Your Baby's Development: Month Ten
By the age of ten months your baby will probably be able to use the 'pincer grip' (using thumb and forefinger) to pick up objects. This enables them to pick up very small items that previously were a bit more hit and miss, which is great when it comes to self-feeding in their high chair, but not so good when they come across a small stone lying on the floor.
You may have noticed that your baby's eye colour has changed since they were born, a gradual process that happens with many babies. By now they will be close to their final colour, any further change over the next few months will be minimal.
Social and Emotional Development
It may have started already, but separation anxiety tends to begin between the ages of 10-18 months - although not all children go through this phase, and in some children it can be quite short lived. Separation anxiety is when the child gets very upset when one or both of the parents leave them alone or in the care of someone else. It can be in an obvious situation such as leaving them with a childminder for the day when going out to work, or it can occur whenever you are out of their sight - when you leave the room to go to the bathroom or when you leave the nursery to go and sleep in your own bed. Most children grow out of this before the age of 24 months, but until then, the best way to deal with it is to limit the number of occasions and duration for which you leave your child as much as possible. When you do leave them, make sure that it is with someone that they know and trust, and build up the periods of time that you leave them for gradually. See our separate article on separation anxiety for more information on how to cope with this with your child.
Your baby may be beginning to understand what you mean by 'No' now - but they probably don't respond with the desired reaction! You may find that they smile in response to your 'No' and then go straight back to doing it again. Many babies will enjoy the response that they have achieved by doing something you don't want them to. Be firm when you tell them not to do something, but then find them something else to distract their attention from the forbidden activity to break the cycle.
You will notice your baby is recognising people, places, toys and books more and more, mainly by their happy or excited reaction when seeing something or somebody that they like. Encourage their interest and ability to identify things by talking to them and showing an interest yourself. 'Ooh, what's that noise Josh? Oh look! It's an aeroplane!'
Your baby can probably feed herself some of the time - possibly a little bit with a spoon, but more likely with her fingers. Even quite sloppy foods, such as pasta or casserole can be picked up, but finger foods such as sticks or slices of cucumber, toast or fruit are a good place to start if you haven't already. It can be quite messy and may not be the way you want to go with every meal, but allowing your child to feed themselves as often as possible will help to encourage their independence at the dinner table, and their interest in food. Some children are more interested in feeding themselves than others, your child may prefer to have it all done for him, or, he may want to do it all by himself every time! As time consuming and messy as this may be, take his lead, in time he will get more efficient at feeding himself - taking less time and making less mess.
By now your baby should also be able to hold and drink from a cup with no lid. Again, this could be messy, but if it is just water, and they are wearing a bib, it shouldn't be too difficult to clear up. Remember that it is advisable to have your baby taking all their fluids (including milk) from a cup by the age of 1, so get them practising now if you haven't already introduced one.
Musical instruments, pretty wooden shape sorters and battery operated moving toys all have their place. However, some baby entertainment need not cost a penny. Withhold some of your usual recycling and collect it in a box for your baby - empty containers, plastic milk bottles, and cereal boxes all make for great fun stacking and sorting. You can hide things amongst them or put one inside another. Kitchen roll tubes are fun for talking through - don't let them eat it though! Many infant formula powders come in large cans that can be used as drums when they are empty. Always check items for sharp edges and remove any small lids. Do not leave your baby unattended playing with these toys.
Be Careful Of...
...Letting it all get on top of you. It happens to most parents. Looking after a baby at this age can be really tough. They are mobile and want to touch and mouth on everything - seemingly the more unsuitable an item or activity is, the more they want to try it. They might want to be off in another room, but get upset if you aren't with them. They might want to be lifted all the time to get a view from Mummy or Daddy's height or perhaps because of issues with separation anxiety. Then when you're feeding them they might wriggle and squirm all the time wanting to get down. If you feel that it is all getting too much, particularly if you find yourself losing your temper then give yourself a breather. Put them in a safe place such as their cot or a play pen, take yourself away and count to ten. It doesn't matter if they are crying, if they are in a safe place then crying won't hurt them, it is much more important that you take a moment to get yourself together. Remind yourself that not only is their demanding behaviour normal, finding it exhausting or frustrating as a parent is normal too. If you talk to other mums that you know, or read through some of the discussions in our forums you will quickly realise that everyone has periods or occasions where they find parenting painfully hard. Sometimes just knowing that you are not the only one can be enough to set you back on track again!