Baby Development: Your 8-Month-Old
Eighth Month Baby Milestones: Eating
Your 8-month-old will still be taking 24 to 32 ounces of formula or breast milk every day. But mealtimes should also involve an increasing variety of foods, including baby cereal, fruits and vegetables, and mashed or pureed meats. As the solids increase, the breast milk or formula will decrease. Some babies at this age are so fascinated by table foods that they are less interested in feeding from the bottle or breast. But they still need about 16-20 ounces of breast milk or formula until they are ready to switch to cow’s milk after their first birthday.
Your baby’s pincer grasp and chewing skills should be developed enough by now for you to consider adding finger foods into the mealtime mix. The best first finger foods are bananas, toast, pasta, well-cooked meat, and cereal. Cut foods into bite-sized pieces, and avoid serving any items that are choking hazards, such as hot dogs, raw carrots, popcorn, grapes, blueberries, and raisins. No matter how finely finger foods are chopped, NEVER leave your baby unattended during mealtimes.
As you increase the diversity of foods remember to not introduce honey or egg whites until after 1 year of age.
Eighth Month Baby Milestones: Communication
Your baby is developing a stronger sense of self and a greater awareness of her surroundings. Eight-month-olds understand the idea of object permanence and are starting to anticipate daily routines -- when I’m in the crib it’s bedtime; when I sit in the high chair it’s mealtime. They also realize the relationship between cause and effect -- when I drop this napkin, Mommy picks it up.
At this age your baby is starting to realize what she likes and dislikes, which is why you might see a scowl when you offer the strained broccoli, and a smile when you switch to sweet potatoes.
At eight months, the babbles you’ve been hearing for a while may start to make sense. Mixed in with the “ba-bas” and “ga-gas” you might hear a “ma-ma” and “da-da” aimed in your direction. Your baby can now understand the meaning of a few basic words, including “bye-bye” and “milk,” and can follow simple commands such as, “Say hi to Grandma,” or “Wave bye-bye to Aunt Alice.”
Tips for Your Baby’s Eighth Month:
- If you haven’t done so already, you definitely need to baby-proof your house now that your little one is crawling. Put away all cleaning products, cosmetics, and poisons; lock up your bathroom and kitchen cabinets; install gates across the stairs; and cover open outlets. Make sure there are no blind cords dangling, and no cords from electrical appliances hanging down. Clear out any small objects that are lying around, including pieces of toys and coins.
- Now that your eight-month-old is active nonstop, you might be tempted to plop your baby in front of the TV so that you can take care of some much needed household projects. Although a few minutes of watching an educational video probably won’t hurt your baby, the Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting to turn on the tube until your child is at least 2 years old. Reading, singing, and talking are much better ways of keeping your baby entertained at this age.