Encouraging Language Skills

Month 8, Week 2

Your baby may not be able to tell you what she wants using words yet, but she can still make herself understood with sounds, shrieks, and gestures.

She may also be pointing by now. And she can understand much more than what she can say.

Help her build those language skills:

  • Watch what she likes best and encourage her interest. If she’s fascinated with the cat, talk to her about the cat, help her pet it and say “Meow!”
  • Give her bright, colorful cloth and board books and read them together.
  • Don’t mimic her mispronunciations. If you know “bah” means bottle, give it to her when she asks for it but say, “Here’s your bottle!”
  • Play follow-the-leader. If she makes a sound, make it back. If she makes a gesture, imitate it with a big smile on your face.

Your Baby's Development This Week

Your baby has always loved watching your face. But at this age, she’s growing more and more attuned to your emotions and expressions, and is reading your physical and verbal cues. She might even be able to respond to simple requests like “give the book to Mama.”

Keep her growing brain stimulated by:

  • Talking to her constantly. Describe what you’re doing as you change her diaper, make breakfast, or read to her.
  • Show her new and engaging things and tell her their names -- in the grocery store, the park, or at the playground.
  • Use vivid, but simple language. “Here’s Abby’s big red dog.” “Feel the soft blanket!” “Does that blueberry taste sweet?”
  • Don’t make it a monologue. Let her fill in her side of the conversation with her own babble.

You might wonder about:

  • When she should say her real first word. Some parents insist their babies said “I love you,” at three months -- they’re likely wrong. Early talkers may be saying “Mama” or “Dada” now, but they probably don’t always mean mother or father when they say it.
  • Baby’s favorite blanket. Many babies get attached to special objects like blankets or stuffed toys. This is totally normal -- just try to have a spare in case the beloved item gets lost or soiled.
  • Your baby’s name. By now, she will probably know that this particular collection of sounds means her. If she doesn’t respond to her name when you call, consult your doctor.

Month 8, Week 2 Tips

  • Age 8-10 months is prime time for diaper rash, with all the new foods babies are trying. Change her diaper frequently and use a diaper cream if your doctor recommends one.
  • Eczema is relatively common in babies. If your baby has it, avoid too frequent baths, and moisturize with an unscented cream or lotion.
  • Choose safe toys: Fabric and stuffed items should be washable and flame-retardant, and painted toys should have lead-free paint.
  • Test her toys for risky parts. Make sure buttons, eyes, and other pieces are securely attached.
  • Read to your baby whenever you can. It teaches her emotional expression, sounds, and gestures and keeps you close.
  • Woo her interest away from stairs with a mini-obstacle course built of cushions, blocks, and pillows.
  • Never stop baby proofing. Keep your eye out for new hazards including plastic bags, long cords, and uncovered containers of water (such as mop buckets).
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on March 21, 2020



American Academy of Pediatrics: "Language Development: 8 to 12 months."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Transitional Objects."

KidsHealth.org: "Communication and Your 8-12 Month Old."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Diaper Rash Solution."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Cleaning Baby Clothes."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Rashes and Skin Conditions."

KidsHealth.org: "Choosing Safe Toys." KidsHealth.org: "Reading Books to Babies."

KidsHealth.org: "Medical Care and Your 8 to 12 Month Old."

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