I Got This, Mom MONTH 11 WEEK 1

Approved by the What’s Up Moms Medical Advisory Board

Baby is tumbling into toddlerhood. Literally.

Your little cruiser is building confidence in her physical prowess and discovering all sorts of uses for those churning little legs of hers. Keep your eyes peeled ‘cause one of these days she’s going to take a few tentative — or not so tentative — steps by herself. No points for style here; the thuds, crashes, stumbling and tumbling all come with the territory. Try not to rush over to scoop her up unless she’s really in trouble. A little frustration is OK. You want to help, but she’ll work it out.

Similarly, give baby a little space when it comes to dressing and undressing, eating, and picking up toys. Will each activity take a little longer? You betcha. But she wants to do more, and that’s good! Try to resist the urge to be on top of her all the time. This includes mealtime, where you should always offer but never force or cajole.

Baby’s babble is still mostly unintelligible (save for maybe versions of ‘mama’ or ‘dada’ – hopefully ‘mama’ first, riiight?) but engage in back and forth with her. Music is a great way to work on language – listen together, sing together, tell stories in song. And remember: baby understands more than you may realize. She can start to follow simple directions (Give me the sippy cup) and may be able to point in response to your questions (Where’s Daddy?).

One of baby’s favorite extracurricular activities: Filling containers with objects, then dumping ‘em out. Rinse and repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And, if there was any question at all, no, hide and seek doesn’t ever get old. For baby, that is. Enjoy!

If she hasn’t already swapped out her bottles for sippy cups, now’s a good time to start the transition. Same goes for weaning from the pacifier, since it can eventually cause dental problems, and it’s easier to break the habit now than with a stubborn two-year-old. If you want to do it gradually, try limiting paci use to a certain time of day, like crib time.

On deck this month: schedule baby’s one-year check-up, where she’ll get the first MMR series vaccine and have blood drawn to check for lead and anemia levels. At 12 months you can introduce minimal crib bedding (like a simple blanket), and on the food front, you can (finally!) introduce whole cow’s milk and honey. Keep your eye out for any signs of allergies, but overall, baby’s diet is starting to look a lot more like yours now.

Also on deck this month: making sure baby’s first word is mama. Get on it.