Photography by Nicole Duplantis/Clothing provided by babyGap and Joe Fresh
You’ve been a parent for more than a year now, so how is your baby—ahem, toddler—still changing by the minute? Maybe they’re a little chatterbox? Maybe they’re into anything and everything they can get their wee hands on? Maybe you’ve just gone back to work after parental leave? There’s definitely a ton going on with your kiddo (and lots going on with the parental units).
13-month-old development & milestones
Cruising, walking & toddler behaviour
If your kiddo hasn’t met these milestones at this point, no problem—they’ll get there sooner than later. Here’s what you can look forward to.
- Cruising or walking Bare feet (or socks with grips) are best for beginners learning to walk.
- Separation anxiety Prepare for not just clingy kids but also your own unease when it comes to leaving your tot. Consider alleviating their worries by leaving a bit of mom or dad with them—like a picture, a T-shirt or a stuffy with your own scent—before you go.
- Imitation Everything you do with them around will feel like a game of “Simon Says.”
- Learning cause and effect Throw a Goldfish cracker, watch the nearest adult pick up the Goldfish cracker and repeat.
Who’s the boss
They are. Well, they think they are anyway. And it doesn’t matter if they can’t talk yet—they’ll make their wishes crystal clear by pointing, tugging and dragging you to wherever and/or whatever they want. They’re also huge fans of repetition, so be prepared to read that same book, sing that same song or play that same game over and over (and over) again.
Talk this way…
Speaking of, well, speaking, it’s likely that your babe has at least “Dada” and “Mama” down and understands pretty much everything that comes out of your mouth as long as you’re keeping it simple. But if they’re still not saying much, don’t worry—they’ll find ways to communicate, be it with facial expressions, gestures or sounds (grunts and squeals). If you’re keen on helping them expand their vocabulary and say those first sentences quicker, keep talkin’ by pointing out colours, saying the names of family members and counting their fingers and toes. They’ll pick up words faster when you’re involving them in the conversation. Find more ways to encourage your tot’s speech development here.
Walk this way
Your tot not walking yet? No biggie—some kids don’t walk until they’re a year and a half or sometimes even later. They may be pulling themselves up and holding onto furniture or your hands now or just crawling, cruising or bum shuffling. But rest assured, they’ll eventually be running around and, yup, you’ll be chasing after them. If you want to encourage your babe, kneel down a few feet away from them and hold your arms out while they try to make their way to you, or put their favourite toy a few feet away and build their confidence by being their cheerleader while they try to grab it.
What to do when your toddler won’t eat
Guess who can hold a spoon? Kiddos will be all over holding their own utensils, but don’t expect them to actually get any food into their mouths (stock up on dishcloths—you’ll be cleaning bits and pieces off the walls, floors and maybe even ceilings if they’ve got good aim). Expect them to experiment with what goes into their mouths. We’re not gonna lie: The mess will drive you nuts! But try to let it go. You know what they say: This, too, shall pass.
Let’s face it: Being a toddler is super-tiring. With all that growing, bum scooting and discovering, they’ll need to sleep for a good 11 to 14 hours a day. Your best bet is to keep their sleep routine the same, which means going to bed and waking up at the same time—even on weekends. (Actually, many sleep experts suggest that adults keep a slumber routine, too, so it wouldn’t hurt the whole lot of you to stick with the same bedtime and wake-up time. When it comes to bedtime, do what works best for your tot. Whether it’s bathing and brushing teeth or reading and cuddling, it’s your call.
Your life after baby
Stay-at-home parents—what not to say
We know you’re not the judgy sort, but it’s always nice to be reminded: Staying at home or going back to work is a choice best made by each family, and it’s one that doesn’t require the views of outsiders. If you choose to be a stay-at-home parent, you may hear things like “You must have so much free time!” or “It must be nice not to work!” Don’t let it get to you.
Breastfeeding and weaning
If you decided to nurse and haven’t already done so, you might feel like it’s time to wean your toddler. Many lactation experts say that gradual weaning (which can take several months to a year) is best for both you and your kid, who has come to rely on the boob as part of their routine. You might want to try setting nursing boundaries—for instance, tell your tot that they can only breastfeed before bed, once during the day or whatever schedule works best for you. Just know that it doesn’t come super-easy for some parents and babes—you may have a resistant toddler who wants none of this new routine. Try to be patient.
Honestly, transitions are bloody hard. If you’re still trying to get used to being at work, doing the daycare dash, getting dinners made and keeping track of a busy toddler, it’s understandable if you’re feeling down. (Being home on parental leave isn’t a cakewalk, but it’s definitely tough to go from full-time parenting to your new reality.) If you’re feeling super-stressed and overwhelmed, ask for help. Believe us, you’re certainly not the first parent to feel anxious.
Stuff no one tells you
If you and your partner are back at work and your tot is making their first appearance at daycare, there’s something you should know—daycare is serious business. There are a bunch of things you probably won’t find out (in case you’re wondering, the food likely isn’t as nutritious as you were told and that daily outdoor time doesn’t always, well, see the light of day) and just so you’re aware, your kid will come home with almost every gross germ you can think of. Oh, and try not to piss off the teachers—if your kid poops before you leave, it’s your diaper to change; make sure you bring supplies (sunscreen, hats, etc.) when you’re asked; and for goodness sake—don’t you dare be late.
Just for fun
Yup, your baby’s not a baby anymore
You probably still call your 13-month-old a “babe,” but there are a whack of sure-fire signs that they’re growing up and officially out of the baby stage. Here are five of our favourite ways to tell that you’ve got a toddler on your hands.
- They have completely illogical (and irrational) tantrums. You put jam on their toast? Are you new here? You didn’t let them walk the 80-pound dog on their own? You are the actual worst.
- They’re soaking right through their diapers at night (and you find yourself wrestling with them to change them). No one likes a droopy rear.
- They ask to use the potty, then make you sing ridiculous pee and poop songs to get them to go. Then they get off…and wet their diaper. (See number 2.)
- They escape from their crib and stand beside your face while you’re sleeping. Yes, you’ll jump when you open your eyes to a pair of wee eyes staring at you.
- They suddenly have their own opinions, and you suddenly have to listen to them. (See number 1.)
If you’re anything like the editors at Today’s Parent, you can’t get enough of shopping for your kid (yeah, we know having children is freakin’ expensive). One of our favourite shopping destinations doesn’t just have cool home decor finds; they also have a big assortment of stuff for the little ones—not to mention cheap hot dogs and ice cream cones. Yes, we’re talking about Ikea! Here is some Ikea kids’ stuff we’re sort of obsessed with.
Your toddler: 14 months old
Stay-at-home mom: I hate being a housewife