Infant & Toddler Development

10 Months

Your baby is now 10 months old. Her world is growing and she loves to play. Babies learn from playing. Play is their work. When you talk, sing, hug, play with and read to your child, you are helping your child’s brain grow.

Encourage your child’s natural curiosity and follow her lead. Research shows that babies are incredible learning machines—constantly experimenting and testing.

They touch, hear, smell, taste and see. That’s how they learn. Providing inter-active learning experiences for your baby is an important part of parenting; it can also be a lot of fun.

What it’s like to be 10 months old

How I grow…

  • I side-step, holding onto furniture, to get around a room.
  • I sit down from a standing position.
  • I climb up on to chairs and then climb down again.
  • I am beginning to show if I’m right-handed or left-handed. Let me decide which hand I want to use.
  • I carry things in one hand without dropping them.
  • I try hard to feed myself. I help hold my cup and I am messy.
  • I may have trouble sleeping at night because I’m restless.
  • I walk if you hold my hands.

How I talk…

  • I understand simple sentences.
  • I may say “no” and shake my head from side to side.
  • I like to repeat the same words all day long.

How I respond…

  • I notice your facial expressions.
  • I cry if another child gets more attention than I do.
  • I like to imitate people’s gestures and sounds.

How I understand…

  • I know which toys belong to me and I have some favorites. Don’t expect me to share.
  • I am beginning to think of myself as separate from you.

How I feel…

  • I have many feelings now—sad, happy, mad, scared, and hurt.
  • I can be very moody and may get upset easily.
  • I still may feel shy around people.
  • I am very sensitive to other children’s moods.

How you help me learn…

  • When I’m away from home and we have to wait for something (the doctor, the restaurant food, the traffic) distractions may keep me happy. Give me crackers, unsweetened cold cereals, toys, books, or sing with me.
  • Make a book for me. Using stiff cardboard for a page, paste a photograph of me, my family members, my favorite foods and toys, or plants or flowers that I see on my walks. Let me turn the pages and stop when I want to. Point and tell me what is on each page.
  • Give me time to practice dropping things into containers (such as a block into a cup), but help me get them out.
  • Let me try to stack unbreakable cups or bowls. This is much harder for me than it looks.
  • Use my name when talking to me and play games like “Where is Lani?”
  • Hold a small object in one of your fists then show it to me. Switch the object back and forth inside your fists several times and ask “Which hand is it in?” If I pick the right hand, say “Yes, it’s in this hand.” If I choose the wrong hand, show me that it’s empty and say “No, it’s not in this hand. This hand is empty.” Then show me that the object is in the other hand. This teaches me that things don’t disappear just because they are not in sight. It also teaches me that I can learn from listening to what you say.
  • Give me clean, empty cereal boxes, milk cartons, margarine bowls, or egg cartons so I can build with them.
  • While diapering me, put a large piece of sticky tape on my finger. It will keep me distracted as I peel it off and stick it on. Watch so I don’t stick it in my mouth.
  • Give me a ball when I am on the floor. I will push it, then may creep after it. Roll it to me; I may try to roll it back.
  • Let me turn light switches on and off to see what happens.

Feeding Your Baby

Spoon Skills

Skill in using a spoon does not develop overnight. Help your infant develop spoon skills by giving her foods that stick to the spoon when scooped up.

Try these:

  • Mashed white or sweet potato
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Poi
  • Mashed cooked beans such as lima, kidney, or pinto
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Cottage cheese or unsweetened yogurt (plain or with mashed fruit)
  • Mashed tofu
  • Cooked cereal, such as oatmeal or cream of wheat
  • Rice

Cup Skills and Weaning

Cup skills, like spoon skills, develop slowly with practice. Some 10-month-old babies are quite good at using a cup and may prefer it to a bottle or the breast. Others are less skillful. Encourage your child to use a cup even if spills are frequent. For most infants, the period between nine and 12 months is a good time to encourage the gradual transition to a cup. Until your baby is a year old, continue to give formula instead of milk, in either cup or bottle. If your baby seems reluctant to give up the breast or bottle, continue to feed her this way. There’s no need to be concerned.

  • Parents and babies learn together.
  • Parents’ needs are important.
  • Your baby relies on you. You can rely on others.
  • Guide your baby with love and limits.

Safety & Your Baby

Storing Toys

When deciding where to store your child’s toys, you might consider:

  • Sturdy book shelves
  • Woven baskets
  • Plastic laundry baskets, dishpans, and buckets
  • Sturdy cardboard or wooden boxes
  • A toy chest

If you want to use a toy chest, find one with a lid that your baby can lift and that does not close or lock automatically. Hinges should be designed to protect tiny fingers.

Hazardous Vitamins

Keep all medicines, including vitamins, out of your baby’s reach. Chewable children’s vitamins can be a hazard. If your child accidentally swallows something, try to find out what it was, then call the Hawaii Poison Center or 911. If you take your baby for emergency treatment, bring the container of whatever was swallowed.


Babies need a few, carefully set limits. When your baby is old enough to understand the meaning of “no,” begin setting these limits.

Limit setting involves both encouragement and intervention. Encourage your baby when she does something appropriate. Intervene when she does something you don’t want her to do. Setting limits means you must be involved. Don’t yell at or threaten your baby.

When she does something annoying or touches something you don’t want her to have:

  • Say “no” firmly and give a reason, such as “it’s hot.”
  • Substitute by offering another toy.
  • Direct her attention to something else.
  • Move her away from the problem or the problem away from her.

Being consistent with your intervention will help your baby learn what she can and cannot do.

Sometimes your baby will not be happy with the limits you set and will make a fuss. You may be tempted to give in to her demands. Keep in mind that setting limits is necessary for your child’s safety and welfare.

Hitting your baby will not teach her to do what you want her to do. Babies can’t make the connection between their behavior and your hitting. She won’t understand why she is being hit and she may become afraid of you or hit you back.

Set limits while allowing your child the freedom to explore and grow. To limit the “no’s”, baby proof your home. Stick to the few limits you set. Remember that you can be both firm and loving.

Take Care of Yourself

Protect yourself from future back problems. When you pick up your baby, bend your knees and kneel or squat, keeping your back as straight as possible. Make your legs, not your back, do your work.

Use the same motion with your back straight when you want to pick up something from the floor. This will help prevent back strain.

When standing or sitting, hold your back straight and pull in your stomach. Good posture will help prevent future backaches.

Your child is unique and has her own timetable of events. You have to wait for her “happenings” as they occur. If you have any questions about your child’s development, call your doctor or H-KISS.

A Parent Asks

Q – My baby is 10 months old. I’ve heard that some babies are toilet-trained by their first birth-day. When is the best time to begin toilet training?

A – The best advice about toilet learning in your baby’s first year is: don’t try!

A baby’s muscles are not well enough developed to control bowel movements until 18 to 24 months. Keeping dry will come later, probably at two-and-a-half or three years. Toilet learning started too early will just frustrate you and your child.