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Your 10-Month-Old: Milestones & Development

June 3, 2024

Vera Malushi, PT, DPT, lends us her expertise as a pediatric physical therapist to recommend developmentally-appropriate ways to play with your 10-month-old. She is the founder of Milestones Pediatric Physical Therapy and shares a wealth of knowledge and tips on her Instagram page @milestones_pediatric_pt.


Big things are happening, and your little one is looking a little less like a baby these days and more like the toddler they’ll be when they celebrate their first birthday. This month is full of significant milestones as your baby’s physical and social emotional skills really begin to take off. Gone are the days when you needed to hold them every second, every minute. Now that your little one has so much mobility and control over their body, they’re able to play more independently and get around the house without needing you to take them from Point A to Point B. Of course, you’re busier than ever keeping up with your baby, but things are so much more fun, and it’s exciting to anticipate all the new things they’ll be doing this month.

Physical development & movement

If you weren’t tired before, you sure are now! Your 10-month-old is keeping you busy chasing after them while they crawl around the house, pulling themselves up onto furniture, and grabbing everything they can get their little hands on. As they master their motor skills, they’re moving much more confidently than they were just one month ago. You also may have noticed that they’re honing their pincer grasp, and are able to pick up smaller objects with their thumb and forefinger with greater ease. Although it feels like you’re running yourself to the ground, trying to stop them from accessing things they shouldn’t (especially if they have an older sibling who leaves toys behind), all the movement and exploring your baby is doing is preparing them for their next stage of life!

If it feels like your little one has been growing out of diapers and clothes faster than you can keep up, you can finally take a breather with the size-ups. Now that they’re on the move and very active, that rapid growth they’ve been experiencing will be slowing down now. Kiss those precious arm and leg rolls while you can because they’ll likely be gone within a few months!

Emotional development

Some 10-month-old babies are still very clingy with their primary caregiver (that just means you’re doing a great job!), but your little one’s separation anxiety from last month may be easing up now. They may be very social and smile at everyone who waves hello, but if they turn to hide into your shoulder, that’s okay, too! Just like adults, every baby’s personality is different.

Language

You may hear your baby’s first words this month (although it’s more common for babies to utter their first words around their first birthday), and it’s an exciting time for language development! Your baby is starting to recognize and even understand a few familiar words, like “mama,” “bottle,” or your pet’s name. They’re also able to understand your tone of voice, especially when you say “no,” and may cry in response. Your little one's babbling is starting to sound more like real words, and they're also using gestures, like pointing, to indicate their wants. If you haven’t yet started teaching them baby sign language, this is a great time to start!

Feeding

At 10 months old, your baby should have solid food three times a day along with breastmilk or formula. If your little one loves to eat breakfast, they may even prefer to drop their first nursing session or bottle of the day upon waking, and go straight to mealtime. You may find that your little one is taking less breastmilk or formula now that they’re consuming so many solids, but since every baby is different, let them take the lead.

How to play with your 10-month-old

“In month 10, your baby is likely practicing standing and possibly trying to take some steps. Place baby in standing with their back against a soft surface like the couch. Have them start leaning backwards against the surface. Now, have them reach forward ahead of them for their back to come off the support surface for a moment in order to balance on their feet. Present them with things that interest their attention to make it a fun game. Whether it is Cheerios, books, or toys, every baby has something that motivates them to move! As baby gets better and better at this activity, keep moving further away to encourage first steps.”

Dr. Vera Malushi, PT, DPT

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Your 10-Month-Old: Milestones & Development

About the Author: Alice

Alice Mendoza is a copywriter and blog writer based in Los Angeles. She began writing for a baby brand while on maternity leave, and realized she had found her niche. Today, she writes exclusively within the baby space, using her BFA in Creative Writing and her own experience as a mother to guide her. When she’s not working, you can find her chasing down her toddler, going on walks around the neighborhood, or watching reality TV.

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