By the time your baby is 8 months old, not only are they getting around, they are also probably getting into everything! Babies are especially curious at this stage because they are becoming more aware of their environment.
In this portion of WebMD’s month-by-month guide, discover what baby milestones you can expect your child to achieve by the time they are 8 months old.
Eighth Month Baby Milestones: Motor Skills
Eight-month-olds are gaining a lot of new strength. They may be strong enough to pull themselves up to a standing position while holding onto a chair or sofa. In another month or two, they should start cruising around using the furniture for support. Make sure cords are out of reach, lamps, TVs and furniture are secure, and the home is baby-proofed for the mobile child.
Most babies are starting to crawl by now, but don’t be panicked if your 8-month-old isn’t there yet. Some babies take a few extra months to get moving, and a few go straight from rolling to walking without slowing down to crawl.
At this age, your baby is figuring out how to pair up their motor skills with their senses. Babies this age typically can spot a toy from across the room, figure out they want it, crawl over to get it, and pick it up. They can also manipulate toys with relative ease, banging blocks together, tossing a ball, or fitting a series of different-sized cups into one another.
The pincer grasp - using thumb and finger for babies to pick up very small objects -- is now starting to develop, fine tuned by 9 months. Because almost everything your baby picks up will end up in their mouth, be sure to put away any small toy pieces or other objects that are lying around. Keep in mind that if something is small enough to fit inside a toilet paper tube, it’s small enough to choke your child. If your child has siblings older than 3 years, it is a good idea to keep separate play areas and remind that child of the toilet paper tube rule. You may also limit the older sibling to playing with smaller toys while baby naps and cleaning up when baby wakes.
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 they still need about 16-20 ounces of breast milk or formula until they can 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 until after your baby is at least age 1.
Eighth Month Baby Milestones: Communication
Your baby is developing a stronger sense of self and a greater awareness of their 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 they like and dislike, 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. Keep doors to bathrooms and bedrooms closed.
- 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 18 months old. Reading, singing, and talking are much better ways of keeping your baby entertained at this age.