Baby Development and Milestones: Your 8-Month-Old
What might your baby be doing and learning this month?
A lot of babies have started to crawl by now, but please don’t be alarmed if your little one is yet to start. Some babies start crawling early, and others may even bypass this stage altogether, jumping straight to walking from rolling.
Alternatives to crawling that your baby might use to get about are creeping (on his tummy), scooting (on his bottom) and rolling (so cute – but watch our that he doesn’t bump into objects!).
Your baby’s motor skills are also improving day by day. So you might notice your little munchkin determinedly making his way across the room to get to a toy, or easily playing with toys such as blocks and balls.
In preparation for those all important first steps in a few months, your baby is probably practicing standing up by holding on to a chair or low table. Your little one’s pincer grasp – where he uses his thumb and finger to pick up objects – is well developed by now.
Clapping and nodding his head are other really cute skills your bub has this month. Don’t forget to clap and nod along with him!
- Some good toys for your baby to enhance his motor skills are a set of plastic cups that fit into each other, and big, easy-to-assemble blocks.
- Because he is so clever with this grasp, do pay extra attention to small objects that he might pick up and put in his mouth, or push up his nose.
- Remember that if something is small enough to fit in a toilet roll, then it’s a potential choking hazard to your baby.
When to talk to a doctor
If your baby:
- Cannot stand on his feet while supported
- Cannot sit without support
Does baby love to drop objects repeatedly and then pick them up (or expect you to!)? While this might be a bit tiring when repeated, it shows off baby’s cognitive development in terms of him understanding the idea of cause and effect: I drop this, mummy picks it up.
Other markers of cognitive development might be that he brings together familiar behaviours in new ways in order to ‘problem solve’. For example, he might reach for his favourite toy and crawl at the same time.
Meanwhile, continue to play games like ‘peek-a-boo’ with your bub that heighten his sense of object permanence.
Social and Emotional Development
Don’t be surprised if your tiny social butterfly is not so friendly around strangers (or even known people) anymore. Because he is starting to differentiate between familiar and unfamiliar now, it’s not surprising that he might be shy or even anxious around strangers.
Tips for parents
Your kid is starting to grow wary of strangers, and this is a huge step in his emotional and social growth.
- Given this development, don’t force him to go to people he is not comfortable with, even if they repeatedly ask or try to carry or cuddle him. Try explaining to them gently (but firmly!) that your baby is going through this phase of not being comfortable around people he does not know that well.
- Ask them to give your baby a little time to get used to them, and he might just reward them with a quick smile or even cuddle!
The sunniest of all smiles and the sweetest of all laughs, meanwhile, are reserved for his favourite people in the whole world – his family!
When to worry
If your baby does not recognise familiar faces, does not respond when you call his name, you should have chat with the doctor.
Speech and Language Development
Language skills are proudly on display this month in the form of the cutest-ever babbling!
Don’t worry too much if your baby is still calling everyone else other than you ‘mummy’. Over the next few weeks, he’ll learn to direct the word at the correct person. Try asking your baby a question. Even though he won’t answer using words, you might be surprised to notice a tiny gesture that shows he understands and is responding.
Tips for parents
This is the perfect opportunity to engage your baby and help him develop his language skills. You can choose one, two, or more languages to talk to your baby, and it is fine!
- Continue talking to your little one, even though the best response you will probably get to your question is “BA BA DA DA”! Continued interaction will help baby’s language skills develop by leaps and bounds.
- This is the age that some parents start introducing baby sign language. which could be a helpful tool for your baby to express what he wants without getting frustrated over his limited command of the language.
- Your baby might show more interest (and patience) in listening to stories this month. So if he didn’t seem to keen on books last month, try again now.
- You might see that baby prefers certain stories or books over others. This is most likely linked to his favourite colours, pictures and the cadence of certain stories as you read them out. Reading to a child is such a lovely way of bonding and also helping him develop his language and communication skills.
When to worry
If by this time, your baby does not babble, does not seem interested in engaging when you are trying to talk to him, you should bring it up during your next visit to the doctor.
Health and Nutrition
By this age, your bub should weigh around 7.7 kg to 9.6 kg and should measure between 64.4 and 72.8 cms. Don’t worry though, if your baby weighs slightly less as long as other milestones are on time.
By this age, your baby is able to eat finger foods.
Tips for parents
- Since your baby has a good pincer grasp now, try offering him chunks of firm food such as banana or avocado that he can easily hold and eat on his own.
- Always cut food into bite-sized chunks and never offer food that is very hard, or is cut into big pieces, as these could pose the risk of choking. Avoid foods such as grapes and nuts that could pose a very real choking hazard to your baby.
- Mealtimes should start getting very exciting by now and you should be offering a wide variety of foods. Don’t be anxious if his milk intake drops – this is normal given that he is now eating solid foods.
Mums and dads, remember to never leave your tot unattended while he is eating.
When to worry
If your child drops below 5 percentile in height or weight, please see your doctor.
- Double-check that the whole house is baby-proofed, as your baby’s mobility increases. It’s also best if you can block off ‘danger spots’ like the kitchen and bathroom.
- Take baby for walks as much as possible. Yes, fresh air is good for him, but such little trips also expose him to lots of new things, which boosts his cognitive development.
- Babies love watching TV but try not to encourage this habit from such a young age. If you feel your baby is in need of some ‘entertainment’, provide it in the form of reading, singing or just talking and interacting with him.
Mums and dads, don’t get worried if your baby hasn’t met the milestones outlined in this article. Every baby develops at his own pace.
However, if you are very anxious, you should raise your concerns with your child’s paediatrician.