Your eleven-month-old baby

by Julie Snyder

big toothy smileYour eleven-month-old is interested in everything!

Increased mobility makes exploration easier. Recognizing more pictures in books makes reading more interesting.

Better memory makes games more fun, especially pointing games.

Your not as wee one likes showing off skills and may demonstrate her mastery of a skill by helping you learn how to eat or even drink from sippy cup. We think it's pretty darn cute, too.

Social and emotional development

Becoming independent and saying "no" is a trademark of 11-month-olds. They spend lots of time shaking their heads "no" -- even when they mean "yes!"

"Would you like a bit of Mommy's peach?"


Mouth is open and he's leaning toward you anticipating your sharing the treat. It's frustrating at times; funny at times, but a definite sign that he is developing right on track.

baby testing limitsWhile he knows he's not supposed to, he feels secure enough that he's sometimes able to risk your disapproval.

To get your attention, your baby might do these kinds of things:

• Turn the knobs of the TV
• Throw food on the floor
• Play with the telephone
• Pull the dog's fur
• Bite while he's nursing

Your baby is testing his limits -- and yours. What's a good response? Give a gesture or reprimand in a calm voice. Empathize and redirect. Don't yell or over-react. Instead, try to anticipate your baby's behavior. Is he bored? Does he need a snuggle? Give him positive attention and he'll be less likely to tease with a disapproved action.

He's increasingly friendly with people he knows, showering them with hugs, sloppy kisses and even much-loved toys. He's delighted to show off his skills to this select group.

Language development

He often communicates with gestures and words instead of cries. Although real words may be sprinkled in, he talks gibberish with conversational tone of voice. He might speak first words this month, but often one word is supposed to mean a complete concept.

Expressing and understanding his wants can be frustrating for you both. If you've been signing with your baby, he is apt to surprise you by signing back. He enjoys books and you naming pictures. He's happy to add the sounds by barking when sees dog, meowing when sees cat.

Waiting in line at the store is another good opportunity for naming things. Point to the items in your cart and name them. See if he will echo names back.

Cognitive development

baby using gesturesShe's better at following simple directions. She understands about 25 percent of verbs and nouns used, so to decode your requests, she relies on body language, gesture and tone of your voice as well as the words.

How exciting is it that she creates and uses tools! She might push a chair in front of herself to help her balance or to a counter to reach the fruit bowl. She'll use one toy to drag another towards her.

Even though you've offered a variety of toys, she tends to gravitate towards gender specific toys -- dolls and sit-down activities. Little boys this age tend to appreciate cars, trucks and action toys.

Large motor skills

walking with helpIt's is all about movement! She loves motion games like airplane and bouncing games like "gallop-a-trot."

Favorite toys might be push toys and riding toys.

Your little one is moving with ease. She's cruising around the furniture, stands alone a few seconds and might be taking a few tentative steps all by herself.

She can get from standing to sitting, squat to pick up a toy and get back to standing.

Speaking of back, how is yours holding up with the many requests from your little one to help her walk?

Fine motor skills

He's exploring objects before picking them up. That certainly makes nesting toys behave better! Among signs that his pincer grasp is improving are:

• He feeds himself much more proficiently.
• He can leverage things out of tight spots
• He can put things in small holes
• He can vacuum up bits of string and small crumbs with the speed of a cheetah

He can build his own tower of two to three blocks and then knock them down. However, he still likes you to stack and him to demolish! His coordination has improved and he now can put simple shapes in the right holes of a shape sorter.

Note: These milestones may first appear this month. It's normal for them to happen later. Worried your little one isn't developing normally? Check out these developmental red flags.

The big picture

By now you've probably discovered your baby's temperament. Although official names exist, moms usually prefer to use terms like "slow-to-warm-up," "adaptable" and "feisty" to describe their little ones. Work with your baby and respect his unique personality. Let him take the lead; then support his growth, confidence and abilities.

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