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The Tenth Month of Development

Only a couple of months shy of its first birthday, your child can no longer be considered a helpless infant. While they still need your care and support, your baby will be growing in independence with each passing week, wanting to try different things. Make sure you give your soon-to-be-toddler plenty of stimulation and rest to help it develop the mental and physical skills it needs to become an active and healthy child.

Mental Development
10-month-old babies will begin to play in parallel to other babies and children; your little one will not interact with its playmates yet, but will contentedly play on its own next to them. Set up playdates with other babies to encourage your little one to develop its social skills and learn how to interact with others. 

By now your child understands simple instructions such as "no", but might choose to ignore them, so you're going to have to place a bit more emphasis on disciplining your child starting this month. To give the word "no" more weight, don't use it too often and only use it when you need to set limits. Your baby's desire to explore will be stronger than its desire to heed your warnings, so be patient and consistent in setting limits and backing them up with action. 

Your little one's vocabulary will also be expanding, enabling it to understand you better and retaliate with a few new words and expressions of its own. To reinforce good speech patterns, repeat your child's words back to it using correct adult language; for example, if it says "bah-bah", pronounce the word correctly to it by saying "Do you want a bottle?" It's better to avoid baby talk at this stage if you want your child to learn to speak correctly faster. When your babies point at something, make sure to name the object they are pointing at to teach them the names of things.

Physical Development
Standing, stooping and squatting should be regular occurrences now that your baby is moving on to learn how to walk independently. Your child might still need to hold your hand to keep its balance, but its growing confidence will make it more adventurous in its attempts and might prompt it to try taking a few steps on its own.

Your baby's motor skills will be developed enough for them to feel themselves and handle a cup at mealtimes, though some children will need more time before they can master drinking from a cup independently.

Eating Habits
When introducing new foods, try to be mindful of your baby's temperament. Does it dislike trying foods with new textures? If so, serve small portions of such food and mix them with food that your baby likes. You can resort to playing feeding games, such as pretending the spoon is an airplane, if your child enjoys stimulation during meals. Other children however need peace and quiet to get through a meal, so keep distractions down to a minimum. One rule of thumb is never to leave your baby alone and unattended at mealtimes as they could choke on their food while you're not there. Avoid giving them foods that increase the risk of choking such as whole grapes, hard fruits, raw vegetables, pieces of hard cheese, hotdogs, popcorn, raisins and hard candies. Ideally finger food should be dissolvable in water and hence can melt in the mouth, such as light crackers, or should be cooked enough that it mashes easily. Other options are foods that are naturally soft like cottage cheese, or can be gummed like ripe bananas.

Sleeping Habits
While most babies will need two naps during the day that amount to two and a half hours, some 10-month-olds will transition to one nap during the day early on. One thing that won't change is that your child will continue to need 11-12 hours of sleep each night. Since your little ones will be getting more stimulation during the day, it might be best to continue giving them two naps in the morning to avoid letting your child become overtired.