Baby Development Month-by-Month: Month Ten

By now, your baby will likely be enjoying her freedom in many ways, keeping you on your toes every minute of the day.

Here is what you can expect from your little explorer this month.

Feeding and sleeping

At ten months old, babies need on average around 13-14 hours of sleep over a 24-hour period, possibly including two naps during the day – usually a shorter one in the morning and a longer one in the afternoon. As all babies are different, you may notice variations from this, particularly when she is teething, unwell or learning a new skill. If you have not yet already, now might be a good time to drop your baby’s cot down to the lowest level as she learns to pull herself up to standing and may attempt to escape in the early hours of the morning.

By now, you may have settled into a regular routine with mealtimes and snack times, experimenting with chunkier purées or a broad range of finger foods, depending on your choice of weaning method. There may be days when your little one seems disinterested in foods that she has previously enjoyed, and it is important not to force her to eat anything as she will eat when she is hungry, and mealtimes should be an enjoyable experience for all involved. Your baby will still need regular milk feeds during the day and at bedtime and there should be no change to the volume of milk that your baby needs at this stage. Try to mix up the foods you are giving her – including plenty of vegetables – as it is not uncommon for babies to refuse meals they have previously eaten happily, often out of boredom.

Your GP or health visitor will be able to advise if you are worried about your baby’s feeding pattern and weight gain.

Communication

Your baby’s understanding of language will precede her ability to say real words, and she is likely to understand things such as ‘yes’ , ‘no’, and ‘bye’ at this age. She may also be able to respond to simple questions with a hand gesture or vocalisation, saying simple words back to you such as ‘mama’ and ‘dada’.

Around this age, your baby may also start to show signs of separation anxiety which is a normal part of her development. This may show with her becoming clingier with you or with a favourite cuddly toy or comforter. This stage of development generally peaks by 15 months and lessens from two years of age.

Senses and physical development

Your baby will be increasingly mobile with each passing day – crawling at a rapid pace, pulling herself up to standing, and maybe even cruising around the room using furniture for support. Keep an eye out for any household hazards, keeping cleaning materials and harmful substances well out of reach and locked away.

At ten months old, your little one’s hand-to-eye coordination will allow her to hold items in each hand, drop items deliberately for you to pick up (a fun game for everyone involved), and use her pincer grip to home in on smaller items. Watch out for her trying to pop those smaller items into her mouth once she gets hold of them successfully.

Teething will be well underway by now and it often feels relentless with one tooth popping up after another. Cold teething toys are ideal for teething babies to gnaw on, particularly if she has started to bite you or other family members. You may also want to organise a trip to the dentist if you have not yet done so already, introducing gentle brushing to her daily routine.

Playing with your ten-month-old

You can encourage your baby’s language development by voicing the things she is asking for as you go about your day. For example, if she points at her sippy cup, say something like, ‘would you like your sippy cup?’ This will help her to make links between words and the world around her. Labelling body parts as you dress her or pointing to trees and cars on your daily walk are easy ways to keep the conversation flowing throughout the day.

Continue to regularly read together, perhaps as part of her bedtime routine. She may show less interest in sitting and looking at each page in turn, but she will have fun playing with books, turning the pages, and giving them a chew!

Peek-a-boo and hide-and-seek games can help your baby to understand that items and people still exist even after they have gone away, which can help to support her through the separation anxiety stage.

Push-along and ride-on toys are good for supporting your baby’s physical development, helping her on her way to walking independently around the room. Be sure to regularly praise her efforts as well as her successes, building up her self esteem and promoting her independence through play.

While the above indicates what you can expect to see your baby going this month, it is important to keep in mind that all babies are unique and will develop at their own pace. If you have any concerns about your baby’s development, talk to your doctor or health visitor.

Jen Dowding, Baby massage and baby yoga instructor, Basking Babies Laindon & Orsett

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