12-Month-Old Baby: Feeding, Sleep, and Milestones by Month

Congratulations! You’ve made it to your baby’s first year! Take some time to marvel at all they’ve accomplished in the past year and learn about all they’ll achieve in the future. This article will walk you through the new milestones your 12-month-old baby will achieve and give you insight into how their feeding schedule and sleeping habits might change, their average weight, activities you can do together, and more.

During the last few months, your baby has become quite the mover, and this month will be no different. They will continue to expand their mobility and grow in their independence. Some new developmental milestones to watch your 12-month-old reach include:1

  • Playing games, such as peek-a-boo and patty cake, with caregivers
  • Understanding the word “no” and hesitating when told “no”
  • Continuing to babble, with some solid words such as “mama,” “dada,” or “baba” (for bottle)
  • Pulling up to stand
  • Walking around while holding onto furniture (aka cruising)
  • Putting toys into and pulling them out of containers
  • Looking for toys you’ve hidden
  • Feeding themselves finger foods
  • Drinking from a cup without a lid (with some assistance)

Now that your baby is 12 months old, they can transition from breast milk or formula to whole cow’s milk. If they’re getting breastmilk, you can continue as long as there’s a supply and your baby continues to want breastmilk. They can also start transitioning from a bottle to a sippy cup. To make the transition smoother, offer cow’s milk, breastmilk, or water in a sippy cup at mealtimes instead of a bottle, and slowly decrease the number of bottles offered. Often, the last bottles dropped will be the ones before nap/bedtime.2

To ensure your baby gets enough solid foods, limit their cow’s milk intake to 16-24 ounces daily.2 Some other foods to avoid include sugar-sweetened or diet drinks, high-sodium foods, and unpasteurized dairy or juice. Also, avoid hot dogs, raw hard vegetables, hard cheeses, popcorn, nuts, and grapes, as these are choking hazards.2 If you plan on giving your baby juice, limit it to 4 ounces daily and ensure it’s 100% fruit juice.1

Juice isn’t a necessity for kids; think of it more as a treat! The reason to limit juice is because the sugar isn’t typically needed for their bodies and can be detrimental to their teeth and oral health.11 However, if your child is sick and having trouble feeling well enough to eat/drink, juice or other sugar-containing liquids (such as an oral rehydration solution or ORS) is appropriate to keep them hydrated and keep their blood sugars normal.12

It can be daunting to think of meals for your 12-month-old, so here’s a sample menu to help give you some ideas for their feeding schedule:3

  • ½ cup iron-fortified infant cereal
  • ½ cup whole milk, breastmilk, or water
  • ½ banana or 2-3 pieces of fruit cut up into small pieces
  • ½ cup of whole milk, breastmilk, or water
  • 1 piece of bread with cream cheese or peanut butter
  • ½ cup of yogurt
  • ½ cup of cooked green vegetables
  • ½ cup whole milk, breastmilk, or water
  • 2-3 oz of protein such as chicken, turkey, or eggs
  • 1-2 ounces of cheese
  • 2-3 pieces of fruit
  • ½ cup of whole milk, breastmilk, or water
  • 2-3 oz of protein like chicken, turkey, beef, beans or eggs
  • ½ cup cooked yellow or orange vegetable
  • ½ cup of grains or starches like rice, pasta, or potatoes
  • ½ cup of whole milk, breastmilk, or water

Also, at this age, many babies still have a cup of whole milk or breastmilk before bed.

A graphic from Baby Chick outlines a 12-month-old baby sleep schedule. It specifies 1-2 daily naps, totaling 3-4 hours of daytime sleep. Nap 1 is 2.5-3 hours after waking, Nap 2 is 3-3.5 hours after Nap 1, and bedtime is 3.5-4 hours after Nap 2—a key

Your 12-month-old’s sleep schedule will look pretty similar to the previous months. They will need 11-14 hours of sleep per day, which includes one to two daytime naps.4 Some 12-month-olds will move to one nap per day, and some will stay at two naps per day; it depends on your baby!5

You may have thought that sleep regression would be something of the past at this age, but unfortunately, some 12-month-olds will experience another period of sleep regression. Sleep regression happens when your baby has a change in their sleeping habits. They can experience increased fussy periods at night or have difficulty falling asleep. Some of the most common causes of sleep regression include:6

Thankfully, sleep regression doesn’t last forever. Sleep regression cycles typically last one to four weeks. Some ways to help your 12-month-old overcome their sleep regression include the following:6

  • Know their sleep cues and put them to bed at the first sign of tiredness.
  • Have a consistent bedtime and naptime.
  • Keep a consistent daytime and bedtime routine.
  • Give them extra attention during the day and before bed to help them with any separation anxiety.
  • It’s okay to allow them to fuss for a few minutes in the middle of the night before soothing them if that feels right for your family.
  • Some parents will limit cuddling, rocking, and nighttime feeding since these activities can encourage frequent awakening in your 12-month-old.
A sample daily schedule for a 12-month-old baby by Baby Chick, detailing activities from wake up at 7:00 AM to bedtime at 7:00 PM, including feeding, naps, snacks, activities for a 12-month-old, lunch, dinner, and bedtime routine.

During the last few months, you and your baby have been on a predictable schedule, which will remain relatively unchanged. The only significant change may come if your baby transitions to one nap per day instead of two. If your baby has moved to one nap per day, aim for a nap time around 1 p.m. or following lunch.5 Use a shortened version of their bedtime routine to help your little one prepare for their nap.5 Due to moving to one nap per day, some 12-month-old babies will have longer wake windows than others.

At this age, it’s still appropriate for your baby to go to bed between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., but every family is different with what time works for them. Start your bedtime routine in plenty of time to ensure your little one is ready for sleep at their bedtime.5

This month, your baby will have their 12-month-old well-child checkup. It will include a brief physical exam, a check of their weight, and the administration of vaccines. On average, a 12-month-old baby should have doubled their birth weight and grown roughly 10 inches.7 Your doctor will help you understand if your baby is growing appropriately and give you advice if they’re behind in their growth.

At this visit, your baby will also receive their scheduled 12-month vaccines. These vaccines include:8

  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Varicella, also known as the chickenpox vaccine
  • Annual flu shot (if needed)

Even though your baby will have a scheduled well-child checkup at 12 months old, their doctor may need to see them if any of the following symptoms occur:9

  • Decreased appetite for more than a few days
  • Increased sleepiness, difficulty waking up, or crying more than usual
  • Temperature higher than 105 F or that lasts longer than three days
  • Diarrhea that lasts longer than a week or vomiting that lasts longer than a day
  • Signs of dehydration such as decreased tears, dry/cracked lips, and a reduced amount of wet diapers
  • Constipation
  • Trouble breathing, cold symptoms lasting 10 days or more, or a cough lasting more than two weeks
  • Unexplained rash or rash with a fever

Your baby is becoming even more expressive and interactive as they hit their first birthday, and engaging them is so much fun! Some easy activities to engage with 12-month-olds include:1

  • Reading them books, especially ones with flaps
  • Telling them what actions you’re doing
  • Singing to them
  • Responding to all their babbles, even if you don’t know what they’re saying
  • Stacking blocks with them, building the tallest tower, and watching them knock it down
  • Encouraging their love for music by giving them toy drums, cymbals, or other noisemakers

Ensuring your home is a safe environment for your baby is crucial. As they become more mobile, they’ll start to get into things they shouldn’t. Follow these safety tips to keep baby from harm:10

  • Keep all household cleaners and medications out of reach (call poison control at 1-800-222-1222 if accidental ingestion occurs).
  • Pad or remove any furniture with sharp corners.
  • Install gates on all stairs.
  • Keep your water heater at no more than 120 F to avoid unintentional burns.
  • Remove all water from the bathtub after use, and never leave your little one unattended in the bath.
  • If guns are in the home, make sure they’re secured in a gun safe and unloaded at all times.
  • Use a rear-facing car seat that’s secured correctly in the back seat.

It may seem that your baby’s first year of life has flown by, but it has also been filled with enormous amounts of growth for both you and baby! Each new stage of their development is incredible to watch, and many more enjoyable stages are yet to come.