Your 52 Week Old Baby
Happy Birthday! Your 52 week old baby is twelve months old. One whole year has passed since he was born!
In the first instalment of this series, all the way back at one week old, we set out to describe what you could expect to happen each week in the first year, as your baby moved from helpless infant to burgeoning toddler. From feeding and sleeping, to leaps and milestones, we have followed the typical development of a human baby.
Of course, each baby is a unique individual. Your baby will have travelled this journey at his own speed – perhaps faster at some stages, and slower during others.
At times you might have experienced things completely differently from how they were described. At other times it might have seemed we were talking about your own baby in detail.
So now – 52 weeks and 52 articles later – with leftover birthday cake tempting you, your baby is about to move into the second year of life. Let’s take one more look at the journey he made to arrive here.
Feeding Your 52 Week Old Baby
If he was born in Australia, your baby was 96% likely to have been breastfed initially. At 12 months, only 28% of babies are still receiving breastmilk. Although the Australian Dietary Guidelines and the World Health Organization recommend breastfeeding until around six months, there is only a 15% chance your baby reached his half year without having some formula, or starting solids prematurely.
Now he is 12 months old, you are encouraged to wean your baby from bottles and infant formula. Yet research has shown as many as 40% of toddlers are having bottles at two years old, even though there are concerns regarding dental caries and extended bottle feeding.
World-wide sales of toddler formula are growing at an alarming rate, despite it being recognised as unnecessary.
Your new toddler should now be eating a wide range of family foods, and milk has become his secondary source of nutrition.
If your baby is one of the 9% still being breastfed at 18 months, or the 5% still breastfeeding at the World Health Organization’s minimum of two years, he will be getting as much as 29% of his daily energy needs from breastfeeds each day.
Sleep and Settling
Research shows that despite promises and expectations along the way, it is unlikely your baby has been regularly sleeping for long stretches overnight. One study investigating infant sleep duration found that 27% of babies had not regularly slept from 10pm to 6am by the age of 1 year. And 13% of babies had not regularly slept through for 5 hours or more by the age of 1 year.
By far, one of the biggest interruptions to infant sleep in the second six months is crawling development. Researchers have found sleep disruption in the month before crawling, and for as long as three months after that milestone is reached, is typical.
In the past 52 weeks, your baby has experienced ten developmental Leaps, commonly known as Wonder Weeks. The total number of weeks referred to as ‘fussy periods’ in this past year is around 23! If you feel like there is very little calm between the storms – you are right! These mental developmental leaps are additional to the physical growth spurts and mobility progress that can also interfere with infant sleep.
And then there are teeth. On average, a 12 month old has eight primary teeth – four central incisors and four lateral incisors – around his first birthday. Still to come before the next birthday are another eight teeth – four one-year-old molars, and four canine or ‘eye’ teeth. Teething discomfort is also a common reason for poor or interrupted sleep in the first and second years.
Play and Development
There is a 50% likelihood your baby has taken his first steps by his first birthday. This is the culmination of the development of his central nervous system, from the top down. He has progressed from rolling from his front to his back (around 3 months), then from his back to his front (around 5-6 months).
Your baby will have moved by crawling in some manner – commando style, bottom shuffling and/or hands and knees (around six to ten months). Then he progressed to sitting independently (around four to six months), supported standing (around six to nine months), independent standing (around 11 months) and first steps (around 9-12 months). Eventually, there’s independent walking (around 14 – 16 months).
Your baby has also learned to control his body parts. He has developed both gross motor skills (like those listed above), and fine motor skills (like picking up blueberries between his thumb and forefinger). His hearing and sight have undergone fine tuning and he has laid down the foundations for speech and language.
He has developed awareness he is separate from his mother, and that objects and people continue to exist, even when he cannot see them. He understands around 25 words, and can respond to simple instructions. And he knows and recognises his favourite things and places.
Even so, his brain has barely begun to develop, and will not be fully mature until he’s around 25 years of age!
As parents, your first year of life with your first baby is a huge transition. Your life has changed in ways you might never have imagined. Whatever pathway you have taken, the celebrations you share with family and friends on the occasion of your baby’s first birthday are also a celebration of your journey as new parents. And now the journey continues – into toddlerhood!