Your baby’s physical and emotional milestones
Your baby has begun to recognise himself in the mirror and you’ll often find him gazing at himself or babbling away to his reflection. His language skills are growing in leaps and bounds and you may even start to make sense of the babble.
Your baby is now a real mimic, so it’s crucial you interact with your baby as much as you can. Talk to him endlessly. Let him participate in the conversation – talk and let him talk back.
Reading to your baby is also very important for language development. Read to your baby regularly; let him choose books he loves and read them over and over to him. Now is the time he’ll begin to develop his love of reading and his love of books, so make it a positive experience.
Your baby’s diet will now consist almost completely of solid food – breastmilk can be given as a comforting evening drink or first thing in the morning. Your baby should already be eating a wide variety of foods and you should make an effort to vary his diet as much as possible. Make sure snacks are healthy and don’t give into cries for a breastfeed, as this will affect your baby’s appetite for the food he should be eating at meals.
Make finger foods fun. Now you can start placing some peas and raisins on your baby’s plate so he can practice his pincer grip, as well as getting good nutrients from foods like these.
Stimulating your 11-month-old baby
While some 11-month-old babies have mastered walking, most still get around by crawling or supporting themselves on furniture. There are some great walker toys available. They help your baby stay stable while he takes a few steps – they are a good investment as most of them include other activities that will keep baby busy for hours when he’s not walking.
Encourage your baby to push his walker once he’s stable on his feet and is walking a few steps. This will help him balance and give him practice starting and stopping.
One of your baby’s favourite games is throwing things and he’ll be sure to want you to join in the game and throw things back his way – he won’t be able to catch anything for a while though. Have lots of small soft toys and balls you can throw around safely indoors and outdoors.
Expert advice for month 11
Teach your baby to enjoy movement – dad’s are particularly good at doing this – swinging, throwing the baby up into the air and catching him, playing ‘airplane’ and hanging him upside-down. Mothers tend to be gentle, preferring to rock or dance with baby – all of which give the child a sense of space and physical agility.
Games you can play with your baby at this age are swinging in a blanket or a tyre from a tree, playing in the swimming pool under close adult supervision, rocking-toys or a push-tricycle. Your baby enjoys the independence of ‘walking’ with a willing adult to hold onto and is easily frustrated when he does not get his own way. Fortunately babies are still easily distracted at this age, and parents quickly learn use their imaginations to stay in control!