Baby's First Year - Month 11

Lumpy food for baby
Lumpy food for baby 

Baby can be offered lumpy food at this age, even if baby has been slow to get her first teeth. It is good for baby's jaw and speech development to learn to chew with her gums. A baby that refuses lumpy foods might prefer to try finger foods. If baby is not yet exploring everything she will be very soon, make sure your house has been baby proofed.


Safety checklist
If your baby isn't into everything already because she is not as mobile as some, don't worry, she soon will be. It is never too late to check out your house for safety... it could save a nasty accident.

Have a stair gate or two handy to block off rooms that are potentially dangerous such as the kitchen and bathroom. Then get down on your hands and knees to baby height and look for:

  • Rugs that slip and slide (add a non-slip mat underneath).
  • Power points that are without socket protectors.
  • Cupboards that need safety catches.
  • Sharp corners that can be softened with padding or protectors.
  • Poisonous substances, such as dishwasher detergent, that need to go into a high locked cupboard (check the kitchen and laundry especially).
  • Heaters that need fireguards (wall-mounted heaters are best).
  • Electrical leads that need to be hidden.
  • Low windows and glass doors that should have safety glass.
  • DVD, computer and sound equipment that is within baby's reach.
  • Valuable breakables.
  • Doors that could slam on little fingers and need stops.
  • Pet food (put it behind a safety gate or in a playpen).
  • Alcohol at baby height and not in a locked cupboard.
  • Medications lying about in the bedroom or bathroom.

It is surprising just how many baby hazards there in every house. For a more comprehensive list check out Kidsafe.


Crying in the night
Coping with a crying baby during the day is one thing, but a crying baby in the night is a different matter. It can be very difficult to think and act rationally when you are over-tired yourself.

Once you have eliminated all the possibilities that your baby might be sick, in pain or hungry, then you need to consider the following:

  • Baby is anxious and unhappy about being away from you - this is perfectly normal (see Month 10 separation anxiety).
  • Baby is over-stressed or over-excited.
  • Baby has not learnt to settle himself.

What you can do:

  • Have a bedtime routine and stick to it.
  • Put baby to bed awake and help her to go to sleep. You may need a music CD or some patting and rocking to settle her at first, but try to wean her off the last two.
  • Don't let baby become over-tired during the day. If she needs a nap be sure she has it.
  • Don't play rowdy games in the last couple of hours before bedtime.
  • Ask your child health nurse for some help with settling techniques.

If you are concerned that your baby is not sleeping enough, or if you are having problems getting her to sleep at night, try using a sleep/settle chart which you will find in Sleep in Early Childhood fact sheet from the SA Children, Youth and Women's Health Service.


Lumpy food for baby
By now, even if your baby has no teeth, you need to be offering lumpy food that is mashed or chopped, or finger food. By baby's first birthday he should be eating the same food as the rest of the family with some modifications.

Practising chewing is important for the development of baby's facial muscles and speech, so if your baby is still eating pureed food start to introduce lumpier textures today. You can also offer baby food that he can feed himself. As well as rusks he will enjoy foods that dissolve easily when sucked, such as soft cheese strips, cooked pasta, cooked vegetables such as pumpkin and potato, soft fruit such as banana, peach or apricot slices, or seedless grapes.

Try to feed your baby home-cooked food as much as possible and keep jars and instant meals as a standby. Apart from the fact that you will know what goes into the food you cook (commercial foods are often bulked out with cereal), you will save money.

If you are having difficulty working out what to feed your baby look for a good baby recipe book such as any by Annabel Karmel, Robin Barker or Carol Fallows.


Teach your baby water awareness
Babies love to play with water, but they must be supervised at all times. Here some ways to teach baby to enjoy the water.

  • Bubble bath. Baby will love to try and catch the bubbles you blow at him in the bath - or outside.
  • Mix up a bubble mixture with 1/3 cup baby shampoo, 1 and 1/4 cups water and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Use a bubble wand from a discount shop or make one by shaping a pipe cleaner.
  • On hot days baby will enjoy playing in a play pool in the shade outside. Put the pool inside a beach cabana or under shade cloth if you don't have a handy tree.
  • In the bath, or on a towel with a plastic tub or container of water, give baby a few different household items, some that float and some that don't. For example, a clothes peg, a spoon, a plastic measuring cup, a wooden spoon, a piece of paper, a sponge and a cork. She will have fun finding out what floats and what sinks.
  • When it's rainy and warm, put a rain jacket on yourself and a puddle suit on baby and go outside into the garden or to the park. Let baby explore in the wet. You may find snails, shiny leaves, puddles, mud... baby will love exploring with you.
  • Never, never leave your baby in a bath or in water, even for a second - and never rely on a bath seat. Babies can drown in seconds and they can slip through a bath seat. Nappy buckets, ponds, or any puddle of water can drown a baby.


Another baby?
You may have decided you want your babies to be close in age - or you may be undecided about whether this is the way to go. Here are some things to consider:

  • In favour: all your baby things will still be current for the new baby and you will get your baby days over sooner (if that is what you want); you will be able to get back to your working life sooner; if you are an older mum (i.e. over 35) you will be more likely to conceive again, than if you wait another two or three years
  • Against: your body has not yet had a full year to recover from the last pregnancy; you won't have as much time to help your first child cope with the difficult toddler days; rivalry is more common in children who are close together, particularly if they are the same sex - this usually surfaces when the older child is a preschooler.

Every family is different. You need to decide what is right for you, your partner and your child, not what is right for other people - even grandparents.

Planning a First Birthday?

First birthdays are for parents. You have a one year-old and you have successfully made it through your first year as his parent. Make it a special family day and keep it low key. If you have friends with babies the same age you might like to include them. All you need is a camera and a cake. Baby will enjoy the paper that goes around any presents he receives as much as he will the present!  If you do decide you need help get tips from other parents in the EB party forums.

Find out more:

The Parent Easy Guides from Parenting SA, a government organisation and the fact sheets from the Children, Youth and Women's Health Service are amongst the best and most up to date sources of information for Australian parents. Here you will find PDFs on all these topics and more.

Visit the Essential Baby Forums to meet other parents and share your experiences at each stage.

These guides are written for Essential Baby by child care author, Carol Fallows. Carol established Australian Parents magazine in the early 1980s as Australia's first parenting magazine and managed it for nearly 18 years. She continues to write about and for parents. Her most recent title is Having a Baby. The essential Australian guide to pregnancy and birth. (Transworld/Random House, 2005).

Sign up for the Baby's First Year Monthly Guide email - covering development, sleeping, baby care, immunisation reminders, feeding and more.

This information is not a substitute for professional advice. If you have any concerns about your child's health or wellbeing it is important that you seek help from your doctor or a health professional.

Unless otherwise indicated the pronoun he or she refers to either sex. We have chosen to alternate.