What are The Developmental Milestones for a 12-Month-Old?

Updated Oct 18th 2022 | timer 9  min read

First year milestones
Elissa Gross

Medically Reviewed By medical-check-mark Elissa Gross Board Certified Pediatrician & Lactation Consultant

Mandy Treeby

Written By Mandy Treeby Chief Baby Sleep Consultant

It’s incredible how your baby has developed over the past year. They’ve grown from an adorable newborn who, though cute, was very inactive, to an infant who can now cruise along the furniture, hold things, respond to the sound of your voice and light up the room.

Now you’re probably wondering “What are the typical milestones for a 12-month-old?” In short: many. In long: we’ve assembled the common developmental milestones for 12-month-olds, including their cognitive, motor, and linguistic milestones.

One great way to help your 1-year-old – and any baby – reach their milestones is by nurturing their sleep. Sleep is when your baby’s mind and body develop most, so making sure they get enough sleep is of paramount importance. That’s why sleep training is so important – and luckily, it’s easy, especially with a tool like the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™. It shows you step-by-step how to sleep train your baby effectively and quickly!


IN THIS ARTICLE:


A 1-Year-Old’s Developmental Milestones:

While we would love to explain your baby’s development by week, there are just too many to count – and each baby is different – so here we’re focusing on your baby’s 12-month developmental milestones.

We’ve separated a baby’s typical 1-year developmental milestones into development categories. Note how much more your baby is interacting with you and the world around them.

This is a truly unique and special time – and a great time to engage your baby:  When your baby “talks” to you, respond with excitement and interest in what it is they’re telling you – this helps teach your baby how conversations work!

Also, don’t worry if your baby doesn’t “tick all the boxes” on the 1-year milestone checklist. Your baby is unique and will develop in their own way – and whatever happens, they’re perfect just the way they are. And of course if you have any concerns regarding their development you can always ask your pediatrician.

Growth and Physical Development: More Growing To Come

Your baby's grown a ton in the past 12 months! In fact, it’s now likely they’ve tripled their birth weight. And, in terms of height, they may be about 28-32 inches tall. Wow! This rapid growth will slow a bit now, becoming more gradual over the next 12 months.

Senses: Bright-eyed and Curious

After months of blurry or limited vision, typically 1-year-olds have the same strength vision an adult -  all of which helps their hand-eye coordination.

Motor Skills: Touching the World

These are improving, too – you may now notice that your little one can reach for and pick up objects. They can also feed themselves small bits of food – well, sorta: they’ll still drop a lot of food, but they are improving – and will continue to improve over the next 12 months.

Movement: Cruising and Balancing

Oh, wow! It’s almost here – your baby’s first true steps.

Over the past 12 months, your baby has hit a lot of mobility milestones: sitting up, crawling, pulling themselves up – and it’s all been leading to this, one of the biggest 1-year-old developmental milestones.

Now your baby will likely be cruising along the furniture, improving their strength and balance. They’ll fall a few times, but that’s totally normal – and good their learning. Soon, though, your 1-year-old will master toddling – and then all bets are off!

Also, as your little one begins taking those first wobbly steps, you’ll notice their feet turned outward. This is completely normal. Your baby’s feet will align more as their muscles strengthen and they get the hang of it. 

As you can see, there a lot of developmental milestones for a 12-month-old, and even more to come.

Teething: New Foods, New Routines

By 1-year your baby should have at least one tooth, but may have a few already . This is exciting – but also requires some dental hygiene, including daily brushing, bottle weaning, and, yes, their first dental appointment!

Other 1-Year Old Developmental Milestones:

1-Year Old Social/Emotional Milestones

  • Plays simple games with you, such as patty-cake
  • Misses you when you’re out of the room.

1-Year Old Language/Communication Milestones

  • Waves “bye-bye” when you leave
  • Uses terms like mama, dada, or another term for parents
  • Understands “no” – that doesn’t mean they always listen, though!

1-Year Old Cognitive Milestones

  • Can solve simpler problems, such as putting something in a container
  • Searches for objects your hide, such as a teddy behind your back.

1-Year Old Movement/Physical Milestones

  • Can pull themselves up to stand
  • Cruise along with the help of furniture
  • Drink from a lid-less cup with your help
  • Can pick things up between their thumb and forefinger (pincer grasp)
  • Can feed themselves small bites of food.

How Can I Help My 12-Month Old’s Development?

One of the simple ways to help your 1-year-old meet their developmental milestones is to play and talk with them. Just by engaging their world you help grow their emotional, motor, and cognitive skills – plus it reinforces the truth that they are loved and safe.

Remember: Playtime should be fun for both your baby and you – but it also gives them an opportunity to work on their important motor, social, and communication skills.

To that end, here are a few playful ways to improve your 12-month-old’s development.

  • Playing with soft blocks or other stackable toys improves your baby’s coordination and motor skills.
  • Play peekaboo: This classic game provides endless entertainment for your baby, and helps them understand object permanence, the idea that objects exist even when we can't see them.
  • Talk or Sing Your Actions: A great way to help your 12-month-old’s development is to tell them what you’re doing. So, if you’re washing the dishes, say, “I’m washing the dishes to keep them clean.” Simply explaining the world will help your baby understand more later.
  • Reinforce Positive Behavior: If your baby does something good, such as put a block in their bucket, encourage them with praise and a hug.
  • Discourage Negative Behavior: If your baby does something less good, like pulling the dog’s tail, gently explain to them that’s not allowed and show them the preferred method: gently petting the dog.
  • Build On Their Words: You’ll notice your baby trying to say words, such as “Tra –“ aka “Truck.” When this happens, encourage them by repeating the word, “Yes, truck!” If they say “truck,” say “Yes, that’s a big truck.” The goal is to help them form words and then build upon those words with descriptions, like “big.”

Note: Development experts recommend restricting screen time and access to digital devices for your baby's first two years. Be careful with “background media,” such as your phone and the television, as anything that has your attention takes attention away from your baby.

That said, it’s best to put down your phone and switch off the television when your baby is awake.

Baby Sleep Milestones:

A Chart of 12-Month-Old’s Sleep Schedule

Here is a sample schedule of how much a 1-year-old typically sleeps.

Remember your baby is unique, so it’s alright if their sleep schedule doesn’t precisely match up with this schedule. Focus less on the time clock and more on wake windows – the amount of time your baby is awake between naps or their last nap and bedtime.

Get a personalized schedule and sleep plan by downloading the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™. It guides you every step of the way, so your baby can fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer – and you will, too. (Also, if you’re struggling with lack of sleep, we have some tips on how to survive sleep deprivation.)

Sleep Schedule for 12-Month-Olds with 2 Naps:

Good Morning!

6:30 AM

Nap 1

9:45-10:45 AM

Awake: 3 hrs. 15 mins.

Nap: 1 hr.

Nap 2

2:15-3:15 PM

Awake: 3 hrs. 30 mins.

Nap: 1 hr.

Start Bedtime Routine

6:45 PM

Good Night!

7:15 PM

Awake: 4 hrs.

Can a 12-month-old baby sleep through the night?

Yes – by 1-year-old, your baby should sleep for longer periods and need no night feedings – that said, do confirm with your pediatrician they your baby’s growing well and gaining weight.

Also, if your baby is still waking at night and you haven’t sleep trained, now is a great time to start – and it’s so easy. Simply download the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™ and input some simple information about your baby to start getting step-by step-guidance on ways to help your baby fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. It’s so effective, most users see results in just one week.

How many hours should a 12-month-old sleep each day?

A 12-month-old should sleep about 13 hours –14 hours over a 24-hour period to grow well.

How much nighttime sleep for a 12-month-old?

About 11-12 hours at night.

How much daytime sleep for a 12-month-old?

2-3 hours a day divided over two naps is typical for 12-month-olds.

What is a 12-Month-Old’s Wake Window?

Between 3-4 hours is a decent wake window for 12-month-olds.

Remember that your baby’s sleep needs and wake windows are constantly shifting as they grow. Luckily, the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™ will not only keep track, but help you adjust schedules and let you know what to look for, like the signs it’s time for a nap transition.

Is there a 12-month-old regression?

While there isn’t technically a 12-month sleep regression, but sometimes a baby will experience regression-like symptoms as they develop and learn new skills.

What is the 12-Month Sleep Regression?

A 12-month sleep regression is much like others: your baby’s been sleeping for longer stretches at night - you think they’re 100% sleep coached, and all is well; then, one night your baby wakes up, just like they did when they were younger. Then it happens the next night, and the next…

You get the idea. That is a sleep regression.

If you haven’t experienced one yet, you’re lucky - they often start around 4 months and can recur periodically until 18 months.

Why the 12-Month Sleep Regression?

Sleep regressions almost always coincide with your baby’s physical, emotional, and mental milestones – and your 12-month-old is experiencing milestones in spades.

How Sleep Regressions are Really “Progressions”:

Since “regressions” coincide with developmental milestones, we like to think of them as “Sleep progressions” - they’re positive signs that your baby is mentally and physically progressing - and that’s something to celebrate!

How Long Does the 12-Month Sleep Regression Last?

Regressions can last anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 weeks - luckily, though, you can manage the regression and try to ensure it is on the shorter side by following the steps below.

Signs of a 12-Month Sleep Regression:

The signs of any sleep regression include:

But then there’s another sleep regression symptom that can appear as your baby develops:

Vocal Protests:

Your baby has learned some words, including “No.” This skill, coupled with their developing sense of self, can lead to some more… shall we say “passionate protests” if they’re resisting sleep.

Just remember - this is a moment that will pass – and will pass faster if you are consistent in your approach to the wakings (something the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™ can help with!)

A Final Note:

No matter where your 1-year-old is developmentally, remember that every baby is unique and special – including your own. While it is good to track your baby’s development, if they’re missing anything, it’s 100% alright – they’re perfect just the way they are!

FAQs:

What Should a 12-Month-Old Be Doing?

Developmentally speaking, most 12-month-olds are crawling and cruising along furniture – the stage right before walking. They may even be taking a few wobbly steps. Other 12-month-old milestones include improved hand-eye coordination, the ability to grasp objects, feed themselves a bit, and their vision is improving, too.

What are 3 red flags at 12 months?

Remember that all babies develop at their own rate, but you may want to consult your pediatrician if your baby has not done the following by 12 months:

  • Cruising
  • Lack of motor skills
  • Doesn’t appear to focus their eyes
  • Is not sounding out words.

How Many Words Should a 12-Month-Old Know?

Many 12-month-olds know 2-3 words, typically “mama,” “dada,” and either “dog,” their sibling’s name, or maybe another caretaker’s name or title, like “gram.”

What is the Cognitive Development of a 1-Year-Old?

Most 1-year-olds are typically understanding and learning basic words, using their new motor and visual skills to explore the world, and building their memory, such as remembering where they left their teddy bear.

DISCLAIMER:

How We Wrote This Article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.

Sources:

“Developmental Milestones,” Pediatrics in Review
“Important Milestones: Your Baby By One Year,” The CDC.
“8 Things to Remember about Child Development,” Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University

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