Self-feeding (baby) and self-preservation (you) here we come!
Your Baby is 14 Months Old. What Milestones Should You Look For?
For your 14-month old, there’s no greater teacher than play. At this stage, your toddler’s little world is becoming bigger and bigger each day. Every object is a new chance to discover; to push, pull, poke, or grab. When at the playground or with a playgroup, you might notice that your toddler is far more interested in playing with their toys than with their peers. When hosting a playdate, remember that sharing is a process. At this stage your toddler is still self-oriented. Parallel play is a wonderful opportunity to help your toddler label emotions, develop social skills, and build compassion. These are the tools that will help them develop empathy.
14 MONTH MILESTONES!
Your baby is gaining more control of their thumb and forefinger.
Now is the perfect time to let your baby try and self-feed with a spoon. It might get messy at first, but it’s a great way to help your baby be active at mealtime.
Milk, Please: If you haven’t already started your baby on cow’s milk, research shows now is a great time to start.
As your baby is learning how to manipulate objects, be sure to mirror the behavior you want them to follow. Try showing them how to stack blocks.
Consistency is key for little brains at this age
The Yumi Milestone Plan: At 14 months we’ll be introducing foods rich in brain boosting vitamins and minerals.
Your Baby’s Brain at 14 Months
It’s possible you’re already familiar with your baby’s first words (likely between three to five words). Though it’s perfectly normal for them to emerge closer to 15 months. At this stage, what’s most important is consistency and order. When your baby doesn’t know what’s coming, they exert a ton of brain energy and focus to figure out what’s going on. This eventually results in anxious behavior or tantrums. Create a few routines they can expect, whether that be feeding time, nap time or even play time!
At this stage, your babe is especially adept at word discovery, even if seemingly by accident: think of a word that sounds like what it means (like bump) and a 14-month old is likely to be attuned to its meaning. Novel words help to both shape a toddler’s vocabulary and deepen their association with objects and understanding of others intentions. In one notable study, researchers turned a light off with their forehead rather than their hand, and observed if toddler’s imitated the behavior. Researchers found that when they used a novel word (I’m going to “blick”) to describe the action, toddlers were more likely to imitate than when researchers simply called attention to it. Discovery is the name of the game for 14-month olds, and using novel words can be productive in ways that go beyond building vocabulary.
Your Baby’s Bones at 14 Months
With the potential for self-feeding, come the baby teeth that help make it possible!
Your babe is also eating more foods than ever, and (prob) has the teeth to do so! On average babies at this age have 8 teeth. Dental hygiene should begin as soon as their first teeth appear, and can be “brushed” with a clean, damp washcloth or finger brush with a rice-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Decayed baby teeth can actually interfere with good nutrition and speech development.
Yet another reason to avoid sugary snacks and treats, which are not recommended for children under 1. The best-selling Yumi Milestone Plan follows this rule through the first 1,000 days. No Yumi meals have added sugars.
Your Baby’s Immunity at 14 Months
You have at least a decade before your sweet angel starts mouthing off, but at 14 months, oral sensory seeking behavior, or “mouthing,” is normal. A form of self-soothing it’s also how babies learn and show interest in the world around them. Don’t stress. Part of building a healthy gut biome means letting the healthy bacteria in to play. Naturally, the more on the move they are, the more that ends up in their little mouths. Exposure to germs builds up a baby’s immune system.
However, remain cautious of small objects and redirect their attention if they’re getting grabby with objects that present choking hazards. Babies respond well to redirection over commands.
You might notice that your baby is far more interested in objects than playing with other babies. This is totally normal. As there is so much going on. Grabbing and picking up objects is still part of their ongoing development. As is working on their pincer grasp. There’s a lot happening. As previously mentioned, toddlers playing side-by-side, but not influencing one another’s behavior, is known as ‘parallel play.’
Sharing will be a skill you work on daily. At 14 months, parallel play is a wonderful opportunity to help your toddler label emotions, develop social skills, and build compassion (and muscles). The sharing muscle, if you will.
Your baby’s hand-eye coordination is also hard at work. At this age, your child is quickly developing how they manipulate objects. Stacking blocks is a great way for your toddler to build spatial awareness, test cause and effect, and explore some fine hand and finger motor skills. The block may not be the most flashy toy in your 14-month old’s collection, but it’s dynamic and open-ended, giving your toddler the space to construct and imagine. From the block’s weight and feel, to the ways they can tumble or grow tall, every part of the block is a discovery at this stage. Toddlers develop their hand-eye coordination by testing new ways of combining, stacking, and line up blocks.
You may notice that your baby kicks down the towers they build. They are currently learning the concept of “creating” and will soon stop kicking down their creations. Until then, they’ll continue to find it amusing every time you chase the blocks they just kicked down.
In later block building stages, tell your child a story: Whether it’s a castle, or an emerging city, giving your child a context for stacking the blocks and later building structures is both fun and beneficial.
They are also learning to self-feed with a spoon! This is an important developmental milestone, and one of the reasons experts say parents shouldn’t rely too heavily on pouches.
Your baby has been mastering the pincer grasp for a few months now, allowing them to pick up small objects with their thumb and forefinger. You might have noticed your baby has begun reaching for your spoon, or taking control of their own. This may come as a surprise at first. After all, your baby was rebelling against spoons just a few months ago. However, that’s a healthy sign that your baby wants to take an active role in their mealtime. In their quest for self -feeding, they’ll soon be ready to embrace the spoon on their own terms.
Your Baby’s Sleep at 14 Months
At this age your no-so-much-a-baby should be getting between 12-14 hours of sleep. This sleep will be split up between night and 1-2 naps during the day. At this age, sleep is still their primary brain activity, and will continue to be an important part of development and function through their first 1,000 days.
If your child is experiencing sleep regression, try to get them back into a consistent schedule. It gets harder as they get older, but as with most things baby, consistency remains key.