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    Baby Development: Your 8-Month-Old

    Eighth Month Baby Milestones: Sleep

    By their eighth month, most babies sleep an average of 13 to 14 hours a day. They’ll take two naps a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Naps average about an hour in length, but some babies can get by with a couple of 20-minute naps.

    Now that your baby has a sense of object permanence -- the knowledge that you still exist even when you’re not around -- bedtimes and nap times may be more of a struggle. This separation anxiety should go away by the time your child is around 2 years old. Don’t be too worried if your baby fusses every time you try to leave the room. The crying shouldn’t last for more than a few minutes. Be consistent in your routine and that will help both you and baby adjust.

    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. You may notice that your baby's diet is starting to switch to more solids versus solely milk.  But he still needs about 16-20 ounces of breast milk or formula until he can switch to cow’s milk after his 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.

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