Baby on the move! When to install those furniture guards.
Exciting developments are underway as your baby moves toward the end of her first year. Most 11-month-olds are on the brink of walking and speaking single words. Some have already taken their first steps (possibly even skipped crawling), but most do so around their first birthday. Often, first words are spoken at or around this time, too, but there’s a lot of variety when children begin to speak and how quickly they add new words. So many of these rapid-fire changes are the happy result of the close bond you’ve built, the good nutrition you’ve supplied, and the nurturing environment you’ve created for your baby.
Here are some of the developmental highlights you can look forward to this month.
As your baby’s brain continues to develop, you’ll find that she’s making great strides in focusing her attention, listening, and observing everything that’s going on around her. She’s discovering that everyday objects have purposes and begins to practice using them, for instance, punching the buttons of a phone or swiping at a tablet screen. She experiments by copying you and through trial and error. She spends many of her waking hours trying to figure out how things work. Playthings offer endless opportunities for her to bang, poke, mouth, and yes, throw.
Your little one has likely progressed from sitting unsupported, to sitting up on her own, to crawling, and now to pulling herself up by holding onto something (such as the edge of the sofa) in order to stand. Better strength and coordination help, but she likely still needs to hold onto you or furniture to stand well. She may even venture a few tentative steps while holding on, a stage of walking known as cruising. She’ll still be likely to drop down to crawl when there’s nothing handy to hang onto, or she may venture a few steps between pieces of furniture. Improved coordination in her fingers means she can feed herself and try new kinds of play, such as exploring the insides of cups or banging blocks.
Your baby is increasingly skilled at using gestures—pointing, nodding, shaking her head—to express her feelings and wants. Be on the lookout (or listen) for her first words. Keep in mind that her words might not sound exactly like the words that you use. It’s considered an early word when your baby links particular sounds with specific people or objects. Using “Ma ma” or “Da da” as your names is a common set of first words for about half of all babies. Your baby might also reliably refer to her bottle or blanket as “ba ba.” This is an important leap forward, as she attaches sounds to objects and tries to say them the way you do. First words are almost always nouns.
Watch closely and you’ll realize that your 11-month-old is likely mimicking and copying you. It’s how she learns and practices her social skills. She especially loves to observe and copy the constantly changing behaviors and sounds of other children. As social as an 11-month-old can be with loved ones, unfamiliar people may cause distress. At the playground, for example, the sudden appearance of several new kids might set off tears and spark her to crawl away. Her actions are her way of solving a problem: “I don’t know these people; I want my Mommy.” Her solution—move away and call out for you—shows just how well her brain and body are working together.