Happy birthday, baby! You’ve now got a one-year-old on your hands! Baby’s been on an amazing journey in their first year, haven’t they? And so have you, watching baby advance from rolling to cruising and maybe even walking unsupported. (If baby’s not there yet, don’t worry. Many toddlers start walking after their first birthday.) Your little one is probably pretty social now, waving “hi” and “bye” and likely using most one-year-olds’ favorite word, “no,” while shaking their head. Make way for toddlerhood!
You and your 12-month-old baby deserve a big pat on the back. The last year has certainly been an exciting (and challenging!) one for you both. While you’ve become extremely confident in your role as a parent and caregiver, there’s a good chance you still have some questions about baby’s development. Want to know what to teach your 12-month-old baby, how to discipline them and which activities are best for a budding toddler? We’ve got you covered. From 12-month baby milestones to sleep routines and eating schedules, we’ve got the scoop as you ring in baby’s first birthday!
In this article:
Activities for a 12-month-old
12-month-old baby checklist and tips
Baby is probably still growing about a half inch each month and gaining three to five ounces per week. But look out: Many babies go through a growth spurt right around 12 months.
1-year-old weight and height
How much does a 12-month baby weigh and how tall are they? The average weight for a one-year-old baby is 21.9 pounds for girls and 21.3 pounds for boys. Average height (formerly known as length) is 29.1 inches for girls and 29.8 inches for boys. Baby’s probably tripled their birth weight and is about 10 inches longer than they were at birth.
12-month-old's five senses
- Baby’s hearing is now super-accurate, and they listen with closer attention than they used to.
- They love to look and listen at the same time, making reading books really fun and interesting.
- Baby loves feeling different textures and cool sensations such as the feeling of water pouring from cup to cup in the bathtub.
- Baby continues to feel everything with their hands and mouth.
12-month baby milestones
Do you find yourself wondering, “What should my one-year-old be doing?” Take a peek below:
- Sitting. Baby probably sits for long periods of time and can twist and turn to reach different toys.
- Standing. About half of babies can stand for a few moments without support during month 12.
- Walking. About one out of four babies this age are starting to walk. But don’t fret if yours isn’t. The normal age range of first steps is 9 months to 17 months, so it’s still pretty early for your toddler (eek!) to be walking.
- Talking. Baby is probably saying "dada,” "mama" and at least one other word. (And yes, if you understand what they mean, it counts as a word!)
- Understanding. What does a 12-month-old baby understand? Baby is like a sponge right now—absorbing and trying to make sense of everything around them. They’re beginning to tie words to their meanings. Baby also understands one-step commands if you use gestures, such as when you ask them to pick up a ball or look at the dog. This is also a good time to continue teaching them the meaning of the word “no.”
Here are some frequent health questions parents of one-year-olds have. Click through for answers and lots of helpful information.
- My 12-month-old baby has diarrhea. What should I do?
- My 12-month-old baby is constipated. What should I do?
- My 12-month-old baby is coughing. What should I do?
- My 12-month-old baby is vomiting. What should I do?
- My 12-month-old baby has a fever. What should I do?
In addition to formula or breast milk (and even a little whole milk), your one-year-old is eating three meals and about two snacks per day.
How much food for a 12-month-old baby?
One-year-olds are notorious for not eating a lot, so don’t worry too much if baby’s appetite starts to lessen over the next couple months. You can expect your child to eat about a quarter of a cup of each food group at every meal. Don’t worry too much about having them join the clean plate club. One-year-olds are very good at judging when they’re hungry and when they’re full, so if they stop, they’ve had plenty to eat.
What can baby eat and drink?
Your 12-month-old baby can eat most things you do! So long as it’s nutritious, not a choking hazard and soft enough to gum if they don’t have many teeth yet. If you’re looking for finger foods for a one-year-old baby, head here for some tasty and healthy recipes.
“Can my 12-month-old baby drink regular milk now?,” you ask? Yes! Baby’s digestive system should be ready for cow’s milk, so you’re welcome to introduce it slowly. So how much whole milk for a 12-month-old baby? Start with just a little bit—maybe add a few ounces to their formula or breast milk at each feeding, or offer a small cup at snack time. It might take a little while for baby to get used to the taste. Some babies, however, love the taste of whole milk from the get go. Just remember, you don’t want baby to get all their calories from milk; most pediatricians recommend limiting milk intake to 16 to 20 ounces a day at this point.
One-year-old feeding schedule
Here is a typical feeding schedule for a one-year-old:
How much sleep should a 12-month baby get? One-year-olds still likely sleep about 13 to 14 hours per day. Roughly 10 to 11 of those hours are probably at night. A typical nap schedule for a one-year-old baby consists of two naps that total three hours of daytime sleep. (Sometime before their second birthday, they’ll probably switch to just one nap per day, in the afternoon.)
1-year-old sleep schedule
Here’s a typical one-year-old sleep schedule:
Common 1-year-old sleep questions
Sleep is still a big priority. Your one-year-old is hopefully sleeping through the night, but now there are other bedtime hurdles you face.
How to put a one-year-old to sleep? Put baby to sleep while they’re still awake! Having a baby who falls asleep on their own means they’re more likely to get easily back into a snooze state if they wake up during the night. The most important thing is that you have a soothing bedtime routine that your toddler knows signals sleep-time (a bath, a book, a song, a hug and then turn out the lights).
When to introduce a toddler bed? Know that you shouldn’t be in a rush to get baby into a toddler bed. The crib is still safe for baby as long as they’re not climbing out of it, and many parents keep their toddler in a crib until they begin potty training, around age 2 or 3.
How to sleep-train a one-year-old baby? We commonly hear, “My one-year-old won’t sleep through the night!” Whether your child is experiencing a sleep regression or has never slept the whole night through, we get your desperation. If your one-year-old is not sleeping, you might turn to sleep-training in order to teach them to sleep better. Here are some basics on the practice. But know that sleep-training a one-year-old baby is going to be a little different than it is for a younger baby—here are some toddler sleep-training tips.
What to do if your one-year-old is sleeping a lot? Define a lot. Your growing toddler still needs much more sleep than you do—about 14 hours per 24 hour period. If it’s a lot more than that and you’re concerned baby might be sick, talk to the pediatrician for advice.
Looking for things to do with a one-year-old baby? Go out and play! Toddlers love textures, so have baby go barefoot and crawl or walk around the yard to really feel the grass beneath their hands, knees and feet.
One-year-old schedule example
A 12-month-old baby’s daily schedule might look something like this:
Baby is learning more about the world around them every day, so you might be wondering: “What activities can I do with my 12-month-old—and what should I teach my one-year-old baby?” Here, a couple of ideas:
- Teach baby new words. Use picture books to help baby learn the names of animals and the sounds they make. Point to different body parts, like their hands, face and arms to encourage baby to learn the appropriate words for each. And don’t forget to emphasize the names of friends and family members.
- Encourage independence. A 12-month-old baby will begin wanting to do things independently. Whether they want to take off their own socks or use a spoon to eat yogurt, be flexible and let baby have some freedom. Supervise without intervening and cheer baby on to boost their self-confidence.
- Take baby to their 12-month checkup. If they haven’t gotten blood work to check for anemia and lead levels yet, it will happen at this appointment.
- One-year-old vaccine schedule: At one-year-old, vaccines recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics are the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and chickenpox (varicella) immunizations. Baby’s doctor may also recommend the Hepatitis A vaccine and/or the fourth dose of the Hib and PCV13 vaccines, but those could also be given at the 15-month checkup.
- Schedule baby’s 15-month checkup.
- To help a one-year-old baby’s language development, read to them every day. If you speak a second language, use it around baby.
- Check to make sure baby is in the correct car seat for their height, weight and age. A convertible car seat is good for a 12-month-old baby. So it might be time to retire baby’s infant seat, in order to keep them safer.
- Start weaning baby off the bottle (slowly switch to a straw or open cup) and the pacifier if they take one.
- Even if you’re not having a party, make sure you celebrate baby’s first birthday. It’s been a wild ride and you both deserve some cake.
- If your 12-month-old baby isn’t walking yet, their first steps just may be on the horizon. Have the camera ready to capture this special moment, but remember to be patient. Some babies hold off a few more months before walking.
- A 12-month baby will likely toggle between wanting to be independent and refusing to let you out of sight. This struggle is completely normal.
- One-year-olds have a knack for getting into mischief. Give your little one the freedom and flexibility to explore, but make sure that all play areas are safe. Childproofing remains important.
- Baby is going to start pushing the limits (and your buttons), so it’s important you put your foot down when necessary. So how do you discipline a 12-month-old baby? Start introducing the concept of consequences. It can be difficult, but try to stay calm so you don’t accidentally escalate the situation. At the same time, encourage good behavior with positive reinforcement.
There’s a lot to celebrate as your little one hits their 12-month baby milestones. The past year may seem like a blur, but there’s so much more excitement on the horizon. Take some time to reflect on baby’s journey and prepare for the adventure of raising a toddler.
Medical content was reviewed by Dina DiMaggio, MD, a board-certified pediatrician at Pediatric Associates of NYC and NYU Langone Health in New York City, and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. She is also the coauthor of The Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers.