10-Week-Old Baby Development: What to Look for and What’s Next

What's Covered

Congratulations on this new chapter in your life. Can you believe it? You’ve been parents for almost three months! You’re probably getting the hang of parenting a newborn, but there might be some things you would still want to know. Since your baby still looks so small you may be unsure of what he could do. But did you know, even at ten weeks, your child is capable of so many things?

Developmental Domains

All babies develop in what are called the domains of development. The domains are physical, emotional, cognitive, and social. In other words, how they move, how they feel, how they interact with others, and how they think. Some people may think that they’re just babies – fragile and helpless – but there’s more to them than that.

What are developmental milestones?

You might have heard of the term “milestones” while talking about your child’s development. Milestones are a guide to see the development of a child. It’s a preview of what other babies or children around the same age can do.

At ten weeks old, the milestones will let you know what your baby should be getting ready to do or have already done. The United States’ Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides a checklist of a child’s typical developmental milestones.[1]

There are also other available checklists that you can find online, such as “Developmental Checklists Birth to Five” adapted from The American Academy of Pediatrics: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child Birth to Age 5: The Complete and Authoritative Guide.[2] However, milestones only serve as guides, if you have concerns about your child’s development, you should talk with your child’s doctor.

Physical Development

Physical development refers to your baby’s motor skills. These include fine-motor and gross-motor skills. Fine-motor skills are small movements that your child does with his hands, like grasping and holding. Gross-motor skills are big movements like lifting his head or pushing up when laying on his tummy.

In the first three months of his development – the first week up until their twelfth week – your child can or has at least tried to open and close his hand, stretch his legs out when lying down or when prone, and raise his head or cheeks when prone. He can also support his upper body with his arms when prone and push down on his leg when his feet are placed on a flat surface.

As your child grows older, maybe around four months or so, you can get wooden toys that will encourage him to pull up and work on his balance. Try this mini climbing triangle from Amazon.

Homi Baby Mini Climbing Triangle
Strengthen your child’s balance with this mini climbing triangle. When he is ready, he can begin to pull up and climb which will help when he begins to stand and walk on his own.

Now when your baby is able to stand on his own, he will want to try walking with and without assistance. You can guide him through this with a push toy, like this wooden cart.

Toddler Wobbler
Allow your child to explore his capabilities with this push toy. He can work on taking some assisted steps with a few cheers from you. Other than his balance, he can also work on his control in turning left and right as he pushes this toy around.

Your child’s vision is also part of his physical development. His vision will also be developing in the first couple of months. For your baby’s visual milestones, he can follow moving objects with his eyes, intently watch faces, recognize familiar objects at a distance, and begin to work on his hand-eye coordination.

Social and Emotional Development

A baby develops social and emotional skills through his interactions with his parents. Your child knows and trusts that when he is hungry, wet, or in need of anything, his cries will bring you to him. For the first three months, his social and emotional development will include developing a social smile, enjoyment in playing with other people, and becoming more communicative and expressive with facial expressions and body movements. He may also imitate some movement and facial expressions, can try to calm himself, and try to look at his parents.

Cognitive and Language Development

Cognitive development covers learning, thinking, problem solving, and even language skills. As your baby observes, he begins to notice familiar things and people around him. His cognitive development includes paying attention to faces, following things with his eyes, recognizing people at a distance, and acting bored or fussy with activities.

Your baby does not use words to communicate yet, but is expressive and receptive of language. Babies communicate through crying and other sounds. They also pay attention and react to sounds. At almost three months, your child’s language development will have him attending to sounds, turning his head towards sounds, and being startled by loud noises. He can also smile at the sound of his own voice and start to coo.

Typical Development versus Atypical Development

Since each child is unique, his development is just the same. There will be things that he can do that other babies cannot do yet. At the same time, there will be things that he cannot do yet, but other babies can.

What is Typical Development?

Developmental milestones provide a range for parents and professionals, like teachers and occupational therapists, who work with children.[3] This helps them see where the child is at compared with the development of others in the same age. The milestones are not a one-size-fits-all guide because other factors can influence a child’s overall development.

What is Atypical Development?

Atypical development is the opposite of typical development. This refers to development that is either delayed or ahead of what is typical in a child’s development. This can be a cause for concern for some parents, especially first-time parents.

Red Flags

As there are milestones to see where your child is at, red flags also serve as a guide to see if your child may be delayed in some aspects of his development. Remember that every child is different, but if you have any concerns about your child’s development, contact your child’s doctor.

These are the developmental red flags from birth to four months:

– doesn’t respond to loud noises

– doesn’t follow moving objects with eyes by two to three months

– doesn’t smile at the sound of your voice by two months

– doesn’t grasp and hold objects by three months

– doesn’t smile at people by three months

– cannot support his head well by three months

– doesn’t reach for and grasp objects by three to four months

– doesn’t bring objects to mouth by four months

– doesn’t push down on legs when feet are placed on a flat surface by four months

– has trouble moving one or both eyes in all directions

– crosses eyes most of the time (occasional crossing of the eyes is normal in the first few months)

CDC’s Tips on Helping Your Baby Grow

The CDC listed some tips on what you can do to help with your child’s development. [4] To support your child’s physical development, you can place toys near him during tummy time, encourage him to lift his head and reach by holding toys at eye level in front of him, and holding him upright with his feet flat on the floor.

To nurture your child’s social and emotional skills, you can cuddle, talk, and play during routine activities, help him learn to calm himself, engage in conversations when he makes sounds, play peek-a-boo, and place a baby-safe mirror in his play area so he can look at his reflection.

Finally, for his cognitive and language development, you can establish a routine, pay attention to his different cries, and communicate and engage in conversations with your baby.

How to Support Your Baby’s Development

Your presence is a powerful source for your baby’s development. At this newborn stage, your child continues to make sense of the world around him. But as a parent, what can you do to be able to support his development?

Get Your Baby’s Senses Involved

As a newborn, everything is a new experience to your baby. The people he sees, the sounds he hears, the things he feels with his hands and feet, and even the odors he smells. All that your child experiences with his senses are ways that he explores and makes sense of his surroundings.

Be There for Your Baby

Babies develop an attachment to their caregivers – most especially his parents. They trust that their caregivers are responsive to their needs. It is a mutual relationship where you and your child enjoy interacting with each other.

As parents, you become your child’s “secure base” from which he becomes confident in exploring his surroundings.[5] Since they are still babies, what they can do is still limited. By being there, your child trusts that his needs will be met. Plus, you give your child the confidence to try new things.

Practice Tummy Time and Other Positions

Tummy time is when you place your baby – yes, you guessed it – on his tummy during playtime. This encourages him to support his weight and develop other motor skills. [6] You can also handle and position your child in different ways. Handling a baby means that you are in physical contact with him. In doing this, you’re able to put your child in different positions like on his back, on his tummy, or even on his side. [7]

Being in different positions gives your child a new perspective of his surroundings. Just imagine, being on your back, the whole day, then someone places you on your tummy or on your side – wouldn’t you be surprised to see things from a different view? And, wouldn’t you want to see more? This gives your baby the chance to develop a stronger body and the curiosity to eventually explore more on his own.

Talking with your baby

Babies love to listen to their mother’s voice – it’s very comforting to them. In fact, at seven months in utero, your baby is already familiar with the sound your voice.[8]

In the first few months, you can talk to your baby using “motherese” or infant-directed speech. Sometimes, this is known as baby talk or when you talk to young children using a higher pitch or tone of voice.[9] The tone of voice and exaggeration of facial expressions can help your child engage in conversations with you.

Other ways you can communicate to your child is through describing what you are doing. For example, while helping your child get dressed, you can narrate what is happening. You can say, “I’m going to help you put a shirt on” or even identify body parts like, “Let me put your socks on your feet”. By doing this, you’re helping your child develop his vocabulary even if he isn’t vocal yet.

As you talk with your baby, keep an eye out on how he communicates with you as well. He will talk to you through sounds and gestures and these can help you get to know your baby better. These will serve as cues for you to know when he is sleepy, hungry, cranky, and more. You can read more in this book by Kevin Nugent.

Your Baby is Speaking to You
Work on your baby’s language development by engaging in conversations with him. Babies use their actions to communicate with you. They learn that the different sounds they make can get them something that they are looking for or need.

As they get older, you can also introduce Sign Language. Incorporate baby signing in your conversations so that your child will know that some actions represent words. You can watch as your child begins to use them as he talks with you.

Setting a Routine

Setting a routine will be of big help since your baby relies on you to help him throughout the day. Routines will give your child a sense of predictability as the day progresses. At this stage, setting a routine would probably revolve around bathing, feeding, and sleeping. But as your baby grows older, you can add more to your routine like storytelling, sensory play, and even activities like art or movement.

Activities That You Can Do with Your Child

Spending time with your child is meaningful. Simple activities like talking to your child during bathing, dressing, or feeding is something that can help with his overall development. Not just from an infant to a toddler, but these can carry over to adolescence or even adulthood.

Reading

Take some time to read to your infant. This promotes bonding and will help with your child’s language development. You can read to your baby while he’s laying down or during tummy time. Reading can also be part of your sleep routine.

Reading – or looking at books – can also help with your child’s visual development. Black and white or other high contrast books are often made for babies. The colors and patterns make it easier for the child to see the images on the books.[10]

Here are some examples of black and white or high contrast books for babies. They are available on Amazon. They are both high-contrast picture and board books for your babies. The way the pictures look in the books will give your babies an easier time to see shapes and other figures.

  1. Black and White Board Book by Tana Hoban
  • Look, Look! by Peter Linenthal
“Look,
Another book that can help with your child’s visual development. The red font in this book adds to the visual experience of your child. Once your baby is older, you can also read this book together.

Interactive Games

Playing peek-a-boo is exhilarating for babies. This is because of object permanence.[11] This is a concept where babies think that objects that are hidden no longer exist. So when you’re hiding behind your hands during a game of peek-a-boo, your baby really doesn’t know where you are. At around four months, your baby will begin to understand that you are hiding and have not totally disappeared. But until then, this game will always be a favorite.

Toys

At almost three months old, your baby may not need too many toys just yet. But we aren’t stopping you from looking for quality toys. These are toys available on Amazon that are open-ended and can be used for longer periods of time. Your child can even grow with them.

  1. Baby Play Activity Gym

This activity gym is multifunctional and can help with your child’s development. At almost three months, the hanging toys will encourage him to reach out. He can still play with this toy and work on his balance, even if your baby can already sit and stand.

  • Infantino Wrist Rattles, Monkey and Panda

The quiet colors of these rattles will not be too stimulating for your child. Plus, when placed on his wrists or ankles, the movements your baby makes will produce sounds. The sounds can encourage him to explore cause and effect because he will notice that as he moves with the toys, sounds are made.

Sale
Infantino Wrist Rattles, Monkey and Panda
Spark your child’s curiosity and engage in the exploration of sounds and movement with these wrist rattles.
  • Bright Starts Sit and See Floor Mirror, Safari Floor Mirror

Using a mirror is another way to strengthen your child’s motor development. Seeing his reflection in the mirror lets your child know that he is an individual capable of doing many things. He can see what he is doing through his reflection and can even explore his facial expressions.

“Bright
Strengthen your child’s core and neck muscles as he enjoys tummy time. Strengthen your connection as you play together while looking at your reflections.

The Importance of Sleep

As a newborn, your baby can sleep at different times of the day for a total of 16.5 hours. Within the next six months, the number of hours can decrease to around 14 hours. [12] Regardless of how many times your baby sleeps – let’s say, two naps in the morning and one long sleep in the nighttime – the hours your baby sleeps in one day will still be the same.

Have a Nighttime Routine and Bedtime

Having a fixed schedule can lessen the time you have to wake up at night. A nighttime routine can also help your child adjust to his daily activities. A simple routine like taking a bath, changing into pajamas, and reading a story can signal to your child that it is already nighttime and he is about to sleep. [13]

Consistent bedtimes give your baby a sense of security. Even if you aren’t as strict in providing limits during the day, a regular nighttime routine and fixed bedtime will help with your baby’s sleep regulation. A lack of routine makes it difficult for your child to sleep (Staples et. al. 142-143).

Waking Up in the Middle of the Night

Establishing a sleep routine not only helps the child, but helps the parents as well. As new parents, sleep deprivation is expected, especially in the first few months. Thankfully, there have been studies conducted on infant sleep and its effects and benefits on parents.

According to Staples et. al. (142), the more parents are involved in helping their babies sleep, the more frequent and the longer night awakenings happen. This means that when parents help their babies fall asleep by rocking them or feeding them, this increases the likelihood of their child waking up at night – thus affecting the parents’ sleep as well.

Your Baby’s Sleep Regulation

High involvement in your child’s night awakenings can affect how your baby can regulate falling back to sleep. In the long run, being too involved when your child wakes up in the middle of the night can be detrimental to his sleep regulation as he grows older (Staples 142).

Teamwork in the Family’s Sleep Schedule

Did you know that babies can be sensitive to his mother’s emotional state? [14] If a mother is sleep deprived, the way she interacts with her child can be negatively affected. This is where a partner can come to help.

Parenting as a couple requires teamwork. You can take turns with your partner when attending to the needs of your baby from morning until night. The role of the father in helping during night time awakenings has an effect on the duration of sleep for both his child and his partner. [15] This is important because when both parents get enough sleep, they are more attentive and attuned to the needs of their baby.

Consistency is Key

As parents to a newborn, consistency is key. Your child depends on you to establish his daily routine – from feeding, diapering, and of course, sleeping. A baby feels safe and secure when routines are set because it gives him an idea of what is about to happen next.

Parents who are consistent in the daytime and nighttime routines have infants with the greatest amount of nightly sleep. This means that if you, the parent, provide a consistent routine, your child can sleep longer through the night. This in turn will help you sleep through the night as well. According to Staples (143), having a sleep routine has helped parents see an improvement in their child’s sleeping, their own sleep, and even their self-efficacy as parents.

Final Thoughts

Your 10-week-old will only grow and develop faster in the coming months. He’ll be getting ready to sit and crawl very soon. You can keep track of these changes with the help of a developmental milestones checklist. Continue to provide support for his growing curiosity. Practice constantly talking to your child because he will start responding back through babbling. Also remember that routines are as important as ever. Spending time with him as he grows is just as important as when he was first born.


[1] United States, Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Milestone Checklist.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009.

[2] First Look and The Early Childhood Direction Center from Shelov, S. P., and Hanneman, R. E. “Developmental Checklists Birth to Five”. Minnesota State University Moorhead, 1994.

[3] AbilityPath. “Typical and Atypical Motor Development.” AbilityPath, 9 June 2020, abilitypath.org/ap-resources/typical-and-atypical-motor-development.

[4] United States, Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Milestone Checklist.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009.

[5] Paris, Jennifer, et al. “Chapter 6: Social and Emotional Development in Infancy and Toddlerhood.” Understanding the Whole Child: Prenatal Development through Adolescence, edited by Alexa Johnson, 1.2, College of the Canyons, 2019, pp. 159–77.

[6] AbilityPath. “Typical and Atypical Motor Development.” AbilityPath, 9 June 2020, abilitypath.org/ap-resources/typical-and-atypical-motor-development.

[7] Lobo, Michele, and James Galloway. “Enhanced Handling and Positioning in Early Infancy Advances Development Throughout the First Year.” Child Development, vol. 83, no. 4, 2012, pp. 1290–302. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/23255694.

[8] Paris, Jennifer, et al. “Chapter 4: Physical Development in Infancy & Toddlerhood.” Understanding the Whole Child: Prenatal Development through Adolescence, edited by Alexa Johnson, 1.2, College of the Canyons, 2019, pp. 102–38.

[9] N., Pam. “MOTHERESE.” Psychology Dictionary, 2015, psychologydictionary.org/motherese.

[10] Paris, Jennifer, et al. “Chapter 4: Physical Development in Infancy & Toddlerhood.” Understanding the Whole Child: Prenatal Development through Adolescence, edited by Alexa Johnson, 1.2, College of the Canyons, 2019, pp. 102–38.

[11] O’Brien, Maureen. “Object Permanence: So Much More than Peek-a-Boo!” BabySparks, 18 Aug. 2020, www.babysparks.com/2016/09/28/object-permanence-so-much-more-than-peek-a-boo.

[12] Paris, Jennifer, et al. “Chapter 4: Physical Development in Infancy & Toddlerhood.” Understanding the Whole Child: Prenatal Development through Adolescence, edited by Alexa Johnson, 1.2, College of the Canyons, 2019, pp. 102–38.

[13] Staples, Angela, et al. “BEDTIME ROUTINES IN EARLY CHILDHOOD: PREVALENCE, CONSISTENCY, AND ASSOCIATIONS WITH NIGHTTIME SLEEP.” Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, vol. 80, no. 1, 2015, pp. 141–59. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/43773549.

[14] Tikotzky, Liat, et al. “INFANT SLEEP DEVELOPMENT FROM 3 TO 6 MONTHS POSTPARTUM: LINKS WITH MATERNAL SLEEP AND PATERNAL INVOLVEMENT.” Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, vol. 80, no. 1, 2015, pp. 107–24. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/43773547.

[15] Tikotzky, Liat, et al. “INFANT SLEEP DEVELOPMENT FROM 3 TO 6 MONTHS POSTPARTUM: LINKS WITH MATERNAL SLEEP AND PATERNAL INVOLVEMENT.” Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, vol. 80, no. 1, 2015, pp. 107–24. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/43773547.

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Author

Diana Lucas

Diana Lucas

Hi, Diana here. Welcome to my blog and hope you like my sharing. I am a mother of 2 boys, 3 years old and a 1 year old. I dedicate my career in child development research and I focus on parenting tips, positive parenting, educational toys for my babies. Your time here means a lot to me! Diana A. Lucas

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