ABCs of Growing Healthy Kids: Twelve-Month-Old

This article provides tips to help you care for your baby.
ABCs of Growing Healthy Kids: Twelve-Month-Old - Articles


What an exciting time for your baby and you! As your baby approaches his first birthday, he is displaying many skills and abilities he has learned and mastered. In many ways, he closely resembles an older child. Though he is moving in that direction, your twelve-month-old has some unique needs.

What's it Like to Be a Twelve-Month-Old?

  • I wave bye-bye.
  • I may be able to walk, but crawling is faster.
  • I repeat words I know.
  • I like to feed myself.
  • I can climb things to reach attractive objects.

Feeding Your Twelve-Month-Old

For starters, your baby still needs the excellent nutrition of iron-fortified infant cereal until about eighteen months of age. There are many kinds and flavors of infant cereal available, and your baby will enjoy the variety. The iron in infant cereal is more readily used by your baby and is very important in preventing anemia.

At this time, the question "What should my baby be drinking?" may arise. Many pediatricians and health care professionals encourage parents to continue breastfeeding or infant formula until one year of age. At the age of twelve months, your baby is probably ready for cow's milk, and it needs to be whole milk. Why is whole milk important? The fat in whole milk is very important to the proper development of your baby's nervous system. Your baby doesn't get much fat from other foods in her diet, and the fat from whole milk is needed for good health. Continue to serve whole milk until your child is two years old. After the age of two, a lower fat milk will be a good choice.

You might notice your child's appetite may not be as big as it was at the age of eight or nine months, or you may see your child is hungrier at meal and snack times! Babies have growth spurts and will need food for the energy needed to support their growth. Your baby may be walking by now or crawling rapidly from here to there. All that exercise needs fuel! So how much do you feed your baby?

At the least, your baby should receive these amounts each day:

Milk16-24 ounces
Fruits and Vegetables4 servings, each 1-2 Tablespoons.

Vitamin C source: 3 ounces daily

Vitamin A source: 3 times weekly
Breads and Cereal4 servings, each about 14 the adult serving size
Meats, Poultry, Fish, and Eggs2 servings, each about 12 ounce

This will serve as a guideline--not every day will fit perfectly into this pattern, but the amounts and variety outlined here are important for baby's growth and health. Check the list below for good sources of vitamins A and C.

Foods High in

Vitamin C

  • 100% juice fortified with Vitamin C
  • broccoli
  • oranges, orange juice
  • cantaloupe
  • strawberries
  • grapefruit
  • spinach

Vitamin A

  • apricots
  • carrots
  • yellow squash
  • pumpkin
  • sweet potatoes
  • spinach
  • mixed vegetables

All children grow, learn, and develop at different rates. The information in this brochure is considered typical for children of this age. If you do all you can to help children grow and develop now, they will have the best chance to do well in school and in life.


  1. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2012. Nutrition for Infants and Toddlers. Getting Started on Eating Right.
  2. Aronson, Susan. 2012. Healthy Young Children: A Manual for Programs. National Association for the Education of Young Children.
  3. U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2002. Healthy Start, Grow Smart.
  4. University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, Family and Consumer Sciences. 2009. Parent Express: A Guide for You and Your Baby.

Originally prepared by Katherine Cason, associate professor of food science.
Updated in 2014 by Jill Cox, MS, RD, program development specialist, Penn State Better Kid Care and Mary Alice Gettings, MS, RD, nutrition consultant with funding from the Penn State Extension Better Kid Care program.