Happy birthday to your little one! Can you believe it’s been a whole year since your little bundle of joy came into your life?

Over the last 12 months, your baby has experienced some crazy developments to become the independent little spirit they are today. Those developments won’t stop anytime soon, either; the next year will be one full of many firsts and other exciting moments for you as a new parent.

Taking care of a 1-year-old baby can be very different from taking care of an infant in their first year of life. Therefore, it’s important to be prepared — to know what to expect from a 1-year-old and what you can do as a parent to make the next year of their life as amazing as their first.

Want to learn more? Check out our helpful tips and information for taking care of a 1-year-old baby here to help you get started.

What to Expect from a 1-Year-Old Baby: Important Milestones

Your baby has come a long way in the past 12 months, and you have an equally exciting number of developments to look forward to in the next 12 months, too. Keep in mind that every baby is different; if your child hasn’t yet hit some of the developments expected in their first year of life, you can know what to expect from your 1-year-old baby soon. You may even be surprised to find that your child skips some developmental stages and moves straight to the next ones! This is completely normal.

However, if you are ever concerned about what to expect from a one-year-old baby, reach out to your pediatrician for medical advice.

In the meantime, here is what to expect from a one-year-old in the 12 months to come:

  • Crawling, cruising and walking: A child’s journey to walking can be gradual or rapid. When your baby reaches their first birthday, they may be at any stage in this development process. However, you can expect your baby to start solidly walking on their own in the year to come. Encourage their development by letting your child move around without your help.
  • Increased separation anxiety: This psychological development can pop up as early as 8 months, but it’s something that may continue throughout your child’s first year. To minimize distress from separation, create a goodbye routine and be patient.
  • Increased independence: Your child is naturally curious during their second year of life, which will lead to them wanting to learn to do things on their own. It may slow down your daily routine, but give your child the chances to try putting on clothes by themselves, feeding themselves and more. If their independence interrupts important things like getting in the car seat or taking a bath, distraction is the key to heading off meltdowns and temper tantrums.
  • First dentist appointment: The idea of taking your 1-year-old to the dentist may induce some anxiety, but it’s crucially important. Baby teeth are vulnerable to tooth decay since the moment they appear. Even if you regularly brush your baby’s teeth, a dentist appointment is important by the time they turn 1 year old.

Above all else, your baby is ready to learn in their second year of life. Make sure to communicate with them frequently to help develop their language and understanding of words, and give them plenty of opportunities to use their brain by reading books and providing interactive toys.

How to Take Care of a 1-Year-Old Baby: Getting Started

There are a lot of developments during these next 12 months of your child’s life, and it can be hard to know what to expect when your child’s feeding and sleeping schedules are changing so rapidly. Every step they take is one step closer to a toddler schedule — which should make you, new parent, happy!

You’ve got a few transitions ahead of you for both your one-year-old’s feeding schedule and your one-year-old’s sleep schedule. Knowing what to expect during these transitions and preparing for this journey will help you set positive habits as your child reaches this new stage in their life.

As always, speak with your pediatrician before making any major changes in your baby’s life. Below, find some helpful information to help you prepare for the changes coming up in the next 12 months.

What to Know About a 1-Year-Old’s Feeding Schedule

At 12 months old, your child should already have a variety of solid foods included in their diet. But, the second year of their life presents the opportunity to increase that amount of solid food as you slowly decrease your child’s dependence on breastmilk or formula.

It is always up to you as a parent to determine when you wish to wean your child off breastmilk or formula during their second year of life. Some parents continue to breastfeed and formula feed long after their child turns 12 months old. If you have questions about your 12-month-old’s feeding schedule, talk to your pediatrician before making any big changes.

During the next 12 months, there may be a few other changes in your baby’s eating routine. Feeding a one-year-old can become a more interactive activity for both of you. If you haven’t already, start weaning your child off of their baby bottle in favor of a sippy cup. That way, they can drink on their own when they are thirsty, just as they will start having the ability to hold a spoon and feed themselves, too.

Many new parents wonder what to feed a 1-year-old. If you are weaning your child off breastmilk and formula, you can start introducing whole milk into your baby’s diet. You can also continue giving them soft, healthy foods like cooked vegetables and fruits, rice cereal and other fun finger foods.

Don’t be worried if your baby’s appetite seems to drop over the next 12 months. They’re trying lots of new food in their feeding routine, and they are very good at identifying when they are full. They will certainly let you know when they are hungry!

What to Know About a 1-Year-Old’s Sleep Schedule

At this point, your 12-month-old’s sleep schedule likely includes sleeping 10 to 11 hours at night, usually with minimal sleep interruptions. In the 12 months to come, your baby will need less sleep during the day. A parent like you should be able to eliminate a baby’s morning nap between 15 and 18 months in exchange for longer afternoon nap. Some days may need more than one nap, and that’s okay. Just make sure not to give your child too much rest during the day, or they’ll never go to sleep at night.

If your child is experiencing 1-year-old sleep regression over the months ahead, there could be several reasons. They may be experiencing a growth spurt or growing more teeth, and growing pains may cause them to wake up unexpectedly. They may be experiencing night terrors (although this is a rare occurrence). Or, they may simply want to practice all of the new skills they’re developing, regardless of the time of day or night!

If your one-year-old won’t sleep, don’t give up. Keep sleep-training your one-year-old with positive sleeping habits and routines, and they should settle back into their normal sleeping schedule in no time.

This concludes the end of our series on how to take care of a baby during their first year of life. If you’re a new parent reading this article, know that we believe in you — you are ready for the challenges ahead. After all, you’ve had a year to practice your parenting skills and welcome your baby into a safe and healthy home environment. If you have more questions about what to expect from your child as they continue to grow, always talk to your pediatrician.

If you decide that you cannot handle the responsibilities of being the best parent for your child, you always have options. Consider contacting an adoption agency today to learn more about placing your child with parents who are prepared to give your son or daughter every opportunity possible.