Your baby: 11 months old

First birthday parties, baby shoes and walking. Learn all about life with your 11-month-old.
Photo: iStockphoto

Photo: iStockphoto

Baby’s big day 
Someone has a big birthday coming up! It’s hard to believe that your baby is turning one. Though you may be tempted to go crazy in the celebration department, remember that a house full of people can easily overwhelm your baby.

Read more: Your baby’s first birthday>

Great gift ideas
A whole new world of play awaits your child in the year ahead. So if you’re looking for gift ideas, let your mantra be this: Don’t buy toys that “do” lots; instead, find toys that your child can do lots with.

Read more: Baby bling: Outrageous gifts celebrities give their kids>

Walk this way
Most babies take their first few steps between 12 and 15 months of age — though some little daredevils walk at 10 months, while others wait until they’re a year and a half. First your baby will pull herself up into a standing position and cruise around furniture by holding onto it and using her hands for balance.

You may want to arrange the furniture closer together, to encourage her to step from one piece to another. Or you can try holding out your hands to help her walk from the furniture to you, or letting her stand between your legs, holding your hands, and then “walking” with you. But it’s important not to push your baby into walking. Every baby has an individual timetable for taking those first couple of steps which is based on muscle strength, balance, and temperament.

If the shoe fits?
Believe it or not, walking barefoot actually helps your baby’s feet develop better, building arches and strengthening ankles. Once she starts walking, however, you will want to get her a pair of shoes to protect her feet when she goes outside. A proper fit is important, so have both of your baby’s feet measured while she is standing. Look for thin, flexible soles and a flexible upper made of a natural material like leather or canvas that will breathe easily.

Read more: Playing with Dad>

Tips from the trenches
“Don’t feel guilty about choices you make that are best for your family. There will always be someone who doesn’t agree, but you decide what makes your family life manageable and happy. Don’t be apologetic about it.” — Paula, mom of two

Read more: 5 things first-time moms shouldn’t worry about>

How babies communicate
Your baby may not say many words yet, but he’s probably a pretty good communicator just the same. Babies can gesture before they are able to master precise pronunciation and by now yours may let you know what he means by nodding, shaking his head, pointing, waving, hugging or stiffening his whole body in protest. Add that expressive little face and a range of sounds from a whine to a belly laugh, and there’s not too much he can’t say!

Originally published on Oct. 20, 2011.

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