10-11 months: baby development

10-11 months: baby development

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Baby development at 10-11 months: what's happening

Your baby is very interested in conversations. You'll often hear baby's first word around this age. She's still mainly babbling but might try out one or two words she knows the meaning of, especially 'dada' or 'mama'.

But if your baby isn't talking yet, don't worry - he'll communicate with you using body language like waving and pointing. He'll also stop what he's doing when he hears 'no'.

When you sing with your baby, she might join in. She also enjoys looking at pictures in books and loves reading with you.

Over the past few months your baby has learned to show emotions like caution and fear. But now he might start to feel more comfortable around strangers and show fewer signs of stranger anxiety than he used to. He's also more aware of his own needs, and can let you know what he wants.

Your baby is busy learning all the time. She loves finding hidden objects - for example, a toy hidden under a cup. She also likes it when you show her how things work - for example, how to put a lid on a container. And she's reaching out and grabbing things, using them and maybe even throwing them!

Your baby will probably need help to stand, but he might try standing on his own for a few seconds. He's more comfortable walking around if he can hold onto furniture or he might want to hold your hand. But sometimes he wants to try walking on his own without your help.

At this age your baby might also:

  • bounce to music
  • copy simple sounds
  • cooperate more when she's getting dressed
  • easily pick things up using her thumb and pointer finger.
You'll be surprised at how far your baby can move, so always watch your baby and never leave him unattended on a sofa, bed or change table. It doesn't take long for a baby to unexpectedly move towards or reach for something that puts him in danger.

Helping baby development at 10-11 months

Here are a few simple things you can do to help your baby's development at this age:

  • Talk to your baby: your baby is interested in conversation, so talking about everyday things, like what you're doing, will help her understand what words mean. The more talk, the better!
  • Listen and respond to your baby's babbling: this will build his language, communication and literacy skills, and make him feel 'heard', loved and valued. It's important to respond by talking or making sounds in your own warm and loving way. Your baby will enjoy hearing your voice go up and down and love watching your facial expressions as you talk to him.
  • Read with your baby: you can encourage your baby's talking and imagination by reading books together, telling stories, singing songs and reciting nursery rhymes.
  • Play together: sing songs, play peekaboo, ring bells, hide toys and make funny sounds or animal noises together. Surprise toys like a jack-in-the-box are fun from around 10 months on. Playing together also helps your baby feel loved and secure.
  • Encourage moving: moving and exploring help your baby build muscle strength for more complex movements like pulling to stand and walking. If your baby is crawling, you could try getting down on the floor and crawling around with her, or playing a game of chasey.
  • Make your home safe so your baby can move about without getting hurt.

Sometimes your baby won't want to do some of these things - for example, he might be too tired or hungry. He'll use special baby cues to let you know when he's had enough and what he needs.

Parenting an 11-month-old

As a parent, you're always learning. Every parent makes mistakes and learns through experience. It's OK to feel confident about what you know. And it's also OK to admit you don't know something and ask questions or get help.

With all the focus on looking after a child, you might forget or run out of time to look after yourself. But looking after yourself physically and mentally will help you with the understanding, patience, imagination and energy you need to be a parent.

Sometimes you might feel frustrated or upset. But if you feel overwhelmed, put your baby in a safe place like a cot, or ask someone else to hold her for a while. It's OK to take some time out until you feel calmer. Try going to another room to breathe deeply or calling a family member or friend to talk things through.

Never shake a baby. It can cause bleeding inside the brain and likely permanent brain damage.

It's OK to ask for help. If you're feeling overwhelmed by the demands of caring for your baby, call your local Parentline. You might also like to try our ideas for dealing with anger, anxiety and stress.

When to be concerned about baby development

See your child and family health nurse or GP if you have any concerns or notice that your 11-month-old is having any of the following issues.

Seeing, hearing and communicating
Your child:

  • isn't making eye contact with you, isn't following moving objects with his eyes or has an eye that is turned in or out most of the time
  • isn't babbling
  • isn't turning his head towards sounds or voices.

Your child doesn't smile or show whether she's happy or sad.

Your child can't sit on his own or uses one hand a lot more than the other.

You should see a child health professional if you notice your child has lost skills she had before.

You should also see your child and family health nurse or GP if you or your partner experiences the signs of postnatal depression in women or postnatal depression in men. Symptoms of postnatal depression include feeling sad and crying for no obvious reason, feeling irritable, having difficulty coping and feeling very anxious.

Children grow and develop at different speeds. If you're worried about whether your child's development is 'normal', it might help to know that 'normal' varies a lot. But if you still feel that something isn't quite right, see your child and family health nurse or GP.