12 Month Old Baby: Developmental Milestones

It is celebration time now as your infant steps into his first birthday. Let us take a quick review of what your little one has achieved till now.

Physical Development

Growth Details Boys Girls
How much should a 12-month-old weigh 17.19 to 26.01 pounds [1] 15.65 to 24.91 pounds [2]
What should the height of a 12-month-old be 28.07 to 31.57 inches [1] 27.24 to 31.06 inches [2]
How much should their head size be 17.16 to 19.09 inches [1] 16.65 to 18.70 inches [2]
What is the respiratory rate of a 12-month old [3] 20 to 30 breaths per minute 20 to 30 breaths per minute
What is the heart rate of a 12-month-old [3] 70 to 110 beats per minute 70 to 110 beats per minute

What should your 12-month-old be doing

Motor Development

Your baby can now sit unassisted, pull himself to a standing posture and walk with support [4]. A few might also start to walk unsteadily on their tiptoes [5, 8].

A one-year-old will show flexible and dexterous finger movements, being able to grasp small objects using the tip of his thumb and index finger [5, 6]. Some may begin feeding on their own with the help of a spoon or their fingers [7].

Communication skills

Apart from “ma-ma” and “da-da”, he may be uttering certain exclamatory words such as “ah” and “uh-oh” [4, 7, 8] to express his feelings. Getting skilled at imitation, your baby tries copying what you just said by making similar sounds [8].

Due to better coordination between his ears and brain [12], your child begins understanding simple questions and instructions such as “Where is your head?” and “Say bye-bye to nanny”. He may shake his head both ways to indicate a “no”, for expressing his unwillingness to do something [7].

Cognitive Development

Your baby is keen on exploring things in varied ways by knocking, pushing, shaking, throwing and banging at objects within his reach [4]. His attention span may increase for two to five minutes [7] for doing activities that does not need too much physical exertion, like turning pages of a book. Beginning to learn the correct usage of certain things, he may bring the phone to his ears pretending to start a conversation, or try combing his hair using a hairbrush [8]. To satisfy his curiosity of understanding the mechanism of different things, he may indulge in pushing buttons on your phone or try opening closets and drawers [9].

Behavioral and Emotional Development

Having a better understanding of object permanence, they get more anxious about being separated from their parents, displaying a clingy behavior.  On the other hand, the company of unfamiliar people makes them anxious [8, 9]. However, as they start recognizing and remembering known faces, they smile the moment they see their caregiver or anyone who they regularly see [9,10].

Sensory Development

They have a well-developed eyesight by now with adequate color and depth perception. Getting farsighted, they begin recognizing familiar faces at a distance, such as from a window [11].

What should be the feeding schedule of a 1-year-old

What does your baby eat

With most of them getting their teeth, babies can eat a variety of solid foods. Introduce new breakfast and lunch ideas to make mealtime interesting for picky eaters. Fried, poached, boiled or scrambled eggs can be opted for [30]. If you have not yet introduced meat to your baby’s diet try adding it in its pureed form to his favorite vegetables, helping him to get used to its taste [31]. Plain, unsweetened yogurt is a healthy choice [32].

How much milk should your baby drink

As your baby has transitioned into a toddler, try reducing the frequency of nursing and introduce him to weaning. You can now give him cow milk or whole milk. As solid food forms a major part of his diet, the milk intake should not be more than 450ml to 600ml in a day [33, 34].

What is the sleep schedule of a 1-year-old

Babies will sleep for 12 to 14 hours, with one or two naps during the daytime. Most of them will only take the afternoon nap, refusing to sleep in the morning [8, 35].

When to call a doctor

  • Having trouble in feeding and not eating solid food, accompanied by other symptoms such as loss of weight, reduced appetite, gagging, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain [13].
  • Passing hard, dry stool, discomfort or pain during bowel movements, lessened appetite, hard stomach, and blood in stool (constipation) [14, 15].
  • Acne or small, reddish bumps or pimples not clearing up in three months [16].
  • Having a chesty cough for more than five days along with brown, yellow and green mucus as well as fever above 103°F, and breathing difficulty [17].
  • Pulling his ears and showing symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, lessened appetite, trouble in sleeping as well as a yellowish fluid draining from his ear (possible symptoms of ear infection) [19].
  • Red or bloodshot eyes being filled with tears or discharge along with swollen eyelids (might be due to pink eye or conjunctivitis) [20].
  • Having swollen and red, itchy rashes all over the body accompanied by vomiting, fever and pain in the abdomen, (indicating eczema and hives) [21, 22].
  • Diarrhea persisting for more than a day or accompanied by intense vomiting, reduced urination, dry mouth, blood stool [18].
  • Showing symptoms of stomach flu like diarrhea or blood in stool, vomiting for more than two days, abdominal pain, and fever above 103°F [23].
  • Baby’s skin turning yellow coupled with reduced appetite, fussiness and irritability (jaundice symptoms) [24].
  • Bad breath lasting for a long time as it might be because of dental problems, sinusitis, tonsillitis, seasonal allergies, and gastroesophageal reflux [25].
  • Fever persisting for greater than five days along with frequent urination may indicate a urinary tract infection [28] (parents should keep a count of the wet diapers).
  • Sweating excessively especially while eating may be a sign of congenital heart ailment, sleep apnea or some infection [29].

What immunizations should a 1-year-old get

Name of the vaccine What is it given for
Hepatitis A (HAV) (two shots given at an interval of six months) [26] Protecting against Hepatitis A that may cause a liver disease.
Hib Fight against Haemophilus influenza Type B that might cause meningitis, epiglottitis and pneumonia [27].
MMR (first shot between 12 and 15 months) Protects against mumps, measles and rubella (German measles) [27]
Varicella Helps the body fight against chicken pox [27].
PCV Protecting from pneumococcal diseases that can result in pneumonia, ear infections and meningitis [27].

Some common symptoms of the above vaccinations include fever, swelling, redness and warm sensation in the area of the vaccine, lessened sleep and fatigue.

Tips for baby care

  • While bathing your baby in a tub do not leave him unattended. Arrange for bath time games like rubber ducks, waterproof books and washcloth puppets [36].
  • As your baby has begun walking, you can opt for loose and comfortable shoes for him [8].
  • Give him toys like stacking cubes and rings as these can help to increase his concentration power and cognitive skills.


  1. http://www.babycenter.in/a1052194/baby-boys-growth-chart-0-to-12-months
  2. http://www.babycenter.in/a1052197/baby-girls-growth-chart-0-to-12-months
  3. http://www.emedicinehealth.com/pediatric_vital_signs/article_em.htm
  4. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/milestones-1yr.html
  5. http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a716/your-12-month-olds-development
  6. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002005.htm
  7. http://www.babycenter.com/0_your-12-month-olds-development-week-1_1500252.bc
  8. http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/baby-development-1-year-old
  9. http://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/ue5755
  10. http://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/development/social/social-development-milestones-ages-1-to-4/
  11. http://www.parents.com/baby/development/physical/understanding-your-babys-developing-vision/
  12. http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_newborn/senses/sense12yr.html#
  13. http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/why-wont-baby-eat
  14. http://www.babycenter.com/0_constipation-in-babies_79.bc
  15. http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a79/constipation
  16. http://www.babycenter.com/0_baby-acne_72.bc
  17. http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a1050293/coughs
  18. http://www.babycenter.com/0_diarrhea-in-babies_82.bc
  19. http://www.babycenter.com/0_ear-infections-in-babies_83.bc
  20. http://www.parents.com/baby/health/eyes/common-eye-conditions-treatments/
  21. http://www.babycenter.com/0_hives-in-babies_10886.bc?showAll=true
  22. http://www.babycenter.com/0_eczema-in-babies_10872.bc
  23. http://www.babycenter.com/0_stomach-flu-gastroenteritis_1190017.bc?showAll=true
  24. http://www.babycenter.com/0_jaundice_89.bc?showAll=true
  25. http://www.babycenter.com/0_bad-breath_1502738.bc
  26. http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_newborn/medical_care/immunization_chart.html#
  27. http://www.babycenter.com/shots
  28. http://www.thebump.com/a/uti-baby
  29. http://www.babycenter.com/0_baby-sleep-habits-snorting-sweating-head-banging-and-more_1467374.bc?showAll=true
  30. http://www.babycentre.co.uk/x1042723/is-it-safe-to-give-my-baby-eggs-to-eat
  31. http://www.babycenter.com/408_when-can-my-baby-eat-meat_1368509.bc
  32. http://www.babycenter.com/408_when-can-my-baby-eat-yogurt_1368506.bc
  33. http://www.babycenter.com/0_cows-milk-when-and-how-to-introduce-it_1334703.bc
  34. http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_newborn/formulafeed/formulafeed_solids.html#
  35. http://kidshealth.org/parent/growth/sleep/sleep12yr.html
  36. http://www.whattoexpect.com/toddler/grooming/toddler-tub-time-how-tos.aspx [/ref]