He’s in double figures at last! Okay, so it’s months and not years, but his development is moving at a cracking pace. More than ever before you’re probably aware of your baby’s personality, as he’s starting to make his feelings very clear.
1. Your baby will probably reach a huge, but largely unnoticed milestone this month, using a word correctly for the first time. No prizes for guessing that the word is usually ‘mama’ or ‘dada’. The reason you might not notice is your baby may already be using these words, but this month the jigsaw fits into place and he becomes fully aware of what the label means.
2. Don’t be surprised if your baby suddenly gets frightened by something he didn’t mind until now. He may look alarmed and cry when you’re pulling his clothes over his head, or when he hears the doorbell, and cling to you for reassurance. Help your baby by calmly making it clear that you’re not afraid. Don’t laugh at him or tell him that he’s silly to be scared.
3. He may manage to crawl upstairs for the first time this month (make sure you’re right behind, in case he’s not as good as he thinks). Getting down, though, is another matter and he’s not going to be able to do this for a while. Studies show he can understand the concept of depth by now and is unlikely to attempt to go downstairs; at least not head first!
4. Your baby is becoming more confident on his feet, and can now sit from a standing position. That might not sound much of an achievement, but he’s not just plopping down because he’s tired; he’s able to control his movement much more finely than even a week or two ago. Over the next few days and weeksthis movement will become smoother.
5. He still prefers humans to toys. He’ll imitate gestures and facial expressions. One study found he’s learned to smile even if he feels a bit wary or uneasy about meeting someone new. Researchers have found that this ‘polite smile’ babies use for strangers is inferior to the ‘laughing eyes’ smile they reserve for the people they really care about.
Help them learn
There’s a lot you can do to stimulate and encourage your baby
- Now he’s connecting words properly to objects or experiences, it’s more important than ever to reinforce his learning by giving him a running commentary on everything you do. As he starts to use words, give him feedback to let him know he’s getting it right: ‘You can see a dog! Yes, I can see the dog too.’
- He loves exploring and likes nothing more than to turn all the pots and pans out of your cupboards. Check there’s nothing too heavy or dangerous in there and let him enjoy himself; studies show that 10 months is the age when babies start to play independently for just a few moments. With you nearby he’ll be able to occupy himself.
- He’s at a perfect age for a crawl-through-tunnel. Either buy one or make your own using cardboard boxes with the ends cut out and stuck together with sticky tape. Once your baby’s got used to the tunnel, make it more interesting by putting soft toys, small blankets and other ‘obstacles’ in there and let him work out how to get past them.
- He loves a challenge, so try this: Show him a toy with bells then hide it under one of four cushions. Lift each cushion and shake it, ‘searching’ for the bells. His face will light up when you find the bells together.
- He adores water play, so allow extra bathtime. Toys don’t have to be elaborate; he’ll be fascinated just pouring water from one container to another, so use plastic cups and bowls from the kitchen.
At 10 months, babies are ready to play hide and seek with ‘discovery’ toys
- Remember, babies are individuals and develop at different rates. If you have any concerns, see your GP or health visitor.