12-Month-Old Well Child Check

Nutrition for a 1-Year Old

Happy Birthday to your one year old! It has been an eventful year. Now is the time to switch to table foods (no more baby food is necessary) and whole milk. Continue whole (or 2% milk) until age 2. Your child needs extra nutrients for optimal brain growth. Offer your child 3 meals per day with 1 to 2 snacks. Start your child on healthy eating habits: avoid junk food and candy and limit sweet snacks. Try serving milk in a cup and eliminate the use of bottles. Give your child a spoon to hold during meals. They will learn to use it well over the next few months. Encourage self-feeding, but expect a mess! Avoid foods that may choke your child -nuts, popcorn, candy and hot dogs. No bottles in bed! Encourage cups and discourage bottles. Remember, if you have well water, we may need to prescribe fluoride supplements. If you have a strong family history of food allergy, you may want to avoid eggs for another year, and seafood and peanuts another one to two years.

Development and Behavior for a 1-Year Old

Your child may be walking alone by this time. This is a variable milestone as some children do not walk alone until 15 or 16 months. You may notice that your child has a well-developed pincer grasp and is able to pick up small objects from the floor. Close supervision and careful child-proofing are essential! Your baby should be saying “mama” and “dada” specifically and at least one other word. Encourage your child’s language development by naming objects while pointing to them and “reading” picture books together. Get into the habit of reading to your child every day.

The one-year-old is developing a sense of autonomy. Behavior may be difficult at times and you may start experiencing power struggles with your child. A good approach is to set few prohibitions (usually safety items) and respond with a firm “no” when your child tests the limits. For other behaviors, try distracting your child or removing them from the situation. Spanking doesn’t work well. It teaches children that it is OK to hit others and does not lead to appropriate behavior.

Safety for a 1-Year Old

You should use a rear-facing car seat in the back seat every time you travel in the car until your child is two years of age. Make sure you are using your car seat correctly! Never place your child in a seat with an airbag. If you have questions about installing your seat, you can have it checked at your local fire or police department. Check that your house is child- and poison-proof. Keep the number of the poison control center 1-800-848-6946 by your phone. Remember, we no longer recommend Syrup of Ipecac or Activated Charcoal for poisoning. In the kitchen, cook on the back burner, with pan handles out of reach. Never cook with children underfoot. Children love to explore the outdoors. Make it safer by fencing the yard and keeping children inside when lawn mowers or other machinery are used. Always supervise your child in the bathtub or wading pool. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and check batteries regularly.

Health Maintenance and Shots for a 1-Year Old

Today your child may have received the MMR, Varicella, Hib, Prevnar and Hepatitis A vaccines. There is a chance that the live virus vaccines will cause a child to have a fever/rash reaction during the next week. You may consider them contagious as with any virus during that time. This may be a problem for caretakers who have poor immune function (such as when white blood cells are decreased during cancer treatment or immune disorders). Ask your doctor if you, your relatives and/or visitors have poor immunity because these live vaccines may be contagious to others. Your child’s blood was tested for anemia and lead today as well – we will contact you if there are any problems with these tests.

Next Appointment

At 15 months your child will receive a checkup, be measured for height, weight and head circumference, and may have to catch up on vaccines. Occasionally vaccine supplies are low or the recommendations change. We may alter the schedule but usually the first series of vaccines is completed by 18 months old. Call our office at any time if you have any questions or concerns.