Welcome to "NO!"
Just before their first birthdays, babies learn the meaning of "no." They spend lots of time shaking their heads "no" - even when they mean "yes!" This may be frustrating for you. But it means your baby is growing up. He is becoming independent. He feels secure enough that he's sometimes able to risk your disapproval. He's beginning to learn right from wrong.
To get your attention, your baby might do these kinds of things:
- Turn the knobs of the radio to a blast of noise.
- Throw food on the floor.
- Push the buttons on the telephone.
- Pull the dog's ear.
- Bite while he's nursing.
Your baby will test his limits - and yours. As he moves toward the telephone, for example, he may look back at you. He may have a guilty look on his face. He needs an immediate response from you - a facial expression or a gesture that says, "I'm paying attention to you. It's not OK to play with the telephone."
Don't overreact. Avoid yelling and strong corrections. These give your baby the attention he wants, and he will likely repeat the behavior just to get your attention again.
Instead, try to anticipate your baby's behavior. Have you left him alone for too long? Is he bored with his playthings? Does he need a hug? Give him positive attention - he'll be less likely to do something that you disapprove of.
You can also distract your baby. Offer a different activity. Move the attractive, but forbidden, object out of your baby's reach.
Avoid saying "No!" too often. The word will lose its impact. Save it for important times, like when safety is an issue. In the examples above, respond firmly - don't smile - and tell your baby the right way to do the activity.
For example, if your baby is banging on the table with a spoon, stop him by gently holding his hand. Say, "This spoon is for eating. Would you like another spoonful of peaches? After dinner let's find a big box for you to bang like a drum."
Give him information he can use in the future. Let him know your limits. Enforce your rules the same way every time.
What's It Like To Be Eleven Months Old?
- The soft spot on the top of my head is almost closed.
- My legs look bowed when I stand up; my feet look flat.
- My sitting balance is good.
- I like to use my fingers to pick up small things like toys and food.
- I can stack two or three small boxes, and I like to knock them down.
- If you hold my hands, I can walk. I'm almost ready to take my first steps by myself.
- I point to things I want, even if they are far away.
- Tasting and touching are my favorite ways to explore new things.
- I love being the center of attention - and making you smile.
- When you call my name, I look for you.
- I like to imitate sounds like coughing, laughing, lip smacking and tongue clicking.
- I can pull off hats, shoes and socks but need your help getting them back on again.
- I know about getting dressed and usually cooperate when you put on my clothes.
For more information about dads and their baby's first year, get The Everything® Father's First Year Book by Vincent Iannelli, MD, which is published by Adams Media and is now available at your favorite bookstore.
You can also order The Everything® Father's First Year Book right now from amazon.com.