By ten months your baby is well and truly mobile, if he's a crawler he will have perfected the art and can probably go at a cracking pace that may catch you out a couple of times until you get used to your little speed demon. How he gets about will partly depend on his character: some babies are cautious and like familiar territory so will happily crawl about in one corner for a while, others like to explore and take risks and will be through an open doorway and away given a couple of seconds of parental distraction. We're now firmly in the territory of bumps, falls and knocks and you'll have to constantly adjust your baby safety measures as he picks up speed and learns new tricks, like how to open cupboards.
Your baby will want to go up as well as along now, and will probably have started pulling himself to his feet using whatever's at hand to help, furniture, cot railings, banisters and even your legs! From the standing position he'll want to explore around him and will soon begin to 'cruise', using furniture, walls or any other available support for his hands to move around the room by foot. A few babies skip this stage and go straight to walking unsupported. When he runs out of objects to support himself on he'll either call for help or will drop down to the floor on his bottom or hands and knees to navigate the next part of his journey on the round. Depending on how adventurous your baby is, he might try to stand without support for a few moments before ending up back on the floor. If your baby shows signs of wanting to walk unaided you can give him encouragement by holding his hands and encouraging him to step towards you or giving him a stable push toy to play with. Don't worry if your baby isn't showing signs of walking just yet, most babies don't take their first solo steps until they are twelve or thirteen months old, and some wait until they are over eighteen months – all babies have their own developmental pace.
If you're lucky you might have heard your first full words by now, it might be 'yes' or 'mama' or 'dada'. At this stage he's still likely to use either mama or dada to refer to both parents, although soon he'll begin to discriminate between you vocally. He'll also recognise and understand simple words you use like 'yes', 'no' and common nouns. If you have a dog or a cat he might refer to the pet with a particular sound, although it won't yet be his name and might not sound like dog or cat either. You'll know what he's saying because he's probably pointing at the same time.
He's getting far better at using his fingers individually and in effective combinations now and not far behind pointing comes the use of thumb and forefinger together to pick things up. If he tries this with his food he may crush more than he picks up and you might see him pushing small pieces round and making a fine mess in the process, but he'll soon get the hang of it. He'll have a far more varied diet by now and will be able to feed himself to a certain extent with finger food and can probably hold and drink form a double-handled cup without problem, unless you think that throwing the cup to the floor with great glee is a problem.
His sense of self is growing all the time and by the tenth month he'll be getting adept at indicating his wants. The other side of the coin is that he'll be making clear what he doesn't want as well, whether that's putting on his coat, going to bed, being picked up or surrendering that rather sharp object he's just picked up. If he protests at something loudly don't think he's being naughty, his behaviour is far simpler than that and he's just expressing himself, so try to be patient.
What you can do
Talk, talk, talk to your baby. He'll love the sense of communicating with you and getting a response, and you might be surprised at just how much of his nonsensical babble you can understand as a parent. He'll love to try and mimick you, whether that's trying to copy what you say or what you do and functional toys will probably be popular right now. Give him a toy telephone and he may babble into it, copying what you do, or he may try to draw a brush through his hair. Indulge him with mimicking games and give him plenty of encouragement and warm praise when he manages something new.
As he becomes more precise with the use of his hands he'll love building with blocks and this is a great game to play together to teach him about cooperation. Don't be too surprised if he gets more enjoyment from sending the tower of bricks crashing noisily to the floor afterwards.
Walkers are controversial baby toys. On the one hand your baby will probably enjoy being able to whizz around the room quickly, and when he's in it you know he isn't trying to climb over the baby gate. But walkers often cause accidents, usually when used near stairs or on uneven surfaces, and development experts say that they aren't useful for preparing your baby to walk because he will use his muscles differently in a walker and doesn't need to learn how to distribute his weight safely.
NB: All babies develop at their own pace and some will reach developmental landmarks more quickly than others. This timeline is meant only as an approximate guide for parents. Premature babies will develop more slowly than full-term babies and can be expected to develop in line with their age calculated from their due date. If you are worried about your child's health or progress consult your doctor.
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