8 Month Baby – Milestones and Development

Your baby’s 8th month is full of changes. You may see and hear about other babies the same age who are doing different things to yours. Don’t feel down (or too loudly proud) when comparing notes with other moms. Remember that everyone is different and that movement milestones and speech development dates can vary by four or more months between normal babies. Teeth can be present at birth or not appear for over a year. If you are concerned at all do ask your pediatrician for reassurance.

 

The 8 Month Crisis

As your 8 month old baby becomes more self aware she will begin to realise that she is a separate person from you. This stage can come completely without drama, or with sudden crying and clinginess that leaves you wondering what happened to your smiling confident bundle of joy. Try not to be too upset or blame yourself. This is such a common 8 month milestone that it is even called the 8 month crisis.

She may start crying when you go out of sight to the bathroom or kitchen, even though she has never complained before. Even when you leave her with familiar people in places she previously felt secure, she may cling to you and scream. Don’t imagine that this is your fault or that anything is wrong.

Here are some tips to help you through:

  • Have a routine for when you have to leave, make it positive and loving even if she cries
  • Never sneak off when she is distracted to avoid a scene
  • She is not being naughty so try not to show frustration or anger
  • Try to leave her with familiar people when possible
  • This is not a good time to change your childcare arrangements
  • Offer a favorite toy or security blanket to stay with her while you are gone
  • Buy a spare for when it needs washed or gets lost
  • Try not to get distressed. It’s just a stage and it will pass

Moving About

Whether your baby is still rocking and rolling, or zipping around on all fours, she will like to practice a standing position with your support. She won’t be going far, so for now you can avoid the backache that is coming your way in later months.

Sit or kneel and hold her firmly under the arms as she balances on her feet. She will enjoy being gently bounced along the floor as if she is walking. You 8 month baby can face you as you laugh and talk and encourage her and watch her enjoyment. She can also face away from you and hold on to a chair or couch with your support from behind.

Follow your instincts on how much support to give as she gets steadier, but don’t let go completely. Even if she seems stable, she could lose balance or concentration at any time. Luckily diapers are good insulation against bumps. Still it can be a surprise the first time she lets go and lands with a bump. A sudden sitting down is nothing to worry about, but keep the area clear of hard toys and corners in case of wobbles or that trick of flinging herself backwards, trusting that you will be there.

 

Bangs and Bumps

The faster she moves, the more likely your crawler is to bump into things. Unfortunately it is a part of life that every child experiences, starting now. You will already have childproofed your home with stairgates, and kitchen cabinet locks. Consider corner guards at head height for the places she will be exploring most frequently.

You will never want your baby to be hurt, but it is not only certain to happen, it will help her learn what is safe and what to avoid as she continues to explore. Once you have secured the genuinely dangerous areas, the best you can do is be there to pick her up and be a loving distraction when she bumps into the world around her.

 

Secure Sleeping

Babies develop so fast around 8 months that you must be prepared and always one step ahead to keep them safe.

Any time now she will start pulling herself up on furniture, including when she is in her crib. If you have a drop-side crib be sure to pull the side up all the way every time you leave her, so that you know she is secure.

 

8 month old baby eyesight

By now your baby can see right across a room well enough to recognise people she knows. She will see objects close to her in clear focus. Crawling around will help develop her depth and  three dimensional vision as well as learning to coordinate her body movements with what she is seeing.

Her eyes should be moving together by now. If your baby looks like she is squinting, or she seems cross eyed or her eyes turn outward, bring this to the attention of your pediatrician, as most problems with vision are more easily fixed the earlier they are detected.

By now you should be able to tell whether her eyes will be blue or brown, hazel or green or gray. They may change in shade a little till the end of her first year.

 

Games and toys for your 8 month baby

Last month it was all about dropping things. An 8 month milestone you might not be looking forward to is throwing things. Be prepared. Your keys and phone may have got used to being chewed but consider whether you are comfortable with them being thrown at your TV or your cup of coffee or another child.

Again, this is learning and fun, and not done to be naughty. Be kind when saying “No” and move things out of reach when necessary.

  • Play ball. Get a lightweight ball that you can roll and throw to each other, and spend some time playing the game when and where it suits you.
  • Stacking things is fun now. Buy stacking toys or offer plastic beakers and bowls.
  • Activity toys with buttons and levers will make use of improving hand control
  • Name and point. 8 month babies like to point to people and things. Ask “where’s teddy?” or “where’s daddy?” and congratulate her when she points in the right direction.

 

 

 

Zell J

Zell J has a BA in Developmental Psychology from the University of Sussex, UK. She has worked in schools, a children’s home and as a Portage worker. Zell has two wonderful sons who light up her life.

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