Feeding and sleeping
At ten months, many babies reduce from 3 to 2 daytime sleeps. The morning sleep can often occur at around 9 – 10am after an early morning wake up and some breakfast. Tired signs at this age are fairly consistent and include yawning, grizzling, wanting more cuddles or even falling asleep during play. But ten month old babies tend to be quite vocal and can protest when they want to stay up. It usually helps for parents to stay calm and focused and try to follow the same regular pre-settling routine for both day and night sleeps.
Milk is still an important component of your baby’s diet but solid foods are equally vital now. Try not to limit your baby’s intake by always offering them the same foods. Be imaginative and creative and cook them yourself. Home-cooked food generally tastes better and will have a better consistency. From 1 year onwards, most babies limit the range of foods they will eat, so if your little one is already used to a diverse variety of foods, their diet won’t become as restricted.
This is a social age, so look for your baby’s responses when they are exposed to other people. They will search for their eyes first, then their mouth and ears and scan their whole face with their eyes. So much information is being gathered by their senses that it is no wonder they still need to have a couple of day time sleeps. Your baby’s brain is at its most receptive now and will literally be moulded by the experiences they have.
You cannot change your baby’s personality or their temperament, but you can support them in feeling secure and safe in their own little world. You are still number 1 in your baby’s life now, so if you feel they need reassurance and cuddles, then follow your heart. Parenting is not an exact science and there is rarely one right way to approach it.
If your baby isn’t too keen on playing with other babies, don’t worry. They are so egocentric at this age, that they will be incapable of considering another baby’s feelings. You will need to keep a close eye on them when they are with other children and animals because they are simply too young to know what sort of behaviour is appropriate and safe.
Your baby is likely to be crawling well now and can get themselves around in their own unique way. Some experts believe that crawling is strongly linked with learning ability as a child matures. This is because the opposite leg and arm movements involved help to link the right and left hemispheres of the brain.
Walkers are no longer recommended as they limit the opportunity to crawl. They are also a safety hazard. There is no better place for your 10 month old than to get up close and personal with your floor. Which means you’ll need to play close attention to keeping the floor surfaces relatively clean, at least for a few months.
Your baby may be able to stand or even cruise around the furniture this month. They will easily be able to get themselves into a sitting position from their tummy and rotate their bodies, swivelling their arms and legs with the greatest of dexterity.
Listen for your baby when they learn to say mama, dada, or papa. It’s no accident that in most of the world’s languages, the names for mothers and fathers and even babies relate to these early words. Teach your baby to wave ta-ta this month, play more peek-a-boo and dabble in other games. Your baby will try to initiate games with you and engage you in activities that they find entertaining. Although you may run out of interest before they do, repetition is an important concept in helping to consolidate memory and recall.
Your baby will be getting close to tripling their birth weight and being close to 12 months, this is a common event. All babies grow at their own individual rate and genetics is a major influence on size and growth. It is also a child’s environment and food intake that play a major role in growth. If you are worried that your baby is not eating sufficiently to grow, have them checked at your local clinic or GP. Occasionally, specialist paediatric nutrition advice is warranted, especially when a baby is failing to thrive.
If it is summer, you are less likely to notice your baby’s growth reflected in their clothing. But you may use their cot, their pram or how they position themselves in your arms as a guide to how big they are getting. One day, you may just look at your baby and be surprised by how big they have become. This can be very obvious when comparing them with a newborn and seeing just how much of a transformation they have undergone since then. The rate of growth in this first year, as well as during adolescence, is never higher.
It will be impossible to keep your baby too clean at 10 months. If you’re out, they’ll be keen to get on the ground which can make things awkward if you’re at the park or in the garden. Get into the habit of taking their pram everywhere you go plus a rug to try and keep them on. Assume everything in the near vicinity will find its way into your baby’s mouth and you won’t be far wrong.
If you are renovating your house and suspect lead-based paint is present, have it tested just to make sure. Testing kits are available from hardware stores. Babies and children are particularly sensitive to elevated lead levels in their bloodstream and this can lead to learning difficulties. Also consider the cleaning products you use in your house, as well as the pesticides, fertilisers and general household products. Residues can pose a risk to health so be extra cautious.
Play and interaction
This is the month when you may want to redesign your household to create safe zones your baby can access. Gates across doorways can be an excellent way of keeping them out of harm’s way. If you have older children who value their personal space, a gate restricting access to their room can minimise emotional outbursts. Your baby is likely to want to join in what everyone else is doing now, so keeping them separate from the rest of the children will be impossible. There is so much value and learning gained when children of different ages are exposed to each other. Siblings often need to negotiate their way around each other’s needs and preferences and this starts at a very young age.
Watch your baby as they beg their older siblings to engage with them. Babies are very skilful at drawing attention to themselves and have been described as “sensory traps”. It’s not just adults who fall for their charms!
What about mom?
At 10 months, there should be more of a pattern or structure to your day, which will help with planning. If you still feel you’re struggling to get through each day, consider having a thorough check-up with your GP. Genuine medical problems can be disguised by extreme tiredness and it can be too easy to overlook our own needs. Arrange someone to take care of your baby while you go for your appointment. If you find your memory is not as good as you’d like, write down a list of the symptoms you are experiencing.
If you are not well and healthy, you won’t be in the best condition to care for your baby. By 10 months, you should start feeling a return in your energy levels without a sense of overwhelming fatigue. Problems that include the thyroid, endocrine system and nutritional deficiency can all impact on energy levels.
If you are becoming resentful about having to do most of the housework, don’t feel alone. Most women say they do the majority of housework and child care, even if and when they have returned to paid employment. Speak honestly with your partner about what would be a fair and equitable arrangement when it comes to keeping the house in order.
Your sleep needs
Don’t be too quick to jump out of bed when your baby cries overnight. If you are satisfied that they have been fed, they are safe and they are comfortable, there is no evident reason for them to need you, so hold back a little. Give them an opportunity to self-soothe and settle.
Don’t neglect your own comfort needs. Make the time to change your own bed linen, sort out your clothing and de-clutter your room if you can. Invest some time and thought into what could create a soothing environment – the children should not absorb all of your energy. Even if the rest of the house is messy, it’s so important to have somewhere to retreat at the end of the day.