Your Baby: month 10
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Your Baby's physical and emotional milestones

You'll notice that, quite naturally, you've begun to understand your baby's communication signals when no one else can.

Now that you're in sync, it's so much easier for your baby to feel understood. However, each day her needs grow and she isn't always able to express herself without the words she so badly needs. This can lead to frustrated outbursts and quite a bit of crying.

In fact, your baby understands a lot more than you may think. Simple commands like “give me the toy” or “don’t hit the dog” are understood, as is the word “no”. She also recognises her name and responds to it when you call.

This month you may be rewarded with the word “dada” or “mama” – directed at the right person. Up to this point you may have heard the words mixed up in all his other babbling, but they wouldn’t have been intentional or necessarily directed at you.

Nutrition

Your baby will have been trying to feed herself for a little while but it's possible she's been making more mess than actually getting the food into her mouth.

With the right tools (a soft-tipped baby spoon) your baby will slowly become more successful at feeding herself, which will bring with it a real boost in her self-esteem.

However, until she does, encourage her to find her mouth by offering her the spoon and then guiding her hand towards her mouth. Be patient and prepared for some mess.

While your baby won't have molars to chew food properly until she's 18 to 24 months old, her gums will be surprisingly efficient at grinding foods. She'll be enjoying a wider variety of finger foods by now, including some homemade fish fingers, cooked pasta shapes, hard-boiled eggs, breads, chunks of ripe avocado and soft, cooked meat and poultry.

Stimulating your 10-month-old baby

Experts agree that at 10 months, individual differences in physical development are very apparent. Some babies are just mastering crawling, while others are already steady walkers.

Some ways to aid your baby’s development no matter what her stage:

If your baby is adept at pulling herself up to standing at a low table, put some toys on top of it just out of her reach. She'll have to stretch towards them, which will increase her awareness of "close" and "far away"

Find a few objects that will fit inside the neck of a bottle. Practise filling and emptying the container. She may need help emptying it at first. Later, vary the containers and the objects.

Expert advice for month 10

By now, you know your baby's personality, likes and dislikes and preferences pretty well. You are taking your baby to the clinic regularly, your baby is eating a variety of solids and is learning to use her body to sit and crawl.

Milestones

While every baby is an individual, developmental milestones have been identified to evaluate your baby's progress. Mild deviations from the norm can be monitored, but when there are obvious delays, these need to be investigated by your paed or an occupational therapist.

Development delays:

Circumstances of pregnancy and birth and genetic factors need to be taken into account. It's understandable that parents sometimes ignore warning bells if there are developmental delays, believing their baby will outgrow specific problems.

But when the nursery school or daycare centre, doctor, paediatrician or clinic nurse cautions parents about a particular concern, it's important for parents to heed this advice, because early intervention definitely improves the outcome.

Baby problems

If you are having problems getting your baby to go to sleep at night remember that routine is essential. Teething, separation anxiety or even fear could be troubling your baby. Your baby feels secure when you feel the same way.

If there is anything troubling your life, by getting help your baby will also become more manageable. After all, parenting is a learned art, an acquired skill – and sometimes we have to be patient with ourselves.

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