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Health & Baby

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Crawling and Cruising

Month 8, Week 1

An 8-month-old is a baby on the move! He may be crawling, scooting, cruising -- babies this age have many ways to get around. But one way or another, he wants to explore his world!

  • Don’t worry if your baby isn’t crawling yet. Some babies skip crawling entirely and go straight to walking!
  • Prompt baby to crawl by placing an enticing new toy just out of his reach. Or play “catch me” -- you’re the exciting object he has to stretch for.
  • Put up your baby gates. Stairs are dangerous for mobile babies.
  • Woo his interest away from those tantalizing stairs with a mini-obstacle course built of cushions, blocks and pillows.

Your Baby's Development This Week

At eight months, babies are busy learning about cause and effect. If I shake this rattle, it makes that cool noise! If I drop my spoon, it hits the floor! (And Mommy makes that funny face sometimes.)

To encourage your budding scientist, you can:

  • Recognize his short attention span by providing a variety of interesting toys
  • Use household objects (and save some money); he’ll be just as happy with your measuring spoons and cups, colanders, and egg cartons.
  • Hide a toy under a scarf and watch him delightedly find it.
  • Let him take eager swipes at dangling objects, like the toys on his mobile.
  • Set aside a safe area for him to play. Babyproof by locking cabinets and make sure there’s nothing within his reach that’s not safe for him to grab and investigate.

You might wonder about:

  • How to stop him from dropping everything off his high chair tray; you really can’t -- he wants to figure out this gravity thing! Give him soft and non-messy stuff (squishy balls, not blocks) to experiment with.
  • Does he still seem a little clumsy when picking things up? Eight-month-olds may not have yet mastered the “pincer grip” -- using a thumb and one forefinger -- so they rake things up with their whole hand instead.
  • Safety. Babies this age are starting to get impatient with diaper changes, so if you have a real “flipper,” it may be time to retire the changing table and do changes on the floor instead.
  • Breastfeeding. If your busy 8-month-old sometimes refuses to nurse, he may be distracted, or he may be ready for a more steady diet of solid food.

Month 8, Week 1 Tips

  • Worried that your baby isn’t meeting movement milestones? Each baby is unique. But never hesitate to ask your pediatrician.
  • Encourage his sense of balance by sitting down with him and playing face-to-face games like peekaboo and patty cake.
  • Wriggle alert: Your baby can probably move easily from back to stomach. Take care at changing time.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against using baby walkers for safety reasons, and because they may actually delay independent walking.
  • If you need to leave your baby with a new sitter, hang around for a bit before heading out. That way, you'll let him get comfortable, especially if he's anxious around strangers.
  • To teach words, point to things and say their names, like ball, dog, cat, car, and spoon.
  • Be an example for your baby. You, too, need a balanced diet full of vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and lean proteins.

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