Congratulations! Your baby is finally past the age of one. It’s hard to believe that one whole year has passed since he was born. Each baby is a unique human being. They travel their journeys at their own speed – some faster than others. As your baby is slowly moving into the second year of his life, he will go through some more developmental changes. You can now introduce different types of foods or reintroduce foods that he previously disliked. His sense of taste will be developing, so try different spices and cuisines. Your baby might also point at literally everything he sees and asks ‘What’s that?’ in his adorable baby lingo. It is a time of great curiosity for him as he gets to know the world.
Your 52 Week Old Baby’s Development
During this time, your baby’s eating as well as sleeping habits may change. Children between 12 to 14 months start actively having dreams in their sleep. These dreams can sometimes startle and wake up your child. During such moments, you should comfort him until he falls asleep again. At this stage, your baby, now a toddler, will be fast developing his personality. His language skills will be developing at a fast rate and he may be soon able to communicate with people who don’t understand his gestures or know that ‘wah’ means water to him. Physically, if he is a wobbly walker now, he will soon graduate to being able to run, jump and dance. His concept of self will also grow stronger, making it easier for him to interact with strangers or play with other toddlers. But he will always want your love and support -that will remain unchanged.
Your 52 Week Old Baby’s Developmental Milestones
Below are the 52-week-old baby milestones you should be watching out for:
- Your baby will be able to communicate symbols for words using hand gestures
- Your baby will be able to return your high-five hand gesture
- He will take his first steps around this age
- Your baby will have developed fine motor skills, like picking up grapes between his thumb and forefinger
- Your baby will be able to know that objects and things will exist even if he is not able to see them
- Your baby will be able to understand around 25 words and can respond to simple one-step instructions
- He can recognize his favourite things and places
- Your baby will be able to point at something and look at you asking a question, even though he doesn’t use words to ask.
Now that your baby is over 12 months old, you can slowly wean him away from infant formula and the bottle. Your toddler should now be eating a wide range of foods, and milk should be his secondary form of nutrition. You can start reducing his dependence on the bottle by gradually replacing his nighttime feed with milk or water from a cup. Your toddler will be a picky eater at this stage, so keep offering him a variety of healthy meals. Don’t pressurize him to eat more than what his appetite can take, and keep snacks and junk food away from his diet. You may worry that he is not eating enough; don’t worry. As long as he appears to be normal, he’s fine. Consider introducing cow’s milk into his diet during the weaning process. If you do, make sure you give him only pasteurized whole milk, as growing children need the extra fat and cholesterol whole milk has.
At this stage, your baby may not be sleeping for long stretches through the night. One of the biggest interruptions in a baby’s sleep in the second six months is the development of crawling. Sleep disruption one month before and up to three months after crawling is typical, research suggests – your baby will have a total of 23 weeks of ‘fussy periods’ in his sleep throughout his first year of life! This is due to the mental and physical development, growth spurts, and mobility progress your baby experiences. Not to mention, teething. On an average, 12-month-old babies should have eight primary teeth by their 1st birthday. Eight more teeth will come by his second birthday, which means that more teething pain at night, and more disturbed sleep for you and your toddler.
Care Tips for Your 52-week-old Baby
This is how you can care for your 52-week-old baby.
- Watch your fingers when they are close to your baby’s mouth, or your nipples when you are breastfeeding since he may bite because of his teething.
- Try weaning him away from breastfeeding and from breast milk (if you are taking that decision) by switching to cow milk.
- Avoid giving your child processed packs of juice as they have a high sugar content that can fill him up, making him not want to eat food.
- Introduce protein into your child’s diet from a variety of sources like peas, cheese, eggs, beans, and yoghurt.
- Give your baby fresh fruits; they are a great source of essential vitamins.
- Always humour your baby when he points to something and looks at you expectantly. Answer him cheerfully and in proper sentences.
- Keep pointing out to objects and sounding their names to your baby. Never stop this as this is important for his language development.
- Keep narrating stories to your baby from picture books.
- Set a proper bedtime routine which includes a bath, drinking a cup of milk, brushing teeth and a bedtime story.
- Time to buy some soft shoes for your toddler now!
Tests and Vaccinations
Your toddler should have the one-year checkup with his paediatrician around this time.
Your doctor will measure your baby’s height, weight, and head circumference to track his growth and will ask you questions on his diet, sleep habits and behaviour.
Your toddler will most likely need boosters at 52 weeks for vaccinations he has already been given in the past one year. These include vaccine shots for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hib, Polio, influenza, and DTaP. He will also need the first doses of the MMR and chickenpox vaccine.
Games and Activities
Below are some games and activities you can play with your little one:
- Press your baby’s hand or foot in some poster ink and make a print on a piece of white paper. You can then frame this print or save it for posterity.
- As this time will be around your baby’s first birthday, teach him how to sing ‘happy birthday’. Sing it to him before bed, when he wakes up…wherever you can. He will soon learn to mimic you, clapping his hands in time.
- Hold your baby’s hands while he is in standing position and slowly cruise him around so that he learns the movement of walking and can start in his own time.
- Play peekaboo or hide-and-seek with your mobile baby around the house. Make sure the house is baby proofed!
When to Consult a Doctor
In your 52-week-old infant’s development, consult your doctor if you ever notice the following:
- Does your child have an allergic reaction to strawberries, honey, cow milk, eggs, nuts or any other food? This is the age when certain food can cause allergies, which can range from rashes to watery eyes, a swollen tongue, face or hands, or even difficulty in breathing. Consult your doctor if you observe any such things in your baby.
- If your child is losing weight and shows symptoms of fever or diarrhoea and refuses food, take him to a doctor as he could be suffering from an infection.
- It is always better to check with the doctor once before you introduce cow milk in your baby’s diet. If you have obesity or any cardiovascular issues, your doctor may advise reduced-fat milk for your baby.
As parents, the first year with your baby is a huge transition, and it can change your life in ways you could never have imagined. Congratulations on reaching a year of parenthood – it’s a great achievement!