by Don Bower
In the 10th month it may seem your baby's development is slowing down, but really it's just that she is developing in more subtle areas and improving those things already learned. If you look closely, you'll actually see many changes this month.
Your baby will probably make more progress toward walking this month. Most babies creep or crawl by this time, and many are learning to stand. After learning to stand, many (but not all) babies learn to "side step" by holding on to an object such as the couch. The step is really more of a shuffle, but can be done speedily by some.
Expect Some of These Other Physical Developments:
Your baby is really developing socially this month, too. She is beginning to overcome her fear of strangers, but still wants both parents (and other familiar people) around. She is more independent now. She may even tell you "no" when you make a request and shake her head vigorously back and forth. She probably doesn't understand exactly what "no" means, but she does know that she wants to do things for herself. Give her the freedom to try new things. Help her understand the meaning of "no" and "yes" instead of punishing her for rebelliousness. She is still learning word meanings as her healthy independence blossoms.
Expect Some of These Social Developments:
Baby's mental development is on the upsurge this month.
Expect to See Some of the Following:
Imitation becomes an important method of learning. She will imitate you, and if she is around other babies, she will imitate them. This is a good method of teaching, but be sure not to over-do to the point that your baby becomes bored with imitation.
Provide plenty of finger foods because your baby needs the experience of feeding herself to become independent. If she has older brothers and sisters, she probably wants to eat what they eat. Be sure to cut the food into bite-size pieces. Even though it may be easier for her to eat with her fingers now, begin introducing a spoon for her to try out.
If you are breast-feeding, you may be thinking about when you are going to wean your baby. If you decide to wean your baby before one year, switch to infant formula from a bottle or cup. If you wean after one year, you can switch your baby to whole milk.
Parent-Baby Learning Games
Now that baby is beginning to imitate you, try a simple version of follow-the-leader. Your baby will love crawling after you, copying your facial expressions or pointing like you point. Because imitation is an important way of learning, play can be much more than just fun for the both of you. Children will also enjoy a game of you imitating them. It is one way of telling them that they are important to you.
Baby is more sensitive and openly responsive now and shows definite moods and emotions. She is very conscious of whether or not you approve of her actions, and at times can look terribly sad and hurt. She is also expressing more anger when frustrated. Does she have a special toy she hugs and "mothers?" This is such a nice reflection on you -- you've taught her the capacity to love. She will also imitate the ways that you and others show affection for her.