12 Months babyPlease keep in mind that all babies are unique. Whether your baby reaches milestones early or late, he has his own developmental path to follow. The dividing lines between these months are very fuzzy. If you have any concerns or questions about your babyís development, please check with his health care provider.

The First Birthday Party

Congratulations! Your baby is celebrating his first birthday this month! And you have survived your first year of parenting. You may feel that a gala is in order to mark this special occasion.

Letís be honest -- the first party is just as much (if not more) of a celebration for parents than it is for baby. Try to remember that though he is a whopping year old, he is still a baby.

If he is on the sensitive side, a big celebration with streamers, balloons, cake, and many happy adult faces beaming at him may be all he needs to send him over the edge into tears and clinginess. By all means, we do want you to celebrate -- just be sure you plan with baby in mind. Here are some tips to help make a successful celebration for baby and you:

Try to keep the number of guests to a manageable level. The more bodies and voices, the more stress for you and baby. If weather permits, host the party outside. Babies love being outside without four walls to constrain them.

Try to resist opening gifts in front of all the other children. Babies and toddlers have no impulse control. These young guests have not developed the etiquette to just "oooh" and "aaah" from their seats. If they see a present that they must handle, there will be an altercation for sure. If you must hire a clown, musician or some sort of entertainment, respect babyís reaction. If he is scared, donít expect him to overcome this fear because it is his party. Hold and talk to him about the performer and keep him at a safe distance.

Give him a taste of his cake. Even you moms and dads who are against offering sweets to baby can let down your guard for this occasion. He is going to taste sugar as some point; why not let his first birthday mark this event? Some bakeries make very small cupcakes which are easy for small hands to hold. Keep him to his nap schedule. Try to plan the party so that he can have his nap at the usual time. While this may be impossible, it is a good way to avoid the tears that so often crash his party.

You need to have a good time too. As we mentioned, this is also a celebration for you. Spending the whole time doing food prep or cleaning is not our idea of a party. Plan easy food -- maybe even splurge by ordering prepared food -- so you can enjoy yourself with your family and baby. Take photos or video to record this day. This is a keeper for the memory books. Growing Independence

As your child is learning to do more things for himself, you may notice a change in his attitude -- and your own. He is no longer the small baby that longed to be held in your arms for an indeterminate amount of time. He is now on the move and only has time for cuddles when it is on his terms.

He is pushing himself to do even more things with his body and at times becomes impatient if you do it for him. But he also still wants 100 percent of your attention. You may not be rushing to him every time he calls out. Naturally, you feel that the time has come for him to learn that you have things to do as well, and sometimes heíll have to wait. Patience is one of lifeís hardest lessons.

Limit Setting

As we have been emphasizing, part of your child's job is to explore and discover new things in his world. Sometimes, this can lead to dangerous situations and get him into trouble. Consistency in setting limits is a crucial part of parenting.

Setting limits ultimately keeps him safe; he must learn that within the outside world there are hazards that he must learn to avoid. Also, he will learn the skills to interact considerately and respectfully with others. In short, he canít always get his way.

Instead of telling him what he cannot do in a situation, try to steer him to an alternative -- something that is safer and acceptable for him to explore. Or, give him a few choices of activities so he can feel more in control of his actions.

Transitional Objects

Many of us fondly remember our special "lovies," the items we clung to when we were young to help us through difficult situations. These lovies can take the form of a blanket, doll, stuffed animal, or maybe something else -- as long as it holds special meaning to your child.

Experts use the term "transitional object" to refer to lovies because they support children going through transitions, such as having a new babysitter or going to a new childcare setting. They remind the child of safety, security and love that is felt at home and within the arms of a loving parent.

Do you have a Linus in your family?

This is probably not the best time to start separating your child from his transitional object, as many children are peaking in separation and stranger anxiety about now. But, you may be tired of watching your child drag his blanket across the room, the yard -- around town. There are strategies that parents have used to prevent this from happening.

One of the most successful tactics includes setting specific times for when the special object is to be used such as bedtime, when saying goodbye to mommy and daddy, if sad, after taking a tumble, etc. Other times during the day, keep the blanket in a specific spot so your child can access it if needed. Some parents have made a small swatch of the blanket for their kids to hold and carry with them but without dragging. Or, you may not care and not have a problem with baby dragging the blanket. Whatever you decide, be consistent.

One Nap

Around twelve months (or more likely in the next few months), youíll notice baby starting to change his nap schedule. He is transitioning to one long nap per day. He may start to push the morning nap later, and then refuse to go down for a second one in the afternoon. Or, he may settle down for the morning nap at the usual time but sleep for longer.

Some babies adapt in one day to the new nap routine and others take months. You may have to step in and keep him up later in the morning so that he can settle down for a good long nap in the afternoon. This may provide some fussiness in the late morning since he is tired.

Also, children can develop a routine based on when others are napping at childcare. Talk to your childcare provider about his changing nap routine. Pretty soon, youíll be able to put your feet up for a good two hours in the afternoon at a predicable time -- everyday.

Baby Growth from 1-30 months at various ages and stages
1st month

6th month 11th month 22nd-24th month
2nd month

7th month 12th month 25th-27th month
3rd month

8th month 13th-15th month 28th-30th month
4th month

9th month 16th-18th month  
5th month 10th month 19th-21st month  

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