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. Baby is still mainly babbling but might try out 1-2 words they understand, especially ‘dada’ or ‘mama’.
But if your baby isn’t talking yet, they’ll still communicate with you using body language like waving and pointing. Your baby also stops what they’re doing when they hear ‘No’. And your baby might respond to simple instructions, especially when you use visual cues. For example, your baby might come if you say ‘Come here’ and gesture for them to come.
When you sing with your baby, they might join in. Your baby 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 they might start to feel less fearful of strangers than they used to. Your baby is also more aware of their own needs, and they can let you know what they want.
Your baby is busy learning all the time. Your baby loves finding hidden objects – for example, a toy hidden under a cup. Your baby also likes it when you show them how things work – for example, how to put a lid on a container. And your baby is reaching out and grabbing things, using them and maybe even throwing them!
Your baby will probably need help to stand, but they might try standing on their own for a few seconds. Babies are more comfortable walking around if they can hold onto furniture, or they might want to hold your hand. But your baby might want to try walking on their own without your help too.
At this age your baby might also:
- bounce to music
- copy simple sounds
- cooperate more when getting dressed
- easily pick up things using their thumb and pointer finger.
You’ll be surprised at how far your baby can move, so always watch your baby and never leave them unattended on a sofa, bed or change table. Now might be a good time to think about making your home safe so your baby can move about without getting hurt.
Helping baby development at 10-11 months
Here are simple things you can do to help your baby’s development at this age:
- Talk to your baby: you can help your baby understand what words mean by chatting as you do everyday activities like bathing your baby or changing nappies. Your baby is interested in conversation, so the more talk the better!
- Listen and respond to your baby’s babbling: this builds language, communication and literacy skills, and it helps your baby feel ‘heard’, loved and valued. It’s important to respond by talking or making sounds in your own warm and loving way. Your baby enjoys hearing your voice go up and down and loves watching your facial expressions as you talk.
- 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. These activities also help your baby learn to read as they get older.
- 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. Playing together also helps your baby feel loved and secure.
- Spend time playing outdoors: being out and about with you gives your baby many different experiences – there’s so much to see, smell, hear and touch. When you’re outside, remember to be safe in the sun.
- Encourage moving: moving and exploring build your baby’s 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 them or playing a game of crawling chasey.
- Give your baby solid foods: you could give your baby homemade foods like ground-up meats, whole rice or soft bread. Just make sure the solids are small and mushy enough to prevent choking. You could also give cereal softened with water, expressed breastmilk, formula or a little bit of full-cream pasteurised cow’s milk.
Sometimes your baby won’t want to do some of these things – for example, they might be too tired or hungry. Your baby will use baby cues to let you know when they’ve had enough and what they need.
Parenting an 11-month-old
As a parent, you’re always learning. It’s OK to feel confident about what you know. And it’s OK to admit you don’t know something and ask questions or get help.
It’s also important to look after yourself. Looking after yourself physically, mentally and emotionally is good for you, and it’s good for your baby. When you’re well, you can give your baby the loving attention they need to grow and thrive.
And remember that part of looking after yourself is asking for help, especially if you’re feeling stressed, anxious or angry. There are many people who can support you and your baby, including your partner, friends, relatives, child and family health nurse and GP.
Never shake a baby. It can cause bleeding inside the brain and likely permanent brain damage. If you feel like you can’t cope, it’s OK to take some time out until you feel calmer. Gently put your baby in a safe place like a cot. Go to another room to breathe deeply, or call your state or territory parenting helpline.
When to be concerned about baby development
You know your baby best. So it’s a good idea to 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
- isn’t making eye contact with you
- isn’t following moving objects with their eyes
- has an eye that’s turned in or out most of the time
- isn’t babbling
- isn’t turning their head towards sounds or voices.
Your baby doesn’t smile or show whether they’re happy or sad.
Your baby can’t sit on their own or uses one hand a lot more than the other.
See a child health professional if you notice your baby has lost skills they had before.
It’s also a good idea to see your child and family health nurse or GP if you or your partner experiences the signs of postnatal depression in birthing mothers or postnatal depression in non-birthing parents. Signs of postnatal depression include feeling sad and crying for no obvious reason, feeling irritable, having difficulty coping and feeling very anxious.
Development usually happens in the same order in most children, but skills might develop at different ages or times. If you’re wondering whether your child’s development is on track, or if you feel that something isn’t quite right, it’s best to get help early. See your child and family health nurse or GP.