The Tenth Month: Budding Independence

Baby may not want to "show-off" in front of others, particularly away from home. As she gains confidence, she will more readily perform in front of others. Don't push her. Limit the "show-off" performances because the baby may learn that she must show off to receive attention.

Comparing Babies

Comparing your baby's development with that of other babies may be more frustrating than helpful. Every baby has her own timetable. Your baby may surprise you with a sudden burst of development and achieve many things quickly. Your baby may sit alone one day, reach behind herself the next, crawl within a few days and stand shortly afterwards. Enjoy watching your baby grow. One day she may not do the things other children her age do, and a day later she may pass them by.

Especially for Daddies

Have you noticed that your baby is much more interested in YOU now? Does she greet you when you enter the room and find pleasure in your company? Enjoy this special time with your baby. The relationship you form now can become the foundation for a strong, loving relationship for years to come. Most babies this age enjoy a little "rough housing." Being taken for a "horsey ride," bounced on a knee, or being spun around gently are great fun for your young children. Dads seem to enjoy it, too. Just be sure to follow safe practices in activities that might be too rough.

For example, never shake an infant, in fun or anger. Brain damage or death can result. Always lift an infant under the arms. Lifting or spinning by the hands or arms can dislocate the shoulders.

Safety Tips

Your baby may have learned to climb up steps by now, and that opens a new danger, especially if she hasn't learned to climb down. Putting safety gates across the top and/or bottom of the stairway will help protect baby. You might also want to teach her to climb backwards down steps, to lessen the possibility of falls.

Toilet Teaching

Parents may wish the diaper days were over, but your baby is probably not ready to begin toileting -- physically or emotionally. Her small muscles are not developed to the point where she can consistently control bowel movements or urination. If you try to push her before her body is ready, it will frustrate both of you.

Late in her second year and into her third year is the usual time to begin toilet teaching. The muscle development of boys may take longer than girls, so don't be surprised at the difference. One of the easier ways to teach toileting is to encourage toddlers to observe siblings or parents using the bathroom. Imitation works!

Books!

It's not too early to introduce your baby to the wonderful world of books. Of course, your child won't be reading for a number of years yet. But children can learn about the process of reading. This includes turning pages, looking at words, describing pictures and hearing your voice.

You can give your baby a vinyl-covered book of her own. Little by little, she will develop the finger coordination to turn the pages. Just having books, magazines and newspapers in your home helps to teach children that reading is fun.

Source: The University of Georgia, Cooperative Extension Service.

Copyright © Don Bower. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org.