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Your Baby at 8 Months Old

What to expect for your baby’s development, milestones, eating, and sleeping in the eighth month


Get ready, mom: This month marks the beginning of some serious baby mobility. Your little is oh-so-busy, working on crawling, babbling, and greater hand dexterity, to name a few skills. Baby’s comprehension is taking off and s/he’s showing off that increasing understanding by laughing out loud and pausing for a moment when you say “no!” Here’s more about what to expect in baby’s eighth month.

Eight-Month-Old Development

Expect your baby to gain a little under a pound this month, with another ⅜ths of an inch in length and a slight increase in head circumference. These gains are just guidance though. As long as your baby’s growth is following a consistent curve as plotted by your medical caregiver, there’s no need to worry about specific numbers.

Movement Development


In case there was any doubt, your baby is a newborn no more: most of those involuntary reflexes have faded away and been replaced with intentional and purposeful movements, the signs of a maturing nervous system

These are days and weeks of rapid change for your baby’s mobility. In a short time, your little could go from mastering unsupported sitting up to scooting, crawling, and cruising. You’ll likely notice your baby doing everything possible to develop these skills, including rolling, twisting, crouching, and rocking back and forth on his or her knees in anticipation of getting going.

By eight months, most babies are quite skilled at sitting unsupported. Confident in their balance, many begin reaching for toys and other desired objects from this seated position. The movements help build baby’s core strength, which is essential for standing and walking. Their upper torso balance aids something else: the coordination of simultaneous arm and hand movements. With most babies able to hold a toy in each hand, it’s only a matter of time before they start banging them together.

Although your baby is still using a raking motion to collect a desired object, s/he continues work on the pincer grasp, which means using thumb and pointer finger to pick up small objects. It usually takes babies until their first birthday to master this move. In other hand developments, eight-month-old babies are learning to let go of things at will, which they love to practice by dropping and throwing things on repeat.

Mental and Social

As your baby’s thinking becomes more complex, s/he begins to display preferences, likes, and dislikes. Babies at this age are beginning to understand the word no (even if they don’t adhere to it), a demonstration of their increasing ability to attach meaning to sounds and gestures. Many perk up at the sound of their name; they know there’s an association between that word, themselves, and you. About half of eight-month-old babies wave goodbye.

As their understanding of object permanence sets in, many babies begin to experience separation anxiety. This can happen even when you do something as small as step out of the room – your baby now understands that you still exist, and s/he wants you near. It can be a challenging time for your baby, who is torn between the desire to become independent, and wanting to be with you. Help your baby strike a balance by encouraging him or her to explore in safe places while remaining close by.

By now your baby might be a very proficient babbler, skilled at making not only single sounds but also combined syllables such as bah-dah. Like adults, some babies are chattier than others. Engage quiet babies in conversation just as you would a chatty baby. They all listen and absorb words and information like little sponges.

Senses Development

Sight Babies’ sight has remarkable clarity at this age, with most boasting 20/40 vision. That means they still see things that are close better than those far away, but their eyesight is focused enough to recognize people from across the room. As their depth perception continues to improve, babies get better at accurately judging distances when reaching for things.


As your baby becomes more adept at dexterity and hand-eye coordination, s/he loves to utilize these newfound skills. Toys with tags, handles, and removable large parts offer satisfaction to babies who are busy exploring the world and figuring out how it works.

Help Your Eight-Month-Old’s Development

There are a few things you can do to help your baby's month-by-month development.

  • Buy a toy phone! Babies love to pretend they're talking on the phone and they love to push buttons! To keep your phone safe from little hands and drooly mouths and to help develop her imagination and hand coordination, buy your baby her own toy phone.
  • Babyproofing is vital, but it's probably not enough. Instead, get down on the floor and see things from your baby's perspective. You may see a few things that need some attention.
  • Play peek-a-boo with your baby, but let her be the one to hide. Show her how to cover her face with her hands or cover her with a blanket and let her pull it off herself.
  • Let her feed herself. She may make a mess and get more on the floor than in her mouth, but this is excellent hand-eye coordination practice.

Milestones this Month

Here’s what you can expect your baby to be doing by eight months old.

  • Baby is sitting up straight and looking around.
  • Baby begins supporting self in crawling position and rocking back and forth on all fours, or otherwise showing a desire to move around by movements like repeated rolling, or scooting on his or her bottom.
  • Baby uses hands to rake up small objects while also developing better use of thumb and fingers.
  • Baby tries transferring objects from one hand to another.
  • Baby is beginning to attach meaning to words and gestures, apparent by waving goodbye or reacting to the word no.
  • Baby babbles by combining different sounds together.
  • Baby shows a developing understanding of object permanence through separation anxiety and/or looking to you when a toy is dropped out of sight.

Feeding at Eight Months

Babies continue with their primarily liquid diets this month. Expect your baby to nurse four to six times a day or take three to four bottles of formula containing seven to eight ounces each. Solid food does play an increasing role, as babies eat anywhere from four to nine tablespoons a day of cereal, fruits, and veggies. You might also begin offering soft or pureed proteins like meat, cheese, and full-fat yogurt. Start establishing healthy eating habits early by offering a variety of foods (still introduced one at a time), and minimizing processed foods. Now is also a good time to introduce a two-handled sippy cup, although your baby will probably bang it around and throw it more often than drink from it.

Sleeping at Eight Months

Most eight-month-old babies can sleep for ten to 12 hours straight at night, and fit in another three to four daytime hours in two naps. If your baby was sleeping through and is now waking at night, newfound mobility skills might be to blame. As baby gets used to pulling up to stand, cruising, and crawling, s/he won’t feel the need to practice those moves at 2 a.m.

Common Concerns at Eight Months

Bumps and Falls

Although no parent wants to see their child fall down, crashing to the floor is a part of normal development, especially at this age. Babies need to learn their limits and this includes the occasional fall! This is why baby-proofing is particularly important. Use gates on stairs, electric covers and padded corners on tables, and fireplace ledges to keep your eight-month-old safe. Also, remember to always use the safety straps in your stroller and high chair.

New Parent Help: "My Baby Isn’t Babbling Yet”

While sometimes a baby at eight months is talking, others aren't saying a word. If your baby isn't talking yet, keep talking to her! Babies will talk when they're ready and there's nothing wrong with a baby who waits a little longer to speak. If you're worried, mention it to your child's pediatrician, but chances are good that nothing's wrong.

See what’s next with our month to month guides

There are so many exciting developments and changes in store for your baby in just the next few months! Take a look at what to expect at nine months and beyond with our month to month guides.

3 Your Baby at 7 Months Old
Your Baby at 9 Months Old 4

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