Baby development at month 8
If you have an 8 month old baby then it’s likely that you’re being kept very busy by a baby that’s now able to get from A to B – whether that’s by rolling, bum-shuffling, crawling or cruising – and who’s interested in everything!
Keep your curious baby safe by baby proofing your house, being especially careful to block off stairs and put out of reach everything that you don’t want baby to get a hold of. Child-locks on cupboard doors are a wise idea, and you’ll need to make sure that anything hazardous, such as cleaning items and medicines, are locked away.
Let’s look at the possible 8 month baby milestones across areas of physical, motor, mental, sensory and social & emotional development. However, it’s important to remember that all babies are unique and some will reach different development milestones earlier or later than average. If you have any concerns, speak to your doctor for advice.
Getting your baby into good eating habits is important, and they should now be eating an increasing variety of different foods. Examples of 8 month baby food include soft fruits and vegetables, baby cereals, and sources of protein such as mashed or pureed meat, chicken, fish, beans and legumes. Letting your baby feed himself is great for improving hand-eye coordination – although he might get more on the floor than in his mouth to begin with!
WHO recommends that 6-8 month old babies should be eating two to three meals per day, in addition to breast or formula milk. Some babies will be happy to use a sippy cup instead of a bottle at this stage, with the American Dental Association recommending making this transition before age one.
A varied diet will help your baby to maintain a healthy 8 month baby weight, which you’d expect to be between approximately 7 – 10.5kg for boys and 6.3 – 10kg for girls on average.
Most eight month old babies will be able to sit unsupported, but they’re unlikely to want to sit still for very long! Your baby is learning to pair his motor skills with his senses, so will realize that he can get to the toys that he can see across the room. Most babies will be crawling by this stage, and some will even be pulling themselves to a standing position and cruising around the furniture! Remember that your baby will need even more careful supervision as they become increasingly mobile.
A developing pincer grip will also help your 8 month old baby to explore his world, and he’ll use this hand and finger coordination to pick up anything of interest that’s within reach – so beware of small items that pose a potential choking hazard.
Your baby’s communication skills should be coming along nicely as they spend their time exploring, discovering, learning and playing, with most eight month old babies saying ‘mama and dada’ – although they’re likely to say both words to both parents! Baby might even understand the meanings of a few simple words that they’re familiar with, such as milk, bye-bye or bath. If your baby isn’t at this stage yet, don’t worry – just keep talking to encourage him!
An eight month old baby will also be developing his non-verbal communication skills, such as pointing to an object or using other gestures to indicate that he wants something. He might also be starting to attach meaning to common items – his bed means sleep and his highchair means food, for example.
As your baby continues to improve his sense of object permanence – understanding that you exist even when he can’t see you – nap times and bedtimes may become more difficult. Try to remain consistent in your routine to help your baby feel more secure.
Food is an important tool in your baby’s sensory development, as he will engage all of his senses at meal times. Choose foods that present not only a variety of tastes but also a variety of colors, textures and smells.
Your baby is also likely to enjoy playing with toys at eight months old. Toys that make noise such as simple musical instruments or activity cubes will be exciting for baby, as will toys that can be manipulated to get a reaction i.e. toys that can be pushed, pulled, squeezed, shook or twisted. Also, touch and feel books that present various different textures are a great way to combine reading with your baby’s sensory development.
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