11-Month-Old Baby:Moving Toward Those First Steps
Your 11-month-old baby is becoming more active and mobile every day, and her curiosity is helping her enjoy new experiences and master new skills. Read on to learn more about what she's up to and how you can encourage her development with playtime, sleep, and feeding tips.
Baby Development Milestones
There's a lot to look forward to this month as your 11-month-old baby's curiosity leads her to new and exciting experiences. She's exploring the world through her sense of touch, and she's probably up on her feet in full cruising mode. Make sure her surroundings are safe, and then watch as she makes her latest discoveries.
Growth and Physical Development: Forging Ahead
As she approaches her first birthday, your baby will have likely tripled her birth weight. It's normal for her growth to slow a little at this time. A big reason for this is that she’s moving more than ever — crawling, scooting, playing — so she is burning more calories. If you have any concerns about your 11-month-old baby’s weight or her overall health, however, check in with your baby's healthcare provider. You can also learn more about your baby's growth charts just to get a better understanding of how your provider tracks her progress at each visit.
Your little one's first steps are an exciting milestone, but don't be surprised if you notice her feet turning outward a bit in a way that looks the opposite of pigeon toe. This is called “out-toeing,” and it’s common in little ones as they start learning to walk. Your baby hasn't spent much time on her feet yet, so the ligaments of her hips are loose, causing her legs and feet to rotate outward. At some point during the months after her first birthday, those ligaments will tighten, and you'll see her feet pointing forward.
Senses: Touch and Texture
Your mobile 11-month-old engages all of her senses, including touch, to learn and grow. If you've baby-proofed your home, you can let her explore safe spaces under your supervision. If you haven’t gotten to it yet, here is everything you need to know about babyproofing, from the kitchen to the bathroom, and everything in between. She'll enjoy opening drawers and cabinets and trying to make sense of the new objects she discovers, but keep in mind that most of her finds will likely end up in her mouth as she investigates, so safety is key. You can provide interesting items for her to touch and experience by showing her some of the objects in and around your home, from a smooth countertop to soft, backyard grass.
Also, baby toys for your 11-month-old don't need to be expensive or complicated to capture her attention and boost her brain development. She may be delighted with any or all of the following:
Cups, bowls, and unbreakable containers
Cardboard books with large pictures
Different-sized balls (but nothing small enough to go in her mouth)
Paper tubes, egg cartons, or empty water bottles
Building blocks or any sturdy items she can stack.
Try creating a sensory bag filled with a variety of interesting objects that are fun and safe for your baby to see, touch, and smell. You can learn how to make a sensory bag and pick up other fun ideas in our baby activities guides .
Movement: Casual Cruising
You've seen your baby's motor skills, balance, and coordination improve over the past few months; now, your 11-month-old baby may be getting ready to take her first steps. She's been building strength in her leg muscles by doing things like scooting, crawling, and pulling herself up to stand. Now or sometime soon she may be ready to take her first few steps while holding onto furniture for support. When this happens, your little one is officially cruising!
Make sure you've covered any sharp edges and properly secured any furniture that could fall on her as she holds onto it, and watch her go. You can also hold her hands for support while she works those little legs in new and exciting ways. When she gets a little more confident and her balance improves, she may let go of the furniture and see what she can do on her own.
Cognitive Development: Bilingual Babies
If your family is bilingual, now is a great opportunity to expose your baby to a second language, if you haven't already. Little ones have a remarkable ability to learn two languages if they hear them both consistently. Of course, she may be confused from time to time (this is a normal part of language development), but in general, learning two languages from a very young age just means she'll be even more proficient in both.
Just as her speech abilities are improving, so are her listening and comprehension skills. By now, she's probably able to follow simple instructions from you, such as when you ask her to wave bye-bye or reach for a toy. She's also learning that all those objects she's been shaking, banging, and dropping have particular functions, and you may see her start to use certain objects correctly, whether it's drinking from a cup or holding a phone to her ear.
How to Support Your Baby's Development
At this time, your baby is more inquisitive than ever, and she's likely driven by the confidence she gets from her increased mobility. Continue to encourage her to explore her environment and learn about the world by providing toys suitable for 11-month-old babies. You'll want to choose playthings that inspire her curiosity and help foster skills like hand-eye coordination. Blocks and soft toys are great, as well as more mundane household items like wooden spoons and containers. You can also plan an outing to a local park, library, or even a children’s museum where there will be plenty of new objects to touch, see, and experience. Let her roam, under your supervision, and you'll see her thrive as she discovers new and interesting things.
Make sure you're reading to her and spending time playing together on the floor every day. Reading helps jumpstart her language and communication skills, and playtime at ground level helps strengthen her growing body and improve her motor skills.
Feeding Your 11-Month-Old Baby
As he approaches his first birthday, you may notice that your little one's appetite isn't quite as hearty as it was in the past few months. His growth rate is slowing down, and he's distracted by a variety of fun new activities beyond eating. He's now getting more nutrients from solids and drinking less breast milk or formula, and he's starting to have definite preferences. Options for 11-month-old baby food are a bit wider these days as he can now hold onto a sippy cup and may have some success feeding himself small finger foods. Now is a good time to have your curious and sociable baby join you and your family at the dinner table for meals in his own high chair. Make sure he’s completely strapped in, and position the chair far enough away from the table so that he won’t be able to push against it and tip himself over.
How Much Sleep Does an 11-Month-Old Baby Need?
With so much new activity filling his days, your baby now needs between 9 and 12 hours of sleep each night, plus two naps per day. Naps typically last about 30 minutes to 2 hours each. It's possible that your baby may wake up and cry at night, even if he was previously able to sleep through the night. The tears may be due to separation anxiety, and can make nighttime a bit of a challenge. If you find he's doing his best to resist bedtime or is waking up during the night, keep in mind it's only his natural response to the stress of being away from you.
It's helpful to have a consistent bedtime routine, which might include a soothing bath, reading a story, or gentle massage to help him relax. If he cries at any point during the night, go in quietly to make sure he's OK without offering any rewarding cuddles or extra feedings.
What to try when your baby wakes during the night:
Check to make sure he isn't sick
Check his diaper — he may simply need changing
Allow him to cry for a few minutes before offering some brief, reassuring words and a final goodnight.
It may be frustrating when your baby’s not sleeping as well as he used to, but, in time, he’ll learn to soothe himself and fall asleep on his own again. In the meantime, check out some more tips for a good night’s sleep in our sleep training guide.
Your Baby's Health: Preventing Household Accidents
Your little one is on the go these days, and although he's likely enjoying his newfound mobility, he won't escape getting some bumps and bruises from time to time. Falls, burns, and minor cuts and scrapes are among the most common household injuries, and unfortunately they can happen despite your best babyproofing efforts. Keep an eye on him at all times and make sure he’s only exploring areas of your home that you've thoroughly babyproofed. If you have stairs in your home, make sure you’ve installed gates or fences to help prevent falls. Cover all electrical outlets, keep appliances out of reach, and be careful when carrying hot drinks or food near your baby to help prevent burns. You’ll also want to make sure you, your partner, and any other caregivers are trained in infant CPR and know how to clear your baby's airway in a choking situation, and that you have local emergency contact numbers stuck on the fridge and saved in your phone. Knowing you’re prepared will help put your mind at ease and allow you to focus on having fun with your baby.
FAQs at a Glance
How much milk does an 11-month-old baby need? Babies this age need at least 750 calories per day, with approximately half coming from breast milk or formula. He should have about 24 ounces or breast milk or formula per day.
How much sleep does an 11-month-old baby need? Your little one needs about 9 to 12 hours per night, with two additional daytime naps that can be as short as 30 minutes or as long as two hours each.
What kind of food can I give my 11-month-old baby? Your baby may love small, soft finger foods like steamed vegetables, bananas, pasta, bread, or even chicken. Avoid giving him chunks of peanut butter, raw vegetables, or whole grapes at this age.
When should you stop giving your baby formula? After his first birthday, you can transition your baby to cow's milk, either whole or 2 percent milk. At this time, though, he still needs the nutrients that come from formula (or breast milk). If you notice any symptoms of a milk allergy, like wheezing, hives, or diarrhea, though, check with your baby's healthcare provider for further testing and advice.
When can my baby eat eggs? You can offer your 11-month-old scrambled eggs as finger food — they're yummy, easy to prepare, and packed with nutrients. Keep in mind some little ones may have allergic reactions to eggs. Watch for symptoms like hives, vomiting, or coughing. If you think your baby is allergic to eggs, check in with your healthcare provider.
Should my baby still be sucking his thumb? Many babies such their thumb or fingers at some point. Some babies outgrow the habit within six or seven months, while others continue well into the toddler years, which is nothing to worry about. If your child is still sucking his thumb when he's 5, you'll want to talk to your baby's healthcare provider about ways to help resolve it to prevent changes to the roof of the mouth or problems with the way his teeth line up.
Your Life as a Parent: Your Social Life
Your own health and happiness are critical to being the best parent you can be, and you may find that your social life has changed (or vanished) since welcoming your baby. Your life may be different now, but it's still important to spend time with people you care about and who can offer you some much-needed support.
Try to connect with other parents in your area through playgroups or other interest groups. Local libraries and community centers are great resources for finding such groups.
Also, busy lifestyles can make it tough to carve out time for yourself. Make it a priority to do something you enjoy on a regular basis, whether that's a pursuing a hobby, exercising, or catching up with old friends. You may decide to plan a get-together with friends and bring your baby along, or get a sitter and enjoy some adult conversation without your little one. Your friends will love catching up with you, as well as seeing your baby, if that’s what you decide to plan.
Party Planning Fun
You may be getting ready for your little one's first birthday now by planning a special party for family and friends. It's wonderful to celebrate this exciting day (and your success as a parent!), but do try to minimize any stress. Try not to hold yourself to ideas of social-media-inspired party perfection. Your baby may or may not love attempting his first candle blow, and while some babies enjoy crowds and a festive atmosphere, others do not.
You may want to choose a theme for your baby's party to help get you started. This could be as simple as a color scheme, or it could include something your baby loves like trains, animals, or princesses. Establishing a theme will make choosing any decorations and refreshments a little bit easier. Whatever you choose, consider having a separate cake for your guests and one for your baby to smash for those priceless first birthday photos. Take lots of pictures, and, above all, enjoy this celebration with your baby — you've both earned it!
Checklist for This Month
Get prepared for the month ahead. Learn more about what's in store for you and your little one when he is 12 months old.
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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.
The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.