should a one-year-old baby be physically developing?

Your baby might have already been starting to prop themselves up on furniture (or you!) and try to toddle around, but you might soon see your baby be ready to try and walk properly by themselves. If you thought your baby was a handful before now, prepare yourself for when they're able to run off! Your baby can most likely get into a sitting position without help at the age of one, and may already be "cruising" – where they're able to pull themselves up to stand and walk whilst holding onto furniture. They may even take a few steps without holding on, and might stand up on their own. Make sure you're on hand to guide your baby as they begin to experiment with walking. You can even make it into a game with your partner or another family member, encouraging your baby to toddle from one to the other and rewarding them with lots of cuddles and kisses. Don't worry if your baby doesn't walk yet; they'll do it in their own time.

If you've noticed your baby isn't yet able to do the following, mention it to your GP at your next visit:

  • Doesn’t crawl

  • Can’t stand when supported

  • Doesn’t search for things that they see you hide

  • Doesn’t say single words like “mama” or “dada”

  • Doesn’t learn gestures like waving or shaking head

  • Doesn’t point to things

  • Loses skills they once had

READ MORE: Your baby movement milestones: 12-24 months

How should a one-year-old baby be cognitively developing?

By the age of one, you can also expect your baby's communication to develop and become more advanced than it might have been before. For example, your baby might know what their "nose" is, or be calling you "mama" and "dada" – and possibly even responding to their own name now too. Now might be a good time to start teaching your baby "please" and "thank you", if you haven't already. You can also help by using repetitive words and phrases, like "Where's it gone?" when you hide something.

Your baby should now be nearly able to do the following:

  • Respond to simple spoken requests

  • Use simple gestures, like shaking their head for “no” or waving “bye-bye”

  • Make sounds with changes in tone, like speech

  • Try to copy words you say

  • Explore new objects in different ways, like shaking or throwing

  • Be able to find hidden things much more easily

  • Be able to correctly identify something when it’s named

  • Start to use things correctly; for example, drinks from a cup, brushes hair

  • Point with index finger

What jabs should a one-year-old baby have?

From Autumn 2017, one-year-old babies will have the following jabs:

  • Hib and MenC: This is a single injection for the first vaccine against Meningitis C and the fourth vaccine against Hib - Haemophilus influenzae type b, injected into the upper arm or thigh.

  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR): This is a single injection given altogether in the upper arm or thigh.

  • Pneumococcal (PCV): Your baby will receive their third and final dose of the PCV vaccine, which protects your baby against pneumonia and pneumonia-related infections. This is also injected in your baby's upper arm or thigh.

  • MenB: This injection is also the third and final dose, this time to protect your baby against infections in the meningococcal group B bacteria, which are responsible for more than 90% of meningococcal infections in young children. This will be injected into your baby's left thigh.

How much should a one-year-old baby be sleeping?

According to the NHS, babies will generally have about two hours, 30 minutes’ worth of naptime during the day, and should sleep for 11 hours. Their daytime naps may become shorter than what you've seen so far, and they should hopefully (!) be sleeping through the night. Of course, every child is different, so what might be a normal sleep pattern for one baby may not necessarily be what's right for another. Baby sleep expert Jo Tantum offers Mother & Baby readers some advice for what to expect.

How much should a one-year-old baby be eating?

As we've already said, all babies are different, but here are some general guidelines for how much food to give your baby every day.

  • Approximately 220g – 350g of milk – if you're not breastfeeding anymore and your child doesn't like cow's milk, try giving them yoghurt instead

  • Three lots of grains, with at least half of those being whole grains – for example, 100g of cold cereal, 100g of pasta or rice and no more than one slice of bread)

  • Around 220g of fruit - fresh, frozen, or canned is fine, but make sure they are cut into very small pieces

  • Four to six lots of 100% fruit juice per day

  • Roughly 220g of vegetables – choose a variety and make sure they are cut in small pieces and cooked well

  • Two lots of protein – for example, one slice of sandwich meat, a third of a chicken breast, a quarter of a can of tuna, or one egg

Of course, if your child has any food allergies, find an alternative or ask your GP to recommend one. This is also the case if you are bringing your child up in a vegetarian or vegan household. For more info on what your child should eat, read this explainer on the NHS site.

READ MORE: 8 ways to get your toddler to use cutlery

How much should a one-year-old baby be pooing?

Essentially, as long as your baby's poo is soft, there isn't a problem with their bowel movements. It shouldn't be hard as if they're constipated or runny like diarrhoea, as that may be an indicator that something isn't quite right in their diet. You may notice a difference if you are planning to stop breastfeeding and switch to formula milk – it'll be a lot smellier! – but other than that, there shouldn't be any cause for concern. If you have any concerns whatsoever about the state of your baby's poo, book an appointment with your GP.

Milestones of a one-year-old baby:

Every baby is different, so if your little one hasn't quite mastered any of these yet – don't worry. You should also remember that if your baby was premature, they may take a little longer than other babies anyway.

Here are the milestones you can expect from your one-year-old:

  • Starting to walk unaided

  • Pulling themselves up to standing unaided

  • Recognising and pointing at objects of interest

  • Speaking two or three works coherently

  • Purposefully dropping toys and searching for them

  • Enjoying playing with stacking toys and putting objects into containers – if you haven't already, buy them some building blocks as this will help to develop fine motor skills

  • Enjoying playing with creative toys like crayons, paints and play dough

  • Pretending to be different animals together when playing with soft toys – this will help develop their imagination and creativity

What problems should parents of a one-year-old baby be aware of?

If you ever have any concerns about anything at all, you should book an appointment with your local GP. Your baby's health is the priority, not worrying about how many visits you've had this month.

Some parents of autistic children began to notice their symptoms between the ages of 12-18 months, so if you notice anything in your child's behaviour that you want a second opinion on, call your GP.

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