17 Months Old: Baby Growth, Development, Foods and Activities

17 Months Old Baby Growth and Development

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Arti Sharma (Paediatrician)
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17 months for your little baby is that time in life when toddlers are beginning to try out a lot of new things. You will see significant development in their physical, behavioural and social skills as well. It is important to keep track of your baby’s growth, and this guide will help you.

Video: Your 17 Month Old Baby’s Growth and Development

17-Month-Old Toddler Development

There are so many things that your child will start doing at this stage. You will be happy to see the sudden enhancement of all skills in your little baby. At times, you will be surprised at how she is doing things on her own, and at times you will also get upset because your child is not really listening to you and following your instructions. Well, don’t force your instructions on your child. Rather allow her to make little decisions and intrude only when you think her decisions are not safe.

Physical Development

This is the stage when your little one’s physical development has suddenly improved. Some things that you notice are

  • She is actually able to walk by herself and will also insist on independently walking.
  • At times, you will notice your baby trying to sneak out of bed all by herself.
  • Your child will also experiment with climbing on things. And this could be your furniture, your bed or anything that is high.
  • By now, you will notice how your child uses her hands to hold things and to eat. You can even notice which hand she prefers at this point.

It is important to allow her to practice these things, but at the same time, watch out for the risks. To be on the safer side, mark out places that are unsafe and communicate them with your child. Although your child might not reciprocate your instructions, over time, she will be able to identify the danger zone.

Social and Emotional Development

  • During this phase, your little one will be exploring relationships and will start to recognize familiar faces as well.
  • Your child may use physical measures such as hitting and biting when she is frustrated. Her anger, her happiness, her sorrow, all of it is crystal clear. She has learned the art of communicating how she is feeling.
  • Another social behaviour that you can spot in your baby is that she will be able to recognize other people quite easily now. She knows your neighbour, your friends and the people you meet quite often. Sometimes she can seem antisocial, but allow her to take her time and interact. Avoid forcing children to talk and be social. They will find their way to make friends and interact in their own time and pace.
  • You will also notice how your toddler is quite possessive about you. This can happen because of separation anxiety which many children go through as they grow up. They have the feeling that they will soon be separated from their parents. You can help them fight this by encouraging them and being very kind and supportive. Assure them that you are next to them when they feel that way.

Although you are happy about these huge 17-month-old baby milestones, you might get frustrated at times by the way she is growing out of your control. It might get really difficult to get her to listen to you. These are things most parents go through. What you could do to overcome it is patient and do not lose your cool. By getting angry or shouting, you might be making things worse.


Cognitive and Language Development

  • This is the stage when babies start exploring language and start saying new words. Well, some words might not even sound right.
  • It will take you a while to get used to how and what she is saying. Sometimes, they will even learn multiple words during this stage in life.
  • Little things will also fascinate her quite fast. Even if you are chopping your vegetables or if you are pouring her some water, she might be a keen observer.


You will even notice that children of this age start making small decisions. It is important to allow them to do so, and also help them if they are struggling with it. As the child grows up, you will start seeing her ignoring your orders and making her own decisions. This is absolutely fine. By now you must allow her to explore and figure out her way through little things instead of you giving her orders every other minute. However, watch out for things that are not safe and make sure to correct your little one kindly if required.

Always remember that this is the stage when the baby is experimenting with things, and so it is better to keep her away from what is dangerous and unhealthy, like a hot cup of tea or other poisonous things that are in the house.

Food and Nutrition

When it comes to eating habits and food, you got to be a wise as this is the age when your little one is growing, and she really needs enough nutrients to keep her going and growing.

However, when it comes to food, you might struggle to feed your little baby. Again, you will notice how your little child used to eat a lot better when she was younger. But suddenly things have changed. You have to run around the house just to feed your little kid. At times, this might be extremely frustrating as well.

One thing you can do at this stage is to give your little child smaller portions throughout the day. Some great food options for your 17-month-old baby are fruits, whole milk, cheese, vegetables, yoghurt, porridge, meat etc.

By now you don’t have to restrict too many food options as your little one would have learned to eat, and the body would have started digesting them well too. However, make sure you are able to give your baby healthy food as she needs a lot of energy during this phase of life.


When it comes to sleeping, your tiny toddler needs as much sleeping as she used to get when she was younger. Which means she should be getting around 14 hours of sleep. Sleep is extremely important in your little one’s development so make sure not to deny your little one sleep.

When your baby is around this age, you might also find it difficult to put her to sleep. You might be surprised because all this while your baby was sleeping so peacefully, but suddenly she is cribbing about sleep.

This is something that most parents undergo and it is called the 18-month sleep regression. You will realize that she is waking up in the night, crying, and sometimes putting her to sleep also will seem like a huge task at hand. You might find it really difficult to control her sleeping patterns. If this is something, you are going through. It is called the sleep regression that babies of around 17 to 18 months go through.

There are quite a few reasons that explain this regression from a peaceful sleep to this disrupted patterns of sleep. Well, some of the reasons are

  • Your little one is now making important decisions in life. This means she is also practising her independence by not choosing to sleep when she has to.
  • Separation anxiety is a real problem for little babies who are around this age. So your little child might be staying awake so that she does not have to stay away from you. You can shower her with love and assure her that you are right there by her side.

Play and Activities

By the time your little angel is 17 months old, you will notice how they are quite seriously engaged in playful activities. In fact, this is the one thing that increases your little one’s creativity. So make sure to encourage her to play.


You will notice your little baby dancing and enjoy physical movements in general. This is the period when quite a few motor skills are developing. She will be able to play with blocks and even separate blocks based on colours and shapes.

The other things that you will notice your toddler doing are running, kicking and sometimes jumping even.

Tips for Parents

This is a stage in life when parents witness a lot of changes. At times, you might feel extremely overwhelmed, and you have no idea what to do with your child. Take joy in these little things as your child is learning to be more independent. Some of the things that you must keep in mind are

  • Visit a doctor if you see anything unusual in her health.
  • Some children might not be as fast as other children. This is absolutely fine, just give your little one some time. If it is stressing you out the meet with a doctor.
  • Taking this time to teach your child little things like new words, habits and patterns can also go a long way.

Consult a Doctor If

When children grow, their bodies are still adjusting to a lot of new things. This can lead to them falling sick. Some of the signs are:

  • Allergic reactions like rashes
  • Indigestion
  • High fever
  • Skin problems
  • Falling sick quite often

This is the time to celebrate and be happy for your little one who is growing really fast. Don’t try too much even if the child is going out of control. This stage will pass by quite fast. Your little one will soon be more mature, and you will be able to communicate a lot better with her. Learn to be patient and enjoy the stage by spending quality time with your tiny tot.

Always remember that this is the age of development and growth and it is extremely important to be there and help your little one go through this phase.

Also Read: 30 Outdoor & Indoor Physical Activities for Kids

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