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As you near your baby's first birthday, he hardly resembles that helpless bundle placed in your arms just 10 short months ago. While he once depended on you for everything, your curious baby is now gaining his independence, which means you'll have to work double-time to make sure he stays safe. By knowing what to expect in terms of development, you can stay one step ahead of your tiny mischief-maker to make for a safe, happy, and healthy tenth month.
Eats More Solids. By now, your little one should have progressed out of puréed veggie territory and is now more interested in finger foods. With new teeth and developing interest in new dishes comes longing looks when you're picking at your own plate. Indulge your child's interest by letting him explore new tastes and textures, but make sure that you continue to delay certain types of allergy-prone vittles, particularly if you have food sensitivities as well.
- Put off feeding your little one nuts and nut butters, eggs, and wheat, suggests pediatrician and parenting expert Joanna Dolgoff. Start introducing these foods after a year, since early exposure could trigger an allergic reaction. Pass on low-fat foods for the first year as well; full-fat yogurt and cheeses allow your baby to get all the calories and fat he can needs to grow.
- Dice up all of your budding epicure's food to avoid choking hazards. Pea-sized foods are best, since they're small enough to be swallowed without chewing. Skip out on hard foods as well; steam vegetables like carrots, and opt for soft choices like cheese. Since older babies can move quickly, keep your food out of reach.
Plays with Others. If you're dying for some adult interaction, now is a perfect time to start arranging for baby classes or playdates. While your little one's probably more interested in side-by-side play rather than making friends, he's definitely old enough to be stimulated by new people, places, and things. You'll find that his playing goes from mostly random to more specific; stacking objects, nesting bowls, and banging things together make playtime more interesting.
- Don't stress if your kid isn't a social butterfly just yet. Separation anxiety still permeates much of his thinking, so he might not be ready to leave your lap in favor of playgroup. Just stay nearby and encourage play so he gets the hang of it.
- Offer different objects so your babe can test out new ways to play. Bowls and measuring cups are perfect for nesting smaller objects into larger ones, and plastic cups are fun for stacking. You don't need the latest expensive "developmental" toys to watch your little one explore and have fun.
Imitates Your Actions. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and it's that's the case, you should be totally flattered. Your baby will start to catch onto many of your daily habits and movements, and loves to try them on for size himself. There's a good chance you catch him pretending to play with a phone, trying to press the buttons on the remote, or even pretending to brush his teeth.
- Narrate the things that you do on a daily basis to help build out your little one's vocabulary. He knows how to hold a phone to his ear, so talk about it. Say "Oh, are you calling grandma on the phone?" to help give words to the actions he's trying out for himself.
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