By Colleen Hurley, RD, Certified Kid’s Nutrition Specialist
The fun continues with this exciting stage of baby development. As your baby is heading towards her first birthday, she is learning and accomplishing many new things. By now, she may have uttered her first word or will any day now. Now is the time to step up child safety and baby proof the house because this baby is sure to be on the move.
A social life is becoming a bigger part of his world during these 3 months. With a further understanding of his relationship with his parent’s, he will know you are there even when he can’t see you and knows you will be back when you leave. Playing peek-a-boo is particularly enjoyable because he loves to interact with you. When you make him laugh, he will smile and try to imitate what you do, even clapping his hands or waving goodbye. It is not just you he understands; he can now recognize himself in the mirror and is realizing he is his own person, expressing his likes and dislikes. He can even understand the word “no”, except he will probably spend the next year or two making sure you know what “no” means. With that increased parental bond, however, he may cry and try to cling you to you when you leave and may be wary of strangers.
Moving and Grooving
One of the biggest milestones of this stage of baby development is the sharpening of motor skills. Pulling herself up, crawling, maybe even taking a few steps will all be new feats for her. By now, she can probably sit up by herself for quite a while enjoying new objects and the sounds they make. This newfound mobility means its time to baby proof your house by putting all potentially dangerous objects, medications, or poisons out of her arm’s reach. The need to touch everything she sees is likely; and you can bet she’s going to put everything right into her mouth. Also, be on the lookout for any toys or household objects that present a choking hazard. Fine motor skills are also developing quickly as she has a better ability to grasp objects by picking them up and dropping them down.
Speaking of Speaking
All the gibberish and babbles of the past few months may begin to turn into a few words like “mama” or “dada”, better yet he even understands what they mean. You may even notice him imitating the inflection in your voice. An exciting development closer to 1 year of age is that he can respond to his own name. Music is another opportunity for fun and he may wiggle and dance to music or bop his head. Pointing to objects, shaking his head yes or no are additional cues to his language development. If you ask a question, say “where’s mommy?”; he may be able to point to you in response.
How You Can Help
You can help your child develop with lots of interaction. She will love looking at books and being read to; reading the same books often will develop her language skills. Be sure to point things out and say their name. You may feel like you are talking to yourself but your baby is soaking everything in. If you say, “let’s go the park”, she can now develop a mental picture of what the park looks like. Keep in mind that babies reach milestones at their own pace, so be sure to discuss any concerns with your physician and keep up on those regular check ups. .