There’s nothing quite like watching your baby take on new challenges, from trying to stand and then walk, to attempting to say his first real words. You’re no doubt feeling proud of your little one. Still, you may have questions about what’s coming in the weeks ahead, including what 10-month-old babies can eat, how long they should sleep, and which development milestones they typically achieve. We’ve got you covered on all this and more, so read on!
Baby Development Milestones
One of the paradoxes of your baby’s development at 10 months is that while he’s eager to become more mobile and independent, he may also be cautious about straying too far from you and may even cry when you’re out of sight. Read on to learn more about what your 10-month-old baby may be experiencing this month, including the development milestones he may reach around this time.
Growth and Physical Development: Steady Gains
Don’t get too attached to your favorite baby clothes! Your 10-month-old baby will likely continue to grow rapidly this month as he makes his way toward nearly tripling his birth weight by his first birthday. All babies grow at their own pace, and there’s no single growth standard for a baby. Instead, during your baby’s regular checkups, the healthcare provider will chart your baby’s weight, length, and head circumference to make sure he’s on track for healthy development. You can read more about how baby growth charts are used here.
Movement: Up, Up, and Away!
You might have noticed that when your baby is awake, he’s moving nonstop. If he’s on his tummy he’ll arch his back to look around; if he’s on his back he’ll grab his toes. At other times, he may be rolling over or rocking on his hands and knees. All of these movements strengthen his muscles, improve his coordination, and teach him what his various body parts can do.
Each baby is different, but around this time your baby could be trying to pull himself up to stand. Seeing everyone else walking makes him eager to follow suit! Once he stands, he might worry that he won’t be able to sit down again, which is a little trickier. If you sense he’s having trouble, show him how you bend your knees to return to the floor and he might be able to copy you.
Once your baby can stand more confidently, he might take a few tentative steps while holding onto furniture. This is known as “cruising.” Soon, he’ll try taking a few cautious steps without holding onto anything. This might end in him dropping to the floor, but he’ll grow more skilled with each try.
After months and months of tummy time and all those movements designed to strengthen his muscles in preparation for walking, you might be surprised at how quickly things progress now. Once he takes those tentative first steps, it may only be a few more days before your baby is walking with confidence. What a miracle!
Cognitive Development: Hello, Can You Hear Me?
Long before your baby can say real words, he can understand some of what you’re saying. You might even be surprised at how much babies can understand! For example, if you say the name of his favorite toy, he may look toward it, showing you he knows what you’re referring to. If he’s created his own word for something, you can treat that as his word. For example, if he calls his favorite teddy “tata,” respond by giving it to him and saying the word “teddy” to reinforce the right word. In time, he’ll correct himself. Whether it’s now or in the coming months, your baby will soon be able to say simple words like “no,” “mama,” and “dada.”
Your little one will soon start to mimic the way you use objects, too. If he has a toy phone, he might put it to his ear, just as he’s seen you do. Take advantage of his interest in imitating you by teaching him how objects are used. Let him “brush” his hair with a hairbrush or his teeth with a toothbrush. At mealtimes let him play at using a cup and spoon.
While your baby plays at using the phone, how much do you use technology as part of parenting? If you have a minute, we’d love to hear about your experiences via our short quiz.
How to Support Your Baby’s Development
As always, there’s lots you can do to help your baby grow and develop. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Place some sturdy, safe objects in a low drawer or cupboard for your baby to discover and play with. Finding new things on his own is exciting for him and will help boost his confidence.
As your baby learns to pull himself up to a stand, stairs might start to interest him. Add baby gates for safety, but consider allowing him onto the lowest step under close supervision with you standing right below him.
Teach your baby the actions that go with words like “bye-bye,” “yes,” and “no.” For example, show him how to wave bye-bye, nod yes, and shake his head no.
Experts recommend not to put your baby in a baby walker. These devices are dangerous and may actually decrease his motivation to walk. Instead, consider a stationary walker, a play center, or a push car with a bar he can hold onto.
The toys your 10-month-old baby plays with don’t have to be expensive; your baby may be fascinated by an empty box, an egg carton, or even a toilet paper tube that he can bend, tear, and scrunch. If you do want to choose some toys for your 10-month-old baby, go for things like a large doll or puppet, a toy telephone, or a “busy box” with features that squeak, push, move, open, and roll. These will help develop his fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
Feeding Your 10-Month-Old Baby
Your baby needs about 750 to 900 calories each day, with about half coming from breast milk or formula and the rest from solids. In addition to spoon feeding your baby or letting him handle using a spoon, you can also give your 10-month-old baby finger foods to encourage him to feed himself. Try small pieces of tofu or cheese, peas, diced fruit, and well-cooked pasta. Try to be patient with his slow pace and with the amount of food that ends up everywhere but in his mouth, as he’s still learning. The more you let him try, the sooner he’ll grow more capable and confident.
At some point around this time, you could introduce your baby to the sippy cup. Get started with a trainer cup, which has a lid, two handles, and a soft straw or spout. At first your baby will treat it like a plaything, which is totally OK. Add a little water and show your baby how to drink from it, and before long he’ll start to mimic you. In time, fill it with breast milk or formula instead of water. Using the cup will help improve your baby’s hand-to-mouth coordination, and will help prepare him for weaning from breastfeeding or bottle-feeding when the time comes. Keep in mind that it may be many months before your baby drinks all of his liquids from a cup. For now, this is just a casual introduction — all babies have to start somewhere.
Here’s an example of a daily menu for your 10-month-old including both baby food and breast milk or formula. It also gives you an idea of approximately how much baby food to give your 10-month-old.
Eating Out With Your Little One
Going out for a meal with your baby may seem daunting, but these tips may help:
Call the restaurant ahead of time to make sure it is baby-friendly and has a high chair. Take some baby wipes just in case it’s necessary to clean the chair.
Consider feeding your baby beforehand; you may find he sleeps right through.
If your baby will be eating with you, take his food, spoon, and bib.
Don’t be embarrassed if your baby starts crying. Instead, be flexible and ready to either do a little soothing or to grab the check early.
Take some soft toys and baby books that your little one can play with without making too much noise.
How Much Sleep Does a 10-Month-Old Baby Need?
Ten-month-old babies typically sleep about 10 to 12 hours each night and have two naps during the day. Some babies start to need the morning nap less and less.
Around this time, your baby may develop what’s known as separation anxiety — he becomes upset when he’s away from you or can’t see you. This can cause problems at night, when your baby wakes to find you’re not there. Here are some do’s and don’ts to guide you if your baby wakes in the night:
Check to make sure he’s comfortable and isn’t sick.
Pat him gently and quietly tell him it’s OK — you’re nearby if he needs you.
If a diaper change is needed, do it quickly with minimal fuss, and put him right back to bed in his crib.
Don’t turn on the light, rock him, feed him, walk him, or take him to your bed. These actions will just reward him for waking and will prolong this stage.
If a daylight savings time change is coming up, this can also prompt sleep disruption. Learn how to transition your baby’s sleep time smoothly.
A Day in the Life of Your Baby
Every baby is different, but here’s a glimpse of what a typical day could look like with your baby.
Your Baby’s Health: Dental Care
You might have seen your baby’s first teeth poke through already — or maybe not yet, as timing varies widely for teething. By age 3, most children have all of their primary teeth in. No matter how many teeth she has now, it’s important to care for your baby’s teeth and gums each day. Here’s how:
Twice a day, clean your baby’s teeth with a soft baby toothbrush and a small amount of toothpaste designed for babies. If no teeth are in yet, gently wipe the gums with a soft washcloth or soft toothbrush. Read more about baby dental care, including what toothpaste to pick and how long to brush for.
Never let your baby fall asleep with a bottle. This causes milk to pool in her mouth, leading to tooth decay.
If your baby shows signs of discomfort from teething gently — like irritability, crying, or tender or swollen gums — try to relieve the soreness by massaging her gums with your finger or giving her a rubber teething ring to bite on.
Unfortunately, at some point your baby may suffer a tooth injury. Read more about how to treat a baby tooth problem here.
Here are two more health topics worth knowing about:
Food allergies. Young children can have allergic reactions to things like cow’s milk (which should not be introduced before 12 months), eggs, peanuts, soy, and wheat. Symptoms of a food allergy can be mild or severe and can include things like a rash, diarrhea, breathing difficulties, or pale skin. Your baby’s healthcare provider will diagnose any allergy and may recommend a course of action. It could be that you need to ensure your baby doesn’t eat foods she’s allergic to. In some cases, children grow out of their allergy.
Roseola. If your baby has a fever of between 102 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit, and then develops a rash on her trunk once the fever goes away, it could be a viral illness called roseola. Other symptoms include a runny nose, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, cough, and irritability. Contact your baby’s healthcare provider for treatment advice. Roseola is contagious during the fever phase, so it may be best to keep your child away from other children while the fever is present. Read more about roseola here.
Your Life as a Parent: Tips for Sharing Parental Duties
Talking about parenting with your partner can be challenging. The key is to remember that there is no “perfect” family, nor one way to parent, and that roles and responsibilities may need to change along the way. Figuring out how to share parenting duties and household chores is going to be an ongoing discussion. But it’s best to be open and honest to avoid frustration and resentment building up. Consider these ideas:
Split the chores. Create a list of the common daily, weekly, and monthly household chores and find a way to split these chores fairly. Perhaps one parent can contribute more mid-week, while the other takes over on weekends.
Take turns with baby care. One or both of you may be working, but you’re both likely to want to be involved and invested in raising your child. Can you share who gets up at night to soothe your little one if she cries? Can one of you handle the morning feeds, the other the evenings? Can you split who takes days off if your baby is sick, and share who does the childcare runs?
Remain flexible. Things change and your family’s needs evolve. Sit down with your partner regularly to discuss what’s working and what isn’t.
Spend time together as a family. Set aside some time regularly when you can all be together as a family in a more relaxed way. It could be playing on the floor together, sharing family mealtimes, or going for walks on the weekend.
Seek help to resolve conflicts. Conflicts are a natural part of a relationship and every family dynamic, but your little one is sensitive to the emotions of the people who care for her. If you need help resolving conflicts, ask your healthcare provider whether there are relationship counselors or other professionals you could consult.
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