Toddler Month by Month: 18
- May 22, 2022
- by Melissa Lawrence
- Growth and Development of 18-Month-Old-Baby
- 18-Month-Old Pediatrician Visit
- Vaccines at the 18-Month-Old Appointment
- Handling your 18-Month-Old Toddler’s Teething
- How Much Should my 18-Month-Old be Talking?
- How Can I Encourage my 17-Month-Old to Talk
- How Should my 18-Month-Old be Moving?
- Intellectual Activities for a 18-Month-Old-Toddler
- Developing Fine Motor Skills in your 18-Month-Old Toddler
Hi everyone and welcome to Month 18 with your toddler and Month 18 with my toddler Bracey. We are halfway through the second year! As I’ve discussed in prior months, Bracey was born 10 weeks prematurely so his corrected age (which doctors calculate until age 2) is 15 1/2 months old. Yet by this point, he is really catching up. Thank Heavens for that.
Growth and Development of 18-Month-Old-Baby
The average 18-month-old baby boy weighs 24 pounds 1 ounce (10.95 kilos) and the average baby girl weighs 23 pounds 4 ounces (10.6 kilos). At his 18-month-old checkup, Bracey weighed approximately 10.7 kilos (23.5 pounds). He had only gained a bit of weight from the prior month (at which point he had gained a lot of weight) but his doctor was not concerned. Bracey’s position on the Spanish growth charts for weight, height and head circumference held steady.
18-Month-Old Pediatrician Visit
Your toddler will be visiting the pediatrician at 18 months of age. Your doctor will check your toddler’s height, weight, head circumference, breathing, eyes, ears, throat, gross motor skills and balance. Your doctor likely will ask you questions about your toddler’s communication and speech. This appointment provides a good opportunity for you to ask questions about food, schedules and behavior. Bracey cried for much of this appointment, which my doctor told me was totally normal. I think he remembers the shots from prior appointments!
Vaccines at the 18-Month-Old Appointment
In all likelihood, your toddler received all of the vaccines they needed for this year at one of their prior checkups but if not your doctor will offer one of the following vaccines (and depending on the season he may add the flu vaccine): DTap (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis), Hep B (Hepatitis B), Hep A (Hepatitis A), and IPV (Polio).
Handling your 18-Month-Old Toddler’s Teething
Between the age of 16 to 22 months, your toddler’s upper cuspids might tend to appear so you might be facing another round of teething. These are the teeth beyond the four central teeth. Bracey does not have these teeth just yet. Having your child chomp on a chilled washcloth, frozen teething toys and child-safe teething gels can be helpful.
How Much Should my 18-Month-Old be Talking?
Most 18-month-olds are saying 10 words and half are saying about 20 words. Some toddlers are uttering verbs and others are already stringing together short phrases. None of my older children said so many words at this age. Bracey continues to say a few distinguishable words and then spends most of the day babbling in a language we don’t understand. It’s funny to think that there is likely a meaning to what he is saying. Again, when it comes to when toddlers talk, my doctor has assured me that there is a huge range of normal. He has told me not to focus on counting the number of words Bracey utters but rather to focus on the development of his speech. Are you hearing more sounds, more repetition of sounds, and both verbal and non verbal communication? More chatting going on all the time? If so, these are great signs. Don’t worry about your friend’s kid who already got accepted to Harvard and is saying “onomatopoeia”. On the other hand, if you see regression or notice your child not communicating, nor making eye contact, nor attempting to show and ask for things, do talk to your doctor.
How Can I Encourage my 17-Month-Old to Talk
Read, dance, play music, sing, narrate everyday activities (both what you do and what your child does) and integrate as many words into your child’s day as possible. Don’t turn on the TV but turn on children’s songs and even listen to the news as long as it’s not too violent. I remember watching the news with my parents when I was little. Although baby talk is fine because of the enunciation and the repetition, my doctor advised me to talk to my toddler like an adult and to explain adult-like things (within reason). Not sure I would describe my latest work nemesis but include your child in your world.
How Should my 18-Month-Old be Moving?
A lot of toddlers are not only walking at this point, they are running. They are taking the world by storm. Give them as much opportunity to do that as possible. Where? While at the playground, spot them up and down the slide, and onto and off the jungle gym. While at home, try climbing up and down the sofa or a chair while spotting your child. Try hopping and jumping. Try throwing a ball back and forth. Have your baby scoot around the house on a bicycle, using a pushcart, on an animal, while using their legs. Do anything you can to get your baby moving. Try to avoid the stroller, the high chair, the car seat, and a bouncy seat, which do not encourage your baby to develop strength and balance in their legs, back and arms.
Intellectual Activities for a 18-Month-Old-Toddler
Read, read, read … talk, talk, talk … dance and play music, and try to make the world as colorful and language-rich as possible. Give both fine motor activities and gross motor activities an intellectual component by making them language-rich.
Developing Fine Motor Skills in your 18-Month-Old Toddler
Keep using all the same toys just try to get more skilled at using them in the way intended. Try to stack blocks higher and higher while counting. Encourage your baby to place puzzle pieces into their slots, while counting how many puzzle pieces they can do. Stringing blocks onto a string teaches precision and promotes dexterity. While drawing, try to outline more shapes while articulating the colors. With trains, put the tracks together and then watch your child bring the train along the track. If you’re up for it, finger painting is fun for kids and some advise doing this with pudding, which can make for a yummy treat. My older kids loved Magnatiles. These are expensive but you will get years out of them. I love playing with them myself.
Tips on Child Proofing your House for your Toddler
A whole other range of considerations come into play at this point since your toddler can now reach cupboards and drawers that are higher up, and they could potentially get up to the height of a window by climbing onto a chair. Essentially, you want to make sure that there is no possible unsafe area in your house. Place gates at the top of staircases. Make sure your windows have guards: I am actually looking into double garding mine this week. We have a small terrace and the rule is that Bracey cannot go there AT ALL. I’ve actually blocked the doors to that terrace from my living room with two strollers. I’m not a fan of negative thinking but when you have a toddler, you must think about any possible unsafe thing that can happen, and protect against that. Put cleaning supplies high up and out of reach. Same with knives, high up and inaccessible. You get the idea. I would walk around the house with my partner and a friend, make a list and then go to Home Depot or hire someone to make your home as safe as possible. Do whatever you need to do. Safety is first.
What Should my 18-Month-Old be Eating?
A lot of parents wonder what exactly their 18-month-old toddler should be eating. Keep presenting your four main food groups – grains, fruits, vegetables and dairy or its equivalent – in smaller portions than an adult would have. You likely will need to increase the quantities. Give three meals and two snacks. While some experts recommend two 8-ounce glasses of whole milk per day, others say three. I give three. I am still nursing four times a day (although Bracey does not eat huge amounts), and on top, I give around a cup and a half of milk, two yogurts and cheese to Bracey. Try to vary things as much as possible and you flavor and season the food although I would keep salt and sugar at bay. Remember to add butter, olive oil or coconut oil to your baby’s diet. A good way to do this is to whip up a shake with milk, a fruit (berries are great) and to throw in some oil.
Breastmilk (Milk) Solids and Sleep Schedule for 18-Month-Old Toddler
Your baby should be having three meals a day and two healthy snacks. This is the last month of the two-nap schedule since by 18 months your baby will likely have graduated to one nap. Now, one thing you can do is push the morning nap back and then give your baby a slightly later cat nap but be careful with this because experts say not to let your baby sleep past 3pm. You don’t have to give the milk first but if you are having trouble continuing to breastfeed as I am, I think it makes it easier for your child to breastfeed on an empty stomach. If you are not breastfeeding, you do not need to give the milk first.
Schedule for Breastfeeding or Milk Feeding Babies at 18 Months of Age
- 7am – breastmilk or milk then breakfast (or breakfast first).
- 10am – morning snack.
- 12am – breastmilk or milk then solids lunch. Sleep 1:30-3pm.
- 3pm – milk feeding and snack.
- 5pm – dinner.
- 6pm – final milk feeding.
- 7pm – night night.
Bracey has fun each morning pushing the control for my window shade and watching it go up and down. He enjoyed some yummy crisp Swedish bread on a trip for his uncle’s birthday party. Keeping on top of him at the airport was no picnic. He enjoys reading on his own, often with the book upside down. Hugs and kisses from Grandpa and Grandma made for a wonderful month.