Your 10-month-old is moving into toddlerhood and likely on the brink of walking and talking. The timing of these major milestones varies quite a bit from baby to baby. A few babies take their first steps at 9 or 10 months old, but most save those steps for around their first birthday. Babies also differ significantly as to when they say their first words (often around now) and how quickly they add new words. So simply encourage your baby, keep her fueled with good nutrition, and be ready when she is.
Here are some of the developments you're likely to see by the end of this month.
Your baby's world is like a laboratory. She spends most of her waking hours trying to figure out how things work. She is finding that different objects have different purposes and beginning to experiment with using them, both by copying you and through trial and error. Get ready for banging, poking, mouthing, and even throwing playthings—it's all part of the discovery process. Your baby is also picking up how to use everyday objects, such as bringing a cup to her lips or punching the buttons of a phone (make sure it’s not connected!).
Your baby is moving up in the world: from sitting unsupported and sitting up on her own to crawling and now pulling herself up by holding onto something (such as the edge of the sofa) in order to stand. Better strength and coordination allow your baby to stand pretty well while holding onto you or furniture. She may even venture a few tentative steps while holding on, a stage of walking known as cruising. With improved coordination in her fingers, she can feed herself (with a bit of a mess) and try new kinds of play, such as exploring the insides of containers or banging blocks.
Listen closely for her first words, keeping in mind that they might not sound exactly like the words that you use. It's considered an early word, though, when your baby links particular sounds with people or objects. "Ma ma" and "Da da"—used as your names—are common first words for about half of all babies. Your baby might also name a bottle or blanket "ba ba." This development is an important leap forward, as your baby attaches sounds to objects and tries to say them the way you do. First words are almost always nouns.
Does your baby try to move a hairbrush against her head, just like you? Mimicking and copying is a way 10-month-olds learn and practice how people act. Your baby may especially love to watch and try to match the behaviors and sounds of other children, such as siblings and other babies. But as social as a 10-month-old can be with loved ones, unfamiliar people can bring your baby distress at this age—a normal reaction called stranger anxiety. This can combine with a new development: growing anguish at your absence. Such separation anxiety is a normal result of two developments: your baby's strong attachment to you and her emerging understanding of object permanence—the idea that things she can't see (like you) are still out there somewhere. Remember that your baby's reaction is actually a good sign, of her mental maturity and her bond with you—and that it's usually short-lived, ending as soon as she gets absorbed in an activity.