What to Expect in Your Child’s Ninth Month of Life
At 8 months old, your baby is in the home stretch of their first year of life! This can be an equally exciting and sad time for new parents; you may be wondering where your cute, cuddly baby went. Now, your little one is increasingly mobile and independent as they explore the world around them.
An 8-month-old is a very curious child — and they now have the capability to get where they are determined to go. Whether your child is an experienced crawler or even starting to stand with assistance at this time in their life, how to take care of an 8-month-old baby will require an increased sense of awareness on your part. You’ve got a little trouble-maker on your hands!
Fortunately, with a little research and preparation, you’ll know exactly what to expect from an 8-month-old baby — and how you can simultaneously encourage their development and protect them from the dangers around them. In this article, you’ll find a few tips on how to take care of an 8-month-old baby to start yourself off on the right foot when your baby reaches 32 weeks of age.
What to Expect from an 8-Month-Old Baby: Important Milestones
Your baby will have become a hearty little explorer and observer by the time they hit eight months of age. Their brain has developed enough for them to comprehend certain words and actions, so think before you speak, new parent! Your baby will be fairly adept at reading emotions (after all, it’s how they’ve been communicating for the last couple of months) and will pick up on yours very easily. They’re hungry to learn more about the world around them, and they’re ready to be challenged with new toys and experiences.
Remember, every baby is different. While there are certain milestones that often appear at eight months of age, your baby may need more time to develop certain skills. That’s completely okay. But, always check with your pediatrician if you have questions about what to expect at 8 months old.
Here are a few fun developments you can look forward to in the next few weeks:
- The “pincer grip”: Up until now, your baby will have likely used their whole fist to grab things they want — but, now, they have enough control of their thumb and forefinger to pinch things they want. While it will mean they are better equipped to pick up things off the floor that they maybe shouldn’t have, it’s also a sign that you can start feeding your baby finger food.
- Increasing leg support: Whether or not your baby is crawling, walking is certainly in your baby’s future. At this time, they may be able to pull themselves up to standing while holding onto furniture for support. Make sure those sharp edges are properly covered to protect them.
- An understanding of daily routines: Your baby is old enough to start assigning meaning to things, whether those are the words you tell them or the actions you take. They know that being placed in their crib means it’s time for bed, just like they know that being placed in their high chair means it’s time to eat. They often also figure out cause-and-effect — so they’ll drop things over and over again just to see you pick them up.
- Their first words: While your baby has been babbling for months up until this point, they are likely starting to assign meaning to those words. You may hear a “ma-ma” or “da-da” directed at you, and your baby will understand what you say when you use common words like “bye-bye” and “milk.”
Of course, this is a just a general list of what to expect at 8 months from your baby. Remember, they may need more or less time to achieve some of these milestones. For example, if your baby isn’t crawling yet, don’t stress out — your son or daughter might skip this step completely and go straight to walking in a few months!
How to Take Care of an 8-Month-Old Baby: Getting Started
If you haven’t yet baby-proofed your home, do it straight away. This is a critical part of how to take care of an 8-month-old baby; your child will be on the move in one way or another, and small, curious hands can easily grab things that will get them into trouble.
Some of the biggest concerns that many parents have are regarding an 8-month-old’s feeding schedule and an 8-month-old’s sleep schedule. You can read more about these important topics below but, as always, speak with your pediatrician if you have any pressing concerns about your baby’s development.
8-Month-Old Feeding Schedule
When your 8-month-old baby’s feeding schedule includes both solid foods and breastmilk or formula, it can be confusing to figure out how much of each your baby should be getting. At this point, your child should still be getting the majority of their nutrients from breastmilk or formula, but you can continue to slowly increase the amount of solid food your child is getting based on their interest. In general, feeding an 8-month-old should include about 24 to 32 ounces of formula or breastmilk each day.
Some 8-month-olds may even be more interested in solid food than formula at this time, so don’t stifle their interest. Keep feeding them a variety of soft, non-processed, unsweetened and unsalted foods. Some good foods to feed an 8-month-old are cooked apples, pasta, sweet potatoes, carrots, cheddar cheese and other fruits and vegetables. Speak with your pediatrician if you have concerns about introducing certain foods into your child’s diet and to learn how to identify allergic reactions.
8-Month-Old Sleep Schedule
Many 8-month-olds are sleeping through the night — or, if they’re not, they’re at least having longer stretches of uninterrupted sleep. They still usually need two naps totaling about three-and-a-half hours during the day to make up for all the learning and exploring they’re doing while awake.
If you believe your child is experiencing 8-month-old sleep regression or you find that the sleeping pattern of your 8-month-old baby is rather erratic, it’s easy to get frustrated. However, continuing to implement positive sleep habits will go a long way to sleep-training your 8-month-old. No matter how old they are, babies’ habits of self-soothing when they wake up need to be reinforced by you. Only by doing this will you make it easier for yourself in the months and years to come. If you are struggling with an 8-month-old not sleeping, try new sleep-training techniques or talk to your pediatrician for advice.
Feel like you’re facing new struggles in how to take care of an 8-month-old baby? Know that you’re not alone. Every parent has hard moments, no matter how old or young their child is. It’s all about taking a deep breath, finding the information you need and implementing it into your child’s life. Don’t fret — your baby will be a 9-month-old before you know it!