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Check Ups

12 Month Check Up

FEEDING:  After 12 months it is ok to give your baby cow’s milk instead of formula or breast milk, although some nursing mothers may choose to continue nursing past 1 year of age. Most pediatricians recommend whole milk as the best choice, because babies need the added fat for good growth and brain development until age 2.  Babies need 2-3 servings per day of milk or other dairy products to get adequate calcium.  Try to start transitioning baby to using a cup only, with the goal to be off the bottle by around 15 months.  Often the easiest start is gradually to change to milk from a cup with meals.  The nighttime bottle is frequently the last to go.  Limit juice to no more than 1 cup a day, preferably diluted with water.  Most babies at this age are eating mostly table foods.  Offer lots of different foods, so baby can get used to a varied diet, but limit high-fat or fried foods, such as chips, french fries, cookies and candy.  Be careful with foods that baby can choke on, including anything that is hard or in large pieces, and supervise all eating. Common foods to watch out for include whole grapes, raw carrots, hard candy, popcorn and hot dogs. Avoid nuts until age 3.  After 12 months, babies’ growth rates slow considerably, so a drop in appetite is normal.  Many babies become much pickier about what they eat and will have some days when it seems they’re not eating much at all.  As long as your baby gets some variety in her diet and continues to grow well, she is probably eating enough.

DENTAL CARE:  If you have not already begun, it’s a good idea to get your child used to cleaning or brushing teeth at bedtime.  After brushing do not offer anything but water to drink.  Babies should not be allowed to fall asleep while taking a bottle with milk or to sip on milk bottles during the night.  To clean the teeth, you can use a washcloth with water or a toothbrush, but toothpaste is optional.  If you do use toothpaste, use only training toothpaste without fluoride.  Most babies will get their first set of molars (back teeth) between 12 and 15 months.

FEVER/ILLNESS:  At this age, fever is defined as  a temperature greater than 101.  If your baby is going to be in daycare or around large groups of children, we expect that he or she will get as many as 1-2 colds or viral illnesses each month.  Cold viruses usually cause nasal congestion, runny nose, cough, decreased appetite, and often fever.  Most cold viruses last up to 10 days, but the fever should not last more than 3-5 days.  If your baby has cold symptoms that last longer than 10 days, fever that lasts longer than 3-5 days, or high fever associated with not drinking or sleeping or extreme fussiness, it is a good idea to call the office.  Good handwashing is still the best way to prevent the spread of germs.  

DEVELOPMENT:  At one year of age most babies can pull themselves to a standing position and stand alone, and many have taken their first steps.  If your baby has not yet begun to walk at his first birthday, do not be alarmed, as the normal age range for this milestone is anytime between 9 and 15 months.  Most babies can also stack 2 blocks at this time, and one year olds can usually feed themselves finger foods and use a cup well.  Although they usually understand many more words, most 1 year olds can say 2-3 words with meaning.  To encourage language development, continue frequently to talk or sing to your child and read to him often.  Even at this age, reading helps provide the framework that your child will use later to learn to read himself. 

SAFETY:  When babies are both 20 pounds and 1 year old they can begin to ride in forward-facing car seats.  Use gates at the bottom and top of stairways.  Never leave baby unattended in a bath or near any water, and do not leave containers of hot liquids or foods near the edge of a table or counter where baby might pull them off.  Check smoke detectors regularly to assure they are working properly.  Protect your baby from sunburn by using sunscreen with an SPF higher than 15.   It is still important to make sure that all cabinets and drawers are childproofed, and all chemicals and medicines are locked away.  If your child ever gets into and accidentally swallows anything that might be dangerous (such as cleaning supplies, chemicals, or medications) do not give anything else by mouth and call Poison Control immediately.       POISON CONTROL 1-800-222-1222