Your Growing Baby: 6 Months to One Year

by Dr. Laura Markham examining a piece of grass

Baby's Developmental Tasks

  • Rapid physical and intellect development
  • Development of speech
  • Developmental of ability to calm emotions
  • Development of capacity for intimacy

The Challenge

Now that you don't have a brand new baby, you expect yourself to pull your life together and get a grip. NOT likely.

Priorities
Setting up work schedules so that you maximize parental time with Baby, and minimize non-parental care.

Parents' Gameplan

  1. Nurse as long as you can, certainly for at least a year. The health and intelligence effects are greater the longer the baby nurses. Not to mention that it lowers the mom's risk of cancer later in life.

  2. Get some sleep. By 12 months, many pediatricians recommend no more night nursings, because you risk cavities. It can be a challenge to teach your baby to go back to sleep without nursing. Check out The No-Cry Sleep Solution, one of the most helpful books ever written on helping you and your child get some sleep!

  3. Babyproof and redirect. As your infant becomes a baby and starts exploring, remember that saying No all the time will cause NO to lose its power. Instead, Babyproof, Think two steps ahead, and Redirect!

  4. Minimize spoon feeding. The less time you feed your baby with a spoon, the better. You want to avoid being in the position of pushing a spoon into your kid's mouth, and all the control and power issues around food that arise from this.

    How? Don't start solids till six months, as recommended by most pediatricians to avoid allergies. By this age, most babies love grabbing very soft food like cooked peas, carrots and chunks of sweet potato. In the beginning you may need to feed your baby spoonfuls of cereal, but as soon as she starts grabbing the spoon, it's better to let her feed herself. It's messy, but not as messy as an eating disorder at the age of fifteen.

  5. Enjoy your baby. Enjoy your partner. Enjoy yourself. Your child will be in school before your know it, and all you'll have left of this precious time will be the memories you're building right now. The only thing you really have is Now. Make the most of it.

As both a mom and a Clinical Psychologist with a Ph.D. from Columbia University, Dr. Laura Markham offers a unique perspective on raising kids. Her relationship-based parenting model has helped thousands of families across the U.S. and Canada find compassionate, common-sense solutions to everything from separation anxiety and sleep problems to sass talk and cell phones. Dr. Markham is the founding editor of www.YourParentingSolutions.com and www.AhaParenting.com, where she regularly takes on a wide range of challenging questions from parents who struggle with "the toughest, most rewarding job on earth."

On Pregnancy.org, Dr. Markham fields questions from our community members on her Expert Forum and hosts a regular Online Chat on Wednesdays. Click here to check out her Parenting Tips.

Dr. Markham is the author of the Q&A e-book series, Ask Dr. Markham, with editions for all ages from birth to teens, and of the soon-to-be-released, The Secret Life of Happy Moms, which lays out her relationship-based approach to raising kids who turn out great. Dr. Markham lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, 13 year-old daughter, and 17 year-old son.

Copyright © Laura Markham. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.