Baby's 16th Month - A Guide To Development And Milestones

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Babies develop with each passing day. By the time your baby is 16 months old, they attain several capabilities. The 16-month-old baby’s developmental milestones include walking around with baby steps. The baby may also run, climb, and jump.

Some babies of this age also start to utter at least two to three words, while the chatty ones may utter even more. Teething is also observed during this period. Read on to know more about the developmental milestones of your 16-month-old baby.

In This Article

16-Month-Old Baby Development Milestones

At this age, your baby is developing at a rapid speed. Scroll down as we list the 16-month-old milestones so that you can track your baby’s development.

  • Your baby is quite the grown-up at this age and can follow different directions.
  • She will be walking on her own. In fact, you may also find her walking backwards.
  • She may be able to kick balls and jump with time as well as learn to climb.
protip_icon Do remember
Childproof your house (if you haven’t) as your little one is still practicing walking and balancing skills, and offer support to master the skills.
  • Language development also takes a turn for the better at this age. She will gradually learn to string words to make phrases, for example, I want this or give me.
  • You can now hold basic conversations with her.
  • She may learn to giggle when you make funny faces or tickle her gently. She is generally responsive to your actions.
  • Be prepared; she will say “no” to you more often. She will express her likes and dislikes as well.
  • She will repeat the actions you approve of.
  • Even though she is not ready to read, her attention span will start to increase as she will love to stare at pictures and point at them.
  • Give her a crayon or a pencil to scribble.
  • Her need for independence may be seen in instances such as she will want to feed on her own and she will try to hold the spoon.
  • You can start her toilet-training at this age.

Christine, a mother of two and a blogger, joyfully shares her son Lucas’s latest developmental milestones at 16 months. She says, “Luca just turned 16 months and has officially begun walking! I say it’s official because he now prefers walking over crawling. For the last month or so, he has been taking steps on his own but still preferred to crawl. For the last three months, he has been walking while holding our hands, and for about four months, he’s been standing up on his own and ‘cruising’ on furniture or anything he can hold on to (i).”

Each child takes their own time to achieve the milestone. Some may be faster in fine and gross skills development, others in mental or emotional development and still others in social skills development. There is no need for you to worry, even if she has not reached the expected milestones. You can speak to your doctor and ask if intervention of any sort is necessary.

Importance Of Oral Hygiene:

Brushing begins at the 16th month of age. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (APD), you must take your baby to a dentist for the first time when she is 6 months old. Here are some tips:

  • You must be aware of the oral hygiene for your baby. The toothbrush you choose must be soft and meant for little ones.
  • You can begin her oral hygiene routine with warm water. For the toothpaste, you need to wait till she is capable of rinsing and spitting.
  • Don’t feel disappointed if she is not willing to brush. She will learn with time.
protip_icon Quick tip
Use a soft-bristled brush for your baby’s teeth and cover all surfaces of teeth, tongue, and the roof of the mouth. Be gentle and avoid brushing harshly, as it could damage their tender gums.

Other Developments:

Your baby at this age is ready to say magic words like “thank you” and “please”. However, you must not push her at every instance to say them. Every baby has her own pace of development. Maybe she just needs a little more time.

  • Your baby at this age will be full of curiosity and observe when people use such words and may try to copy them.
  • Babies learn by imitating. You need to set good examples for your child to imitate and learn new etiquette.
  • Playing is the core activity through which babies learn. Give her age appropriate toys that can aid in her sensory exploration. Push toys like trucks and buses can encourage her to walk. Simple things like plastic boxes and wooden spoons can help her learn too.
  • Watch your little one having fun for hours together with anything she gets hold of at this age. Inexpensive bath toys such as nesting beakers are very popular among babies.

As A Parent:

Parents play an important role in shaping a baby’s behavior. Remember your baby considers you her role model. So always behave well when she is around. Here are the different ways you can help your baby:

  • We understand that temper tantrums are hard to deal with. But they can become easier for you to handle if you understand what she wants and decide accordingly.
  • Aggression is natural human responses, but the difference between you and your baby is that you have learned to handle it. Be calm and act right.
  • To show her frustrations she may throw things at you or her siblings. It is your responsibility to bring her under control if she throws or hits in inappropriate ways.
  • Take your child for a walk outside regularly. This will provide her ample scope to enhance her running.
  • In case you are planning to get back to work, it is very important that you organize your chores. Planning in advance and prioritization will help you spend quality time with your child.
  • Your baby is now busy exploring the world around her and is developing different skills. Her activities help her to get comfortable with the surroundings.
  • Help her become aware of her abilities and set simple rules.

Why Does Your Toddler Like To Repeat Things?

Repetition is one of the basic building blocks of early education. Moreover, it lends a sense of comfort to young children. They can improve on sensory exploration, enhance their language, get attention, be encouraged to express themselves, and even explore their surroundings. Parents may find it tiring to read the same book every day for a month, but a toddler knows the structure of the book and derives comfort from the routine (1). If they prefer reading the same book or listening to the same rhyme every day, do not refuse to repeat. Understand that repetitions are normal and also recommended so they learn and grow.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What fine motor skills should a 16-month-old have?

A 16-month-old will usually display the fine motor skills of turning pages, using both the thumb and fingers in a coordinated manner, building a two-block tower, pointing at objects, placing or removing an object from a container, identifying and putting simple shapes into puzzles, and spontaneous scribbling (2).

2. Should I be worried if my 16-month-old isn’t talking?

A 16-month-old baby will usually imitate the sounds made by parents and try saying words, such as “Momma” and “Dadda.” Consult a pediatrician if you do not notice your baby talking or babbling much (3).

3. What is considered talking for a 16-month-old?

Babbling, including single consonant sounds such as p, b, m, d, or n, using simple nouns, saying words such as “uh-oh,” “wow,” or “no,” and saying “Momma” and “Dadda” are considered talking for a 16-month-old (3) (4).

4. How much sleep does a 16-month-old need?

A 16-month-old needs around 11 to 14 hours of sleep, including naps. As toddlers start walking and talking, they may transition to fewer or shorter naps, typically one per day, and more nighttime sleep. Establishing consistent routines and positive reinforcement is crucial for a good sleep routine (5).

5. What should be the feeding schedule for a 16-month-old baby?

A 16-month-old feeding schedule involves offering a variety of family foods, ensuring each meal is nutritionally packed. They can consume three-quarters to one cup of food three to four times daily, accompanied by one to two snacks between meals. If not breastfeeding, the baby may require more frequent meals (6). It’s important to provide a well-balanced and nutritious diet to support their growth and development.

When babies attain 16 months, they are at the end of infancy and gradually move towards toddlerhood. Your baby could be walking, giggling, and trying to self-feed themselves and have basic conversations with you at this age. However, it is important for you as a parent to follow the necessary safety measures while at home or outdoors to keep your baby safe at all times. Spend time, go for walks, and read and sing to your baby to promote their overall growth. Nevertheless, if you are concerned about your 16-month-old baby’s development, you may speak to their pediatrician.

Infographic: 16-Month-Old Baby Development Milestones

16-month-old babies are at an exciting stage of development as they start acquiring new abilities rapidly. The infographic below details the milestones your little one may have attained by this month; remember to encourage their development by providing a safe and stimulating environment. Also, get involved in your baby’s growth to enjoy watching them grow and reach new milestones in your presence.

signs your baby is developing right at 16 months (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Moms tell us about your experience with your baby development at 16 months in the comment section below.

Key Pointers

  • A 16-month-old baby is capable of following directions, walking independently, kicking balls, and walking backward.
  • The baby is able to communicate her preferences and frequently expresses herself by saying “No”.
  • Use a soft-bristled brush to clean all surfaces of your baby’s teeth, tongue, and the roof of her mouth.
  • Set positive examples for your child to imitate and learn proper etiquette.
  • Handle tantrums with patience and avoid displaying aggression, as young children learn from observing their environment.

Personal Experience: Source

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. The wonder of repetition in childhood development.
    https://www.npr.org/2023/07/14/1187847461/the-wonder-of-repetition-in-childhood-development
  2. Developmental Milestones: Fine Motor Skills and Visual Motor Skills.
    https://www.choc.org/userfiles/file/Rehab-Developmental%20Milestones%20final.pdf My Little One Isn’t
  3. Talking—Should I Be Worried?
    https://healthcare.utah.edu/the-scope/shows.php?shows=0_6ea126lf
  4. Speech and language development (from 12 to 24 months).
    https://www.gosh.nhs.uk/conditions-and-treatments/procedures-and-treatments/speech-and-language-development-12-24-months/
  5. How Much Sleep Your Kids Need: Recommendations by Age
    https://health.clevelandclinic.org/recommended-amount-of-sleep-for-children
  6. Feeding your baby: 1–2 years
    https://www.unicef.org/parenting/food-nutrition/feeding-your-baby-1-2-years
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Dr. Mubina Agboatwalla
Dr. Mubina AgboatwallaMBBS, DCH, MCPS
Dr. Mubina Agboatwalla is a well-known pediatrician, practicing paediatrics since the last 20 years in Karachi Pakistan. She is the head of the department of Pediatrics in Karachi Liaquat Hospital, as well as her private practice in three specialist clinics in Pediatrics.

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