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Your 10-Month-Old

Cruising, crawling… maybe even walking? In your 10-month-old, you can already see elements of toddlerhood popping up. Your baby might be emulating your behaviors, babbling with great purpose and showing big thoughts and feelings about what you do or don't do—all signs of her budding personality.

Eat

Even if your baby is eating solid food like a champ, it's a good idea to anticipate what board-certified infant feeding specialist Cynthia Epps calls the eventual "food wars." Between 10 months and two years, says Epps, kids experience a developmental surge in independence. When it comes to mealtime, that can mean your baby wants to be in charge. "You'll be feeding a sweet, compliant baby one day and the next morning, he refuses everything you offer and instead lunges for the spoon and tries to self-feed."

If your baby seems to want more control and is gravitating to self-feeding, set a healthy stage by putting him in a highchair to begin a meal, with three pieces of soft food to explore, suggests Epps. For example:

  • Small, soft pieces of cooked vegetables
  • Tofu squares
  • Ripe fruit with the skins removed

This will occupy his interest while you are preparing the family meal. At first, your child might be so focused on the challenge of articulating food from fingers to mouth that you'll have the opportunity to slip in spoonfuls of other mashed foods. But as self-feeding progresses, sooner or later you will have to respect your child's wishes to do it himself.

Sleep

Your 10-month-old is most likely napping two times a day, about 1–2 hours at a time. Most babies do well with two naps until the age of about 15–18 months, says sleep consultant Heather Turgeon.

A sample sleep schedule for a 10-month-old:

Wake time: 6:45 a.m.

Nap 1: 9:30 a.m.

Nap 2: 2:30 p.m.

Bedtime: 7 p.m.

Is your baby pulling to a stand in the crib? When babies learn a new motor skill, they usually have a period of wild excitement to practice it, even at night. It's not uncommon for babies to take longer to fall asleep or wake up in the night to rehearse their new crawling and cruising abilities, says Turgeon. If you hang in there and keep to your normal sleep routines and schedule, the novelty of the new skill will eventually wear off and smoother sleep will return.

Play

Pause, watch and be curious about your baby's interests. What is she noticing and working on? If you can follow your baby's lead and let her direct the play, paradoxically, she will learn more from you. Learning experiences usually stem from an emotional connection or a genuine "passion" (even in the baby sense); what you teach your baby will mean so much more to her if you watch her interests and then build on them. Instead of labeling objects you want her to know the words for, watch what she's looking at (a blade of grass, a passing dog), label it and expand on that.

Playing with a 10-month-old can be as simple as just sitting on the floor and letting your baby crawl to a box of tissue paper she can rip to pieces while you watch. Believe it or not, that's valuable play for her brain.

Also make sure to have plenty of music and dancing in your house. Music is good for everyone's mood and dancing can turn even the most stressful day into a fun one. You don't need to listen to children's music. Any good beat—whether it's hip-hop, jazz or rock—is great.

Milestones

  • Your baby can pull from a seated position to a standing position. She may get stuck there, but you can gently guide her back down and she will learn the motor pattern soon enough.
  • Watch your baby as she cruises around, walking and shuffling while holding onto the furniture.
  • Some babies are starting to walk. Others don't walk until closer to 15 months—don't worry, all are in the normal range.
  • Learning size and shape, your baby can put small objects into larger ones.
  • Your baby understands one-step commands, like "wave bye-bye."
  • You baby is pointing at objects a lot, to communicate with you.

LOOK AHEAD: Your 11-Month-Old

Photograph by: Getty Images

Explore More: baby care, sleep, milestones, baby feeding, Baby 101, Month by Month
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