Baby Development Month by Month: Month 12

Happy first birthday! Your baby’s 12th month brings lots more activity, exploration and excitement. He’s communicating and interacting more than ever.

Growing and developing

These days your baby loves moving around. If he’s not already walking, he’ll definitely be more mobile and very interested in vigorous activities.

His interaction skills are improving all the time – you’ll see lots more back-and-forth and response to your questions and comments. He might not be talking yet, but he’ll be able to express himself and show that he understands what you mean.

He’s confident picking up and playing with small objects now, and may turn his attention to more energetic activities which help strengthen his muscles. Lots of crashing, banging and knocking over is likely during this month.


He’ll probably still be sleeping a lot, with an unbroken night sleep of 11 to 12 hours, plus 2 naps during the day, lasting up to 1 hour each. Stick to the familiar bedtime and naptime routines to keep him feeling relaxed and secure.


Meal time is often when your baby’s independence comes to the fore, as eating is one of the few areas of life he can control.

If he’s become a fussy eater, don’t worry. Keep food available so he can have little portions during the day, and trust that he will eat when he gets hungry.

Many parents choose to switch their baby to cow’s milk at 12 months, as their digestive system can now manage it.

Caring for your 12-month-old

Your home needs to be thoroughly baby-proof now. If you have stairs, use stair gates at the top and bottom, and make sure the bars of his cot are high enough that he can’t climb up and risk a fall.

Tidy away any tempting objects and dangling cords and strings.

If he’s teething, keep an eye out for any redness or irritation, and offer him a cool teething ring to help soothe his gums.

Playing with your baby

He may have started to notice your activities and want to lend a hand with laundry or clearing away in the kitchen. Include him in your work with a small fun task like matching coloured socks together or drying plastic dishes with a tea-towel.

Give him safe opportunities to enjoy energetic play – building and knocking down towers of blocks, or exploring a tunnel of sofa cushions or cardboard boxes.

You this month

Your baby is nearing his first birthday – give yourself a huge pat on the back! Treat yourself to a special meal or outing to reward yourself for all your hard work.

Did you know..?

Toddlers can get frustrated when their speech develops slower than their need to communicate. Learning a little bit of baby sign language can help you understand each other better.

How dads can help
Keep an eye out for that boisterous baby around the house and put dangerous things high up out of reach. Take the lead in energetic play activities while your partner has a well-earned rest.

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