Your baby at 8 months
Dropping and throwing
Your baby will be thrilled to discover they’ve now got much better control over their hands and fingers, so they can drop things for you to pick up and perhaps even throw things. You may be less thrilled.
You may notice your baby cries or whimpers when they see another baby crying – this is called ‘reflexive crying’ and is the beginnings of feeling empathy for others, something that will develop slowly over the next few years.
My favourite toy
Some babies may have chosen a favourite soft toy by now and will use it as a security object, dribbling on it and dragging it around everywhere. If so, this is definitely the time to scour the shops for a second one just in case it gets lost or you want to sneak it into the washing machine. Many babies just aren’t fussed about a favourite toy; either way is absolutely normal.
Your baby’s eyesight is now pretty much as good as an adult’s: watch them spot something across the room and either point to it insistently or try to crawl towards it. If you are worried about their eyesight or they have a squint in one eye – even a small one – it’s really important to see your GP or health visitor and arrange a sight test.
Talk the walk
Babies are so different in what they can do at this age. It’s easy to worry you’re surrounded by baby Einsteins and get a bout of baby development anxiety. Your baby may already be saying ‘mama’ and ‘dada’, or they may be just baby-babbling. Either is fine: the key is to keep talking to them, don’t get anxious and they will talk in their own good time. It’s the same story with moving: for some babies, crawling is seriously yesterday’s news and they’re already pulling themselves up to standing. Others are still sitting happily and showing little inclination to move at all. Again, don’t panic – they’ll do it when they’re ready.
How to help
- Encourage self-feeding to help hand to mouth coordination. Opt for finger foods such as rice cakes, carrots and cheese
- Your baby may be trying to pull themselves up to a standing position while holding onto furniture; sofas are great for this. Be right behind them at first in case they start to wobble. Your baby is now entering the land of bumps and falls: your heart may occasionally skip a beat or two, but try to enjoy watching them explore and let them try things on their own, while staying nearby just in case
- They’re learning about cause and effect now: ‘if I push this button, a sound comes out’. It’s a good time for a baby activity centre or toys with buttons and levers
- Things of different sizes that fit into each other – like saucepans or beakers – are endlessly fascinating for this age
Game of the month
The rummage box. Fill a basket or box with random, baby-safe household objects – maybe a wooden spoon, whisk, wooden lemon squeezer, oven glove, tea towel, plastic cups. Put it on the floor in front of them and watch them study, sniff, feel, and bang all the different items.
Are they normal?
A small note on developmental milestones: it’s really true – all babies are different and although we can encourage them, they will do things at their own pace and in their own time.
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