Your baby learns about most things from you, especially about love. Babies, just as grown-ups, need love and attention.
Rewarding your baby with a smile, hug, or kiss is better than rewarding with a new toy. Your baby will know that she is loved, and that is very important for her growth. With your support, she will feel that she can tackle anything.
Some parents think they must set special times aside to play with or to teach their baby new things. That’s a good idea. But sometimes you don’t have big blocks of unhurried time.
Children are happy with lots of little bits of your time and attention. They learn to amuse themselves with your help. There are times when you are waiting for an appointment or standing in line. Below are some ideas to play with your child in those little bits of time.
It takes less than 2 minutes to:
- Give your child a hug and a kiss
- Tweak your baby’s toes
- Play pat-a-cake or peek–a-boo
- Show your baby his nose or chin, or your nose
- Admire your baby’s shoes
- Gently tickle your baby’s tummy at bath time
- Lift your baby up over your head
- Point to an interesting leaf or pretty flower and make sure your baby sees it
- Show your baby the pictures in a book
- Give your baby a big smile
It may seem as if you are always telling baby what NOT to do. No wonder! An 11-month-old loves her independence as she moves around and touches more things. So, discipline becomes part of your daily life. Do everything you can to make it easy for your baby to do the right thing.
Be realistic in your expectations. Babies this age are into everything. They poke, dump, lick, squeeze, toss, and climb. They are picky about food, and they splash the milk in their cereal. Think about how your child is learning and growing. When your child sees something bright or interesting, she learns by feeling and tasting it. “Look, but don’t touch” doesn’t mean much at this age.
Make your expectations clear. Let your baby know when you are unhappy with her behavior. Be sure to emphasize what behavior you are unhappy with. For example say, “Biting hurts! I can’t let you bite me.”
Avoid situations where you must constantly correct your child. At this age, it is easier to put your baby in situations where she can do something that is all right for her to do, rather than to “make her mind.” If you are in a new place, be prepared that your baby will want to explore. You will need to follow her around. It is not realistic for your baby to sit still at this age.
Discipline is helping your child develop the habits of behaving. The habits of behaving well will develop over the years. They will come as your baby has a longer attention span and is able to explore more carefully.
Love and affection are part of effective discipline. The relationship between you and your child develops from everything you do for and with your child. Show your child how much you love her by playing with her and telling her that you love her. As your child grows in her love and trust for you, she will want to behave in a way that will please you.
Water play in the bathtub and pool or at the beach can be a lot of fun for your baby. But water can be dangerous. Here are some tips to make water time safe and fun:
Doctors now advise against swimming lessons for infants and toddlers. Their bodies are not yet good at fighting some diseases that are easily passed in water, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Don’t let your baby swallow lots of water at the pool or beach; it could make her sick.
Floating toys are fun, but they don’t substitute for a watchful parent and they don’t prevent drowning.
NEVER leave a young child alone near water, not even for a minute. Teach your child to wait for an adult before getting into water.
If you have or use a pool, teach proper poolside behavior. Don’t allow running or rough play around the pool. Never leave a pool halfway covered. A child could get trapped under the cover.
To prevent sunburn, use a waterproof sunscreen with SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15. A higher SPF of 30 is best for those with fair or sensitive skin. Put more on at least every two hours or sooner if water washes the sunscreen off. However, it’s not a good idea to keep your baby in the sun for that long. Use an umbrella or tent when you’re outside for the day.
Babies have drowned in buckets and open toilet bowls because their heavy heads became trapped when they fell in. It’s possible for a baby to drown in less than 2 inches of water.
Learn infant CPR so you are prepared in case of an accident. Ask your doctor, clinic, or local American Red Cross about CPR classes.
Fat Does Not Equal Healthy
If you have a very active baby, you may notice that your baby isn’t gaining weight as fast as he did in the past 10 months. That’s because your baby is more active and is using more calories. Even though your baby is not gaining as much weight as before, he is still healthy.
A fat baby is not a healthy baby. At this age, babies should be developing muscle tissue, not fat.
Expect your baby to play at mealtime. Splashing in the cereal and dropping food on the floor is all a part of learning. Usually this starts to happen when your baby has lost interest in eating. If you don’t want this to continue, take the food away from your baby and let him play with something else.
Your Baby Is In Charge of How Much He Eats
Worrying about what your baby eats, or does not eat will only make both of you nervous. Don’t expect your baby to clean his plate or to eat “just one more mouthful.” Trust him to be the best judge of how much to eat.
As your baby moves around to explore his world, he will become more independent. He may be eager to try out this new independence by insisting on feeding himself. Or he may be a little scared of his new abilities and may cling to you at mealtimes. He may even refuse to hold his cup or spoon and demand to be fed.
Whether your baby clings to you or is a self-feeder, try to be calm and patient. It will pay off in fewer feeding problems now and in the future.
Who Can You Talk to About Your Baby?
It helps to have people around who you can talk to and learn from. If you have a child care provider, consider talking with her. Child care providers have experience with lots of children and families. Is there a group for new parents in your area? Try to get to their meetings. It’s a great time to compare notes.