1 year old baby milestones: Development, growth, speech, language, and more

Nikki Stevenson

Nikki Stevenson

Nikki is a parenting writer and a mom to three wild boys who keep her on her toes (and occasionally make her question her sanity). With over 15 years of experience in the parenting industry, she has more tips and tricks than Mary Poppins on speed dial. When she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can find her sipping on coffee, hiding in the bathroom for five minutes of...
Updated on Jul 06, 2024 · 11 mins read
1 year old baby milestones: Development, growth, speech, language, and more

Happy first birthday to your little one!

Reaching this milestone is a huge accomplishment for both your baby and you. Over the past year, you’ve witnessed your baby transform from a newborn into a lively, curious toddler. Now, get ready for a whole new set of adventures and challenges as your one-year-old starts to explore the world with even more enthusiasm.

Your 1-year-old baby's developmental milestones

Physical development
By now, your baby might be taking their first steps or even walking independently. Their balance, coordination, and hand-eye coordination are improving, allowing them to move around more confidently. They might also enjoy climbing on furniture and exploring their surroundings.

Fine motor skills
Your baby’s fine motor skills are becoming more precise closer to their first birthday. They can pick up small objects using their thumb and forefinger, stack blocks, and even attempt to use a spoon. Encourage these skills with toys and activities that involve grasping, stacking, and manipulating objects.

Sensory development
Your one-year-old is keen to explore the world through their senses. They love touching different textures, listening to various sounds, and observing everything around them. Sensory play, like playing with sand, water, or textured toys, can be very engaging and beneficial.

Language development
Language skills are rapidly developing at this age. Your baby might say their first words and understand simple instructions. Your baby continues to enjoy babbling, imitating sounds, and listening to you read. Keep talking to them and reading books to enhance their vocabulary and comprehension.

Emotional development
Emotionally, your baby is becoming more aware of their feelings and those of others. They might show affection by hugging or kissing, express frustration when things don’t go their way, and seek comfort from you when upset. Building a secure and loving environment helps them feel safe and supported.

1-year-old baby health and safety

At this age, your baby is more curious and mobile, which means safety is a top priority. Ensuring they are healthy and safe as they explore their world is crucial.

Common illnesses and prevention

As your baby interacts more with others, especially in group settings like playgroups or childcare, they may be exposed to common illnesses such as colds, ear infections, and stomach bugs. To help prevent the spread of illness:

  • Hand hygiene: Regularly wash your baby’s hands and use baby-friendly hand sanitisers when necessary for disease control.
  • Clean toys: Frequently clean and sanitise toys and play areas.
  • Healthy diet: Ensure your baby has a balanced diet to support their immune system and make sure your baby’s weight is within range.


According to the Australian National Immunisation Programme, the following vaccinations are recommended at 12 months:

  • Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR)
  • Meningococcal ACWY
  • Pneumococcal
  • Meningococcal B

Water safety

Your baby is likely very curious about water, making water safety crucial:

  • Supervision: Never leave your baby unattended near water, including bathtubs, pools, pet water bowls, and even buckets of water.
  • Swimming Lessons: Consider enrolling your baby in a parent-child swimming class to get them accustomed to water safety early on.

Sun safety

Protecting your baby from harmful UV rays is important:

  • Sunscreen: Use baby-safe sunscreen and reapply it regularly, especially during outdoor play.
  • Protective clothing: Dress your baby in lightweight, long-sleeved clothing, and a hat to shield their skin from the sun.
  • Shade: Try to keep your baby in the shade during peak sun hours, typically between 10 AM and 4 PM.

Home safety

As your baby becomes more mobile, ensure your home is safe:

  • Baby-proofing: Secure heavy furniture to the wall, cover electrical outlets, and use safety gates to block off dangerous areas like stairs.
  • Small objects: Keep small objects out of reach to prevent choking hazards.
  • Toxic substances: Store cleaning supplies, medicines, and other hazardous substances in locked cabinets.

1-year-old baby sleep

Sleep is crucial for your baby’s development growth, especially as they hit the one-year mark. At this age, your baby’s sleep patterns might change, and establishing a consistent routine can help ensure they get the rest they need.

How much sleep does a 1-year-old need?

On average, a one-year-old needs about 11 to 14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. This typically includes:

  • Nighttime sleep: Around 10 to 12 hours of sleep at night.
  • Naps: 1 to 2 naps during the day, lasting 1 to 2 hours each.

Establishing a sleep routine

A consistent sleep routine can help your baby understand when it’s time to sleep. Here are some tips for creating a successful bedtime routine:

  • Set a regular bedtime: Aim for the same bedtime every night to help regulate your baby’s internal clock.
  • Wind down before bed: Start winding down 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime with calming activities like reading a book, taking a bath, or gentle rocking.
  • Create a sleep-friendly environment: Make sure your baby’s sleep environment is quiet, dark, and cool. Use blackout curtains to block out light and a white noise machine to mask any background noise.
  • Comfort items: A favourite blanket or stuffed animal can provide comfort and help your baby feel secure at bedtime.
  • Consistent wake-up time: Wake your baby at the same time each morning to establish a consistent sleep-wake cycle.
  • Encourage independent sleep: Allow your baby to fall asleep on their own by placing them in their crib while they’re drowsy but still awake.
  • Limit stimulants: Avoid stimulating activities and large meals close to bedtime

Managing sleep transitions

At around one year, some babies may begin to transition from two naps to one longer nap. Watch for signs that your baby is ready for this change, such as:

  • Resisting the second nap: If your baby consistently fights the second afternoon nap, it might be time to transition.
  • Longer morning nap: Your baby’s morning nap may lengthen as they drop the second nap.

Dealing with sleep regressions

Sleep regressions are common around one year and can be triggered by developmental milestones, your child’s progress, teething, or changes in routine. If your baby’s sleep is disrupted:

  • Stay consistent: Stick to your established sleep routine as much as possible.
  • Offer comfort: Provide extra comfort and reassurance, but avoid creating new sleep associations that might be hard to break later.
  • Be patient: Sleep regressions are temporary and usually resolve within a few weeks.

1-year-old baby milk considerations

As your child turns one, their nutritional needs begin to change, and milk continues to play a crucial role in their diet. They also start to develop different tastes. Here’s what you need to know about milk options for your one-year-old.

Breast milk

If you are still breastfeeding, continue to do so as long as it works for you and your child. Breast milk provides essential nutrients and antibodies that support your baby’s immune system and overall health. Many health organisations, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), recommend breastfeeding for up to 2 years, alongside solid foods.


For formula-fed babies, you can continue to provide infant formula until they are ready to transition to cow’s milk or an appropriate alternative. You can start to wean your baby from infant formula to toddler formula or directly to cow’s milk, depending on their dietary needs and advice from your baby’s doctor.

Introducing cow’s milk

At one year, you can introduce whole cow’s milk into your baby’s diet. Cow’s milk is a good source of calcium, vitamin D, and fat, which are important for bone development and overall growth.

  • Whole milk: Use whole milk (3.25% fat) as it provides the necessary fat content for your baby’s developing brain.
  • Limit intake: Ensure your baby drinks no more than 500ml of cow’s milk per day to prevent it from displacing other essential nutrients from solid foods.

Alternative milk options

If your child is allergic to cow’s milk or you prefer not to give them cow’s milk, there are several alternative milk options available. However, not all alternative milks are nutritionally equivalent to cow’s milk, so choose carefully and consult your doctor. Some common alternatives include:

  • Soy milk: A popular alternative often fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Choose unsweetened, full-fat soy milk.
  • Almond milk: Generally low in protein and fat, but fortified versions can provide necessary nutrients. Opt for unsweetened and fortified almond milk.
  • Oat milk: A good option for those avoiding dairy and soy. Ensure it is fortified with calcium and vitamins.
  • Coconut milk: Low in protein but can be part of a varied diet if fortified and unsweetened.

Dairy intake from other sources

In addition to milk, your baby can get calcium and other essential nutrients from other dairy products:

  • Yogurt: Eating full-fat plain yogurt can be a great addition to your baby’s diet. It’s easier to digest than milk for some babies.
  • Cheese: Small pieces of cheese provide calcium, protein, and healthy fats. Offer varieties like cheddar, mozzarella, or cottage cheese as finger foods for eating.

How can I help increase my 1-year-old baby's learning and emotional security?

At this age, your child is like a little sponge, absorbing everything around them. Supporting their learning and emotional security during this crucial time is essential for their development. Here are some effective ways to boost your baby’s cognitive growth and provide a strong emotional foundation.

Exploration and play

  • Provide a safe environment: Create a baby-proofed space where your little one can explore and walk safely. This allows them to satisfy their curiosity without unnecessary restrictions.
  • Interactive toys: Offer toys that stimulate problem-solving skills and creativity, such as stacking blocks, shape sorters, and simple puzzles to give your child new challenges.

Read together daily

  • Storytime: Make reading a daily habit. Choose books with bright pictures, different textures, and simple stories to engage your baby’s interest.
  • Interactive reading: Encourage your baby to turn pages, point to pictures, and mimic sounds. This interactive approach enhances language development and makes reading fun.

Foster social interaction

  • Playdates: Arrange regular playdates with other children. This helps your baby learn social skills like sharing, empathy, and communication – even if it is just parallel play at first.
  • Family interaction: Involve your baby in family activities. Simple tasks like helping to put toys away or sitting at the table during meals make them feel included and valued.


  • Talk to your baby: Narrate your daily activities, describe what you see, and respond to their babbling. This helps them expand their vocabulary, hit communication milestones and flesh out their expressive language skills. 
  • Simple commands: Practice giving simple instructions like “bring the ball” or “wave bye-bye.” This enhances their listening skills, receptive language skills (the understanding of words), and ability to follow directions.

Support emotional development

  • Consistent routines: Establishing regular routines for meals, playtime, and sleep provides a sense of security and predictability.
  • Positive reinforcement: Praise your baby for their achievements, no matter how small. Positive reinforcement builds their confidence and encourages them to try new things.
  • Comfort and reassurance: Be responsive to your baby’s emotional needs. Offer hugs and comfort when they are upset, and celebrate their joys with enthusiasm.

Encourage independence

  • Self-feeding: Allow your baby to feed themselves during mealtimes. This fosters independence and improves fine motor skills.
  • Simple choices: Offer choices between two items, like which book to read or which toy to play with. This gives them a sense of control and decision-making practice.

Create a loving and secure environment

  • Quality time: Spend quality one-on-one time with your baby, giving them your undivided attention. This strengthens your bond and makes them feel secure. Try games like peek-a-boo and patty cake.
  • Emotional expression: Model healthy emotional expression by showing your own feelings and teaching your baby words to describe their emotions.

Items you will need this month

  • Sturdy walking shoes: Supportive shoes to help with those first steps.
  • Interactive books: Books with flaps, textures, and bright pictures.
  • Push toys: Toys that encourage walking and balance.
  • Stacking toys: Blocks or rings to develop fine motor skills.
  • Snack containers: Spill-proof cups and containers for on-the-go snacks.
  • Safety gates: To block off stairs and hazardous areas.
  • High chair: For safe and comfortable meal times.
  • Bath toys: To make bath time fun and engaging.
  • Soft balls: For rolling, throwing, and developing coordination.
  • Teething toys: To soothe sore gums as more teeth come in.

Checklist for this month

  • Update vaccinations: Ensure your baby’s vaccinations are up to date according to the schedule.
  • Baby-proofing: Reassess and update baby-proofing as your child becomes more mobile.
  • Introduce new foods: Expand your baby’s diet with new, nutritious foods.
  • Encourage independent play: Provide opportunities for your baby to play alone safely.
  • Maintain routine: Keep a consistent schedule for meals, naps, and bedtime.
  • Read daily: Continue reading to your baby every day to support language development.
  • Plan social interactions: Arrange playdates to help your baby develop social skills.
  • Monitor growth: Keep track of your baby’s growth and development milestones.


Your toddler’s developmental milestones at 1 year, Unicef. Available at: https://www.unicef.org/parenting/child-development/your-toddlers-developmental-milestones-1-year#:~:text=Everything%20you%20need%20to%20know%20about%20your%20growing%201%2Dyear%2Dold&text=Toddlers%20are%20more%20active%2C%20curious,child%20and%20encourage%20active%20play

11-12 months: baby development (2024) Raising Children Australia. Available at: https://raisingchildren.net.au/babies/development/development-tracker-3-12-months/11-12-months 

From milk to more | Introducing foods to your baby (2020) Canberra Health Services. Available at: https://www.canberrahealthservices.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/1939509/From-Milk-to-More-A4_Accessible_FA.pdf 


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