Your baby at 10 months old

10-month-old baby

Now she's hit double figures, her unique personality is beginning to shine through. You probably know by now if you've got a wary wallflower or a do-anything daredevil on your hands, and have an idea of how she will react and behave in a variety of situations. Don't get too complacent either way as children change enormously as they grow, though by this stage she definitely has a character all of her own

She's also pretty certain in her own mind about things she likes and will show interest and excitement at them. She may well have a favourite song, toy and even person now. She's equally sure of things she doesn't like, too, as you'll notice when she does her solid wood floorboard impression on mornings when she's decided she doesn't fancy going out in the buggy or car seat. So screw you AND your supermarket shop, Mummy Dearest.

Physical development at 10 months old

She is crawling at an alarming speed now, and will zoom across a room, sit up, do a swift turn and then head off in another direction. She's also sitting really confidently and has a strong core and excellent balance, allowing her to stretch out and reach for toys around her without tumbling over.

Her newfound physical confidence means that she may well start trying to climb. Babies of 10 months can climb up things but not down so you may find her stranded on top of furniture. Now's a good time to look at baby-proofing again and ensure there is no furniture that could topple onto her if she tries to climb it. Chests of drawers with the bottom drawer left open are a particular hazard for this. If you need to use stair gates, now's the time to invest in those, too.

She's also become confident with her pincer grip, so make sure you don't leave anything small around that she could pick up and swallow. Coins are a prime culprit.

Walking is potentially on the horizon soon, and then you'll find yourself suddenly more active than you've been in years as you chase her everywhere.

How can I encourage my 10-month-old's physical development?

If you have a soft play suitable for babies near you, this is the age at which she'll really start to make the most of it (and you can relax knowing if she falls, she's not going to crack her head on any sharp corners – though she will inevitably manage to fall on top of another child). You could also try playing 'catch' with her with a bean bag or a sponge ball – beanbags work particularly well when she's sitting in the highchair.

Cognitive development at 10 months old

Her memory is pretty awesome now. As well as recognising a whole raft of familiar faces, she's also able to recognise faces she hasn't seen for months or weeks. She'll recognise toys and books that she knows, even if she hasn’t seen them for a while, so you might have to do some mediation when she spies a toy she has previously enjoyed at a baby group being played with by a tiny interloper. She will probably even be familiar with certain routes you take often in the car or buggy, so be aware that if the doctor’s surgery happens to be on the same route to the park and the duck pond, you may have a certain amount of disappointment to deal with when she gets a vaccination instead of a push in a swing and some bread to feed the ducks.

Her social skills are coming on in leaps and bounds and she's now likely to generously smile at almost anyone she meets. However, with this understanding of the world come new worries, and she might start to display signs of shyness, covering her face with her hands when she encounters someone new. This is the age at which she suddenly starts to be scared of noises, too, and a hand dryer in a public loo or even the doorbell might have her in tears. There's nothing much you can do about this – it's just a stage they need to work through, so simply be on hand to offer cuddles and comfort if the telephone ringing reduces her to a sobbing mess.

Speech development at 10 months old Baby on rug

There's still a big gap between what she understands and what she can say, but what she understands is growing all the time and she's now responding to what you say to show she understands. If you say 'Give Mummy the ball' or 'don't touch – hot' she'll probably do as she's told. She may even engage in 'conversation' of her own accord, starting to wave if she sees you going towards the front door. Try not to be offended – she's not hinting at you to leave.

She will repeat sounds she hears you make and attempt to copy you now. Discerning her first real 'word' from a copied noise can sometimes be tricky.

How can I encourage my 10-month-old's brain development?

There's lots you can do to encourage language development at this age. Gently and cheerfully correct her when she gets a word slightly wrong, but frame it positively – no one likes a grammar pedant. If she points at a teddy and says 'teb' say 'Yes, that's your teddy, well done!' You can also work on adding useful information into your general patter about what you're doing, with lots of adjectives and positional words. So rather than 'we're going out in the buggy now' try 'let's get up into your red buggy so we can go over to the park'. It'll be a long time before you hear her say most of those words but it all allows her brain to make connections about how language works.

Play and activities at 10 months old

Role play games are big news for her at 10 months. If you give her a hairbrush she may well try to brush her hair as she's seen you do, or she might try to throw a bag over her shoulder or put a hat on her head.

Songs that have everyday actions are great for reinforcing this. 'Here we go round the Mulberry Bush' seems to do nicely for almost any 'This is the way we…' scenario: 'This is the way we brush our teeth/comb our hair/go to bed… drink our gin'. See? Works for anything.

What toys are good for a 10-month-old?

Chunky plastic food and cups and saucers are great for role play so she can 'make you a cup of tea'. Toys that strengthen her pincer grip are also good – anything with a little lever or button to push will do it.

Baby milestones at 10 months old

By the time your baby is 10 months old she will probably be doing most of the following:

  • Saying 'mama' and 'dada' to the right people
  • Responding to her name
  • Standing up unaided momentarily

She may also be doing some of these things:

  • Rolling a ball back to you when you roll it to her
  • Saying one word (other than mama and dada)
  • Drinking from a cup independently

What else happens when my baby is 10 months old?

This may be the stage at which your baby drops down to just one nap a day. If she gives you any choice in the matter, it's probably best to drop the morning one, rather than the afternoon one as if she's overtired at bedtime she may find it hard to settle.

What Mumsnetters say…

I make sure to go out every day with my ten-month-old – for a walk, to the park, to a playgroup, anywhere. He definitely gets bored at home with the same toys day in, day out and has more fun outside. Meeting with other mums will keep you sane, too.

All babies are different. My daughter just turned nine months and crawled for the first time last week.

Any hair pulling and scratching isn't aimed at you and it isn't aggressive – she's just doing what babies do. It could also be linked to how stressed you are; if she senses your tension it’ll quickly wear off on her too.