Baby development: Your 11 month old
Most babies can stand on their own by 11 months old and are getting ready to cruise, taking their first unsteady steps as they hold on to something - usually the furniture. The number of words they understand is increasing all the time and you may even notice that your baby is following simple instructions. By now, your baby should be relying on a diet of mostly solid foods, and some mothers may be considering how to stop breastfeeding.
Should my baby be cruising?
Babies continue to get active day by day, and they can usually stand without support by around 11 months old as well as stoop and squat. Now that your baby is getting to be an expert at standing, cruising is usually the next step. This is when a baby takes steps to move along while holding on to furniture that is sturdy enough to support their weight, such as a sofa or coffee table.
As your baby gets better at standing without wobbling and becomes more confident, she'll soon let go and stand without any support. At this stage, she may stoop down or squat to pick up a toy, and if you hold your baby's hands, she might take a few steps. Moving some furniture close together, a few steps away, may even encourage your baby to take her first unsupported steps. Remember that babies develop at different rates, so while some babies start to cruise at 11 months old, a few will do so at an earlier age and others in another month or so.
Meanwhile, expect your baby to get into anything and everything. You may find she becomes a wiggly escape artist as you try to strap her into her high chair or pushchair or when changing her nappy. On the positive side, some babies will try to help out by holding out an arm or leg while being dressed.
How can I encourage my baby to talk?
Babies learn the meaning of words through repetition, so the best way to encourage your baby to say her first words and build up her vocabulary is to keep up your 'conversations' with her, describing your everyday activities as you do them. "Where is the green teddy?", "Mummy's chopping a carrot", "I have two socks" and "Here is a big cup" are simple phrases with only a few words, but they help your baby learn about objects, action, location, size, numbers and colours. Repetition is key and eventually your child will pick up the meanings of these words as they become embedded in her mind.
Many babies enjoy having story time with books filled with colourful illustrations. You can encourage your child to look at books by choosing ones with flaps and different textures. Your baby may have particular favourites that she'll enjoy sitting with again and again. Point at and describe the pictures, talking about the colours, objects, shapes and sizes. Local libraries may have story times for babies and toddlers, and some communities have mobile libraries for borrowing books.