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

Wow, it’s hard to believe your once-little newborn is now a toddler! At 15 months old, your baby is deep into the toddler years, which comes with many new and exciting milestones. They’ll continue to gain new skills, and their little personalities will be on full display. This article will walk you through these new milestones, give you tips for feeding and sleeping, and share activities to do with your 15-month-old.

By 15 months old, your toddler will have made leaps and bounds in their development and achieve new milestones constantly. Their mobility will increase, and their personalities will continue to grow and shine. Some milestones you can expect your 15-month-old to reach include:1

  • Taking a few steps or walking consistently without support
  • Feeding themselves with their fingers and trying to feed themselves with utensils
  • Trying to use objects the right way, such as pretending to talk on the phone
  • Stacking two or more blocks on top of each other
  • Pointing and asking for help
  • Saying one or two additional words, excluding “Mama” and “Dada” (for instance, they may say “ball” or “dog”)
  • Following simple directions, such as, “Go find your shoes”
  • Clapping when excited
  • Copying older children
  • Expressing frustration with tantrums
15 Month Old Sample Feeding Schedule by Baby Chick. The schedule includes optional breastfeeding at 7 AM, breakfast at 7:30 AM, snack at 9 AM, lunch at 11:30 AM, a brief nap as part of the 15-month-old sleep schedule, snack at 3:30 PM, dinner at 5:30 PM, and bedtime snack at 7 PM.

At this age, your 15-month-old is starting to develop a taste for the foods they like and don’t like. They’ll continue to eat three meals a day and have two to three snacks throughout the day. Their meal times will follow the rest of the family’s meal times. They’ll show their dislike for a particular food by pushing it away, closing their mouth when it’s offered, or turning their head away from it. It’s important to continue exposing your little one to new foods, but don’t force them. Give them an opportunity to explore new foods while deciding, themselves, which foods they want to eat.2

As your baby starts expressing their likes and dislikes, you may wonder what foods they should and shouldn’t have. At this age, your toddler should be transitioned to whole dairy milk or unsweetened soy milk from formula or continue breast milk and have 16-24 ounces of milk per day. They can also have water when they’re thirsty. Your 15-month-old should also drink their milk and water out of a cup. Continue experimenting with straw cups, 360 cups, and open cups. Avoid other plant-based milks such as oat, rice, or coconut milk. These kinds of milk aren’t fortified and don’t contain appropriate amounts of protein, vitamins, and calcium. Your little one also doesn’t need toddler-specific formulas or milk; they’ll receive all the nutrients they need from their regular diet.2

Often, around this age, toddlers can become much more “picky” eaters. Make sure to include a wide variety of foods from all the food groups in your toddler’s diet. Providing them with a range of foods allows them to explore new tastes and textures. Ensure you include fruits, vegetables, proteins, and dairy in your toddler’s diet. When exposing them to new foods, it’s also important to avoid certain foods, including high-sodium foods, foods with too much added sugar, diet drinks, unpasteurized juices or dairy, and choking hazards like hot dogs, raw carrots, popcorn, and nuts.2 A good rule of thumb is to expose them to a “rainbow” of foods each week. Your job is to offer healthy food, and their job is to decide what to eat.

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During the first year of toddlerhood, your toddler’s sleep schedule and patterns usually remain consistent. Your 15-month-old needs 11-14 hours of sleep daily, including one afternoon nap that lasts roughly two to three hours. Many babies will transition to one afternoon nap per day by 18 months of age. Having a bedtime around 7:30 p.m. is still appropriate for your toddler.3

Sleep regression can occur at any age, so your 15-month-old may experience another period of regression. It happens when your baby, who typically has a good sleep pattern, starts to have difficulty falling and staying asleep. Common causes include teething, illness, a change to their daily schedule, or a significant life change, such as moving to a new home or bedroom. Thankfully, sleep regression only lasts an average of two to four weeks.4

Sleep regression is hard on everyone involved, but there are ways you can help your toddler overcome this regression. Sleep training is safe to do if your family chooses, but do what feels right to you.8 Some ways to sleep train include:4

  • Not letting them sleep in your bed, as this can prolong the sleep regression period
  • Keeping a consistent bedtime and bedtime routine
  • Eliminating screen time before bed
  • Incorporating relaxing activities into their bedtime routine, such as having bath time, reading, or singing soft lullabies
  • Putting them to bed when they’re drowsy but not yet asleep, allowing them to learn to fall asleep on their own
  • If they wake up at night, allowing them to fuss for a few minutes before going in to comfort them (this helps them learn to self-soothe)
  • Reassuring them in their crib instead of picking them up when they cry
  • Making sure they have access to their favorite comfort items, such as a blanket or a favorite stuffed animal
A sample daily schedule for a 15-month-old child from Baby Chick. It includes specific times for wake up, meals, snacks, activities for a 15-month-old, nap time, and bedtime routine. The schedule begins at 7 AM with wake up and ends at 7 PM with bedtime.

Keeping a schedule will provide your toddler with structure and stability. This helps your little one anticipate what will happen next in their day and can help alleviate some tantrums.

It’s essential to try to keep the same wake times, meal times, and nap times during the week and on the weekends. If your baby is taking one nap per day, that nap can start around 12 p.m. or 1 p.m. and will typically last two to three hours. Having one nap instead of two naps in a day provides your 15-month-old with longer wake windows. Having a bedtime around 7:30 p.m. is still recommended for toddlers at this age.3

It’s okay to change up the routine once in a while for a special event, as long as you remember to expect an increase in big feelings and tantrums for a short time surrounding this change.

By 15 months old, you and your child are no strangers to well-child check-ups or vaccines. Your toddler will have another well-child appointment at this age to assess their development and provide any needed vaccines. The vaccines your 15-month-old will receive include:5

  • DTaP: Diphtheria, Tetanus and acellular Pertussis
  • HiB: Haemophilus influenzae Type B
  • PCV: Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine

Even with a well-child check-up, your 15-month-old will likely experience many common childhood illnesses. These include the common cold, the stomach flu, and other viral infections. While these illnesses can typically be treated at home, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t give infants aspirin or over-the-counter cough and cold medicines. These medications aren’t designed for infants and can cause serious side effects.6 Always follow the medication directions on the package insert. If you still have questions about which medications you can give your child, contact your clinic for guidance.

While your toddler can easily overcome most childhood illnesses, some symptoms warrant immediate medical care. These symptoms include:6

  • Inconsolable crying
  • Extreme sleepiness and being hard to wake up
  • Weak crying or moaning
  • Refusing all food or drink or only consuming small amounts during the day
  • Dark yellow urine, decreased wet diapers, no tears, or a dry mouth

Call 911 if your baby has difficulty breathing, has an abnormal color (such as very pale, blue, or gray), or becomes unconscious.6

Playing and engaging in activities with your 15-month-old is a great way to help them reach their milestones. Some ways to play with your toddler include:1

  • Responding to their attempts at conversation by repeating the noises and words they make
  • Telling them the name of a toy before handing it to them
  • Allowing them to help with simple tasks, such as putting their toys away
  • Singing songs and throwing in some dance moves for your baby to copy
  • Dancing around the room with them
  • Reading books
  • Playing hide-and-seek
  • Teaching them wanted behaviors, like how to pet an animal gently

Your toddler is on the move, and they no longer stay where you put them. You need to maintain a safe environment in which they can explore. Here are a few tips to help keep your toddler safe while also allowing them to explore:7

  • Keep all cords, breakable items, medicines, household cleaners, choking hazards, and hot or sharp objects out of reach.
  • If your toddler has consumed any harmful substance, contact Poison Control immediately at 1-800-222-1222.
  • Use safety gates at the top and bottom of all stairs.
  • Prevent drowning by keeping all toilet lids closed and supervising your baby while they’re in the bath or near water.
  • If guns are in the house, keep them unloaded and locked in a secure cabinet.
  • Use a rear-facing car seat, and place it in the back seat.
  • Apply SPF 30 sunscreen before playing outside, and reapply every two hours.
  • Don’t smoke or allow others to smoke around your baby.

Your baby is now a toddler, and their growth has been truly amazing. Your 15-month-old is gaining new skills and achieving new milestones almost every day. Watching them grow and blossom into toddlers is an amazing gift, and it will only continue to get better from here!