Your 8-Month-Old Baby's Milestones and Development

At 8 months old, your baby is likely very busy right now. Not only are they still exploring the world around them by putting things in their mouth, but they are likely more mobile than they were a few months ago. Although they are probably not walking yet, they are building up to that and you may notice their legs and core are getting stronger as they prepare for that big step.

"At 8 months, your baby is getting in and out of the sitting position and possibly learning how to crawl efficiently—although it is OK if they are not," says Lyndsey Garbi, MD, who is board-certified in pediatrics and neonatology and the chief pediatrician at Blueberry Pediatrics. "They also are babbling a lot and might start showing separation anxiety."

If you are wondering what else to expect during your baby's 8th month of life, we take you through the basics of what you need to know below. From sleep and nutrition, to safety and important milestones, we include everyday tips to help you make the most of this time with your baby. Read on to see what you can expect this month.

8 Month Baby Milestones

At 8 months your baby will most likely meet some of the following milestones.

  • Makes sounds back when talked to
  • Passes objects from one hand to the other
  • Picks up objects between the thumb and forefinger (pincer grasp)
  • Pulls into a standing position near furniture
  • Recognizes familiar faces
  • Rocks back and forth on hands and knees
  • Sits unassisted
  • Understands basic words

At This Age

  • Development: At this age, babies are becoming very mobile. Not only are they moving in some way—possibly even crawling—they also are becoming more vocal making different vowel and consonant sounds as well as responding with inflection based on their mood.
  • Sleep: Babies this age are sleeping around 14 hours total, with 10 to 11 of those hours occurring at night. They also are taking about two naps a day.
  • Food: By the time your baby is 8 months old, they are probably nursing or taking a bottle about three to five times a day as well as eating a mixture of solid foods. How much your baby eats depends on their interest and preference. Don't force your baby to eat food that they are not interested in.
8-month old baby milestones and development
Illustration by Joshua Seong, Verywell

8-Month-Old Baby Development

As your baby approaches their 8 month birthday, they are likely becoming increasingly more mobile and more vocal. They also continue to explore the world around them by bringing things to their mouths and are likely delighting in their newfound abilities. They also may be more persistent about getting into things they shouldn't.

"Babies change and evolve with the world around them, so parents may experience new boundary-pushing at this age," says Dr. Garbi.

For instance, your baby may try to grab and pull at things that are off-limits. Or they may try to get into cupboards or cabinets that have been baby-proofed. They may even try to play with things that are not meant to be toys. For this reason, you need to be alert and engaged when your baby is awake and playing.

And even though your baby has not developed the pincer grasp—where they can pick things up with their thumb and finger—they are likely more efficient at using their hands. This means the risk of choking or eating something harmful or poisonous has increased.

Overall, your baby is getting bigger and stronger. Not only can they arch their neck to look around, but they can flip from front to back or back to front at a moment's notice. On the one hand, this is an exciting development. On the other hand, it makes dressing and changing diapers a little more challenging.

An 8-month-old baby boy will, on average, weigh 19 pounds, while a baby girl's average weight is around 17 pounds and 7 ounces. As for length, a baby boy is typically 27.75 inches and baby girls are closer to 27 inches.

8-Month-Old Baby Milestones

This month, your baby will be building on the skills that began to emerge at 6 and 7 months while progressing toward the skills your pediatrician will look for at the 9-month visit. For instance, your baby can not only bear more weight on their legs when you help them into a standing position but they likely bounce up and down too.

"Eight-month-old babies also can get into the sitting position without assistance," says Florencia Segura, MD, FAAP, a pediatrician at Einstein Pediatrics in the Washington, D.C. area. "And, they can assume the hand and knee position."

In addition to improving on their gross motor skills, babies also are building their language and communication skills at this age. They are babbling sounds such as "m" and "b" and stringing vowel sounds together.

"At 8 months, babies babble with inflection and will start using consonant sounds more consistently," Dr. Segura says.

Even though you have probably been talking to your baby every day since the day they were born, they may actually understand more than you realize, so keep talking. Dr. Segura suggests talking to your baby as you go about your normal day. Explain to them what you are doing and label their favorite toys.

You may even notice that if you point to a specific toy across the room that they will turn their head to look at it. All of these things help build on their rapidly developing language skills.

"Babies this age also are starting to practice an immature pincer grasp," Dr. Segura says. "They can't quite hold the Cheerio yet but are starting to use the thumb and index finger. They also will let go of objects momentarily."

8-Month-Old Baby Food

Now that your baby is becoming a pro at eating solid foods, you can start to vary their diet a little bit. Try introducing some courser textures and some new flavors to expand your baby's palate while being mindful of choking hazards as well as your baby's chewing and swallowing skills.

"At 8 months, babies are cutting down on formula and/or breastmilk," says Dr. Garbi. "They also are eating more solids, as well as practicing skills like biting, chewing, and picking up."

In fact, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), your baby needs between 750 and 900 calories each day, of which about 400 to 500 of those calories should come from breastmilk or formula.

"Parents should focus on introducing [nutritious] foods and emphasize fruits and vegetables," Dr. Garbi suggests. "Healthy choices start now, so get them used to a variety of flavors and tastes and keep trying to introduce new foods and flavors. Even if they don't like it after one taste, don't give it up altogether. You can introduce it again later."

As for what to feed your baby, you can select just about anything you want, including highly allergenic foods. However, babies should not be given honey or cow's milk, says Dr. Segura.

"We are even moving away from rice cereal because rice has some arsenic in it," she adds. "Parents or caregivers can give oatmeal or barley-based cereals, which are good alternatives for vegetarian families. But, babies do not have to have cereal to get iron. They can get iron from meats too."

In fact, Dr. Segura indicates that it is very important that babies get iron at this age because the lack of iron can lead to anemia.

"Heme irons, which come from meats like chicken and beef, are good sources of iron," she says. "Babies need a lot of iron—some reports indicate that they need nine times more iron than a grown man."

For this reason, pediatricians typically check iron through a hemoglobin test sometime between 9 and 12 months.

"Anemia, due to a lack of iron in early childhood, can lead to cognitive delays, so parents need to ensure their babies are getting iron," Dr. Segura says.

8-Month-Old Baby Sleep

When it comes to sleep, one of the nice things about this age is that your baby's sleep schedule is likely much more predictable with natural breaks in the day whereas a parent or caregiver you feel like you get a little bit of break.

"Typically, babies will be taking two naps a day and sleeping about 10 to 12 hours at night without needing a night feeding," says Dr. Segura.

Overall, this sleep amounts to about 14 hours of shut-eye for your little one. However, determining what time your baby should go to bed at night largely depends on your family and your baby.

"Babies are all so different," says Dr. Garbi. "Because each family unit is different, I encourage families to find the balance that is right for them in order to create healthy sleep habits. And, if they haven't done so already, they should establish a sleep routine."

According to the AAP, having the same bedtime, wake time, nap time, mealtime, and playtime helps your baby feel secure. It also will make bedtime run smoother because your baby will know what to expect.

They recommend starting a bedtime routine early and including a sequence like "brush, book, bed." These types of routines can be used anywhere and can help your baby know it is time to sleep no matter where they are.

"Keep in mind, that whatever your baby needs to fall asleep with, they will need to stay asleep," warns Dr. Segura.

So, if you are in the habit of rocking your baby until they are asleep when the rocking stops, they may struggle to stay asleep. For this reason, it is sometimes best to put your baby down while they are drowsy but awake.

If they are not used to this, they may protest a little bit at first, especially if they are beginning to experience separation anxiety. Try to be patient, reassuring, and consistent when you are establishing a bedtime routine.

Also, recognize that your baby may require a little more reassurance during this time period. So, you may need to go back in the room a few times to rub their back or give them a quick kiss goodnight. But try to stick to the bedtime routine so that your baby knows what to expect.

8-Month-Old Baby Schedule

At this age, your baby likely has longer periods of time that they are awake during the day. According to Dr. Segura, these periods of time are often referred to as wake windows and can help you know when your baby is ready to rest.

"Sometimes it helps to pay attention to wake windows," says Dr. Segura. "For instance, a baby this age will have wake windows of 2 1/2 to 3 hours long. These windows of awake time will increase as they get older."

During these wake windows, your baby will likely have a lot going on. Not only will they need plenty of time to play and explore, but they are often fed during these wake windows too. Most likely they are eating two meals a day—or maybe even three if your baby is particularly interested in solid foods. They also are continuing to nurse or take a bottle.

Use their awake time to not only care for your baby and make sure they are fed but also as a time to play. Give them plenty of tummy time and maybe even place a few toys out of their reach to encourage movement.

Babies this age are also discovering cause-and-effect and enjoy discovering how things happen. They adore interactive toys that have an action that results in an effect. For instance, pushing buttons to make noises or opening a lid to see a toy inside will delight your little one.

8-Month-Old Baby Health and Safety

At this age, you will need to be very diligent about keeping your baby safe. This means not only childproofing your home but also checking the environment where they will be playing for anything that has changed. Even though you may have thoroughly childproofed the room or rooms where your baby spends much of their time, things can still show up in there that could be hazardous.

"Babies this age are more mobile now, so it's time to take childproofing very seriously," says Dr. Garbi. "Think about where the poisons and small objects are located like under sinks and in bathrooms. You should also always buckle them into their high chair."

Keep in mind that your baby loves being able to move around and explore. So, they also are at an increased risk for falls at this age. Think about how to keep them safe from falls while you are changing their diaper. For instance, you may not want to use the changing table or even a bed to change them but instead, opt for the floor to change diapers.

You also should make sure they are buckled into high chairs and play equipment like stationary exercise toys and ensure that they still fit into their car seat. Check the height and weight requirements and consider moving up to a larger car seat if they have outgrown theirs. They should still be rear-facing, but some parents opt for car seats that can eventually be used in a forward-facing position as well.

8-Month-Old Baby Care Basics

During your baby's eighth month, mobility and babbling continue to be the big themes. They are likely crawling by this age or at least finding ways to move around the room to get the things that they want. If your baby is not crawling yet, though, try not to worry.

Every baby develops at a different rate, especially when it comes to reaching the "big" milestones like crawling and walking. Keep in mind that some babies will never actually crawl, but will find other ways to get around their environment like rolling, scooting, and slithering.

"Movement is the big change during this timeframe," says Dr. Segura. "They get their first taste of independence, which is exhilarating for them, but can be stressful for parents."

While you want to give your child plenty of opportunities to explore, you also want to make sure they can do it in a safe way, Dr. Segura says. Not only should you make sure the room or rooms where your baby spends their time are childproofed, but you also have to commit to watching them at all times.

Because babies this age are so active and enjoy learning by bringing things to their mouths, you need to be there to supervise and keep them safe. This might feel exhausting at times, so if you need a break enlist the help of another family member or a friend or put your baby in a safe place like their crib.

But don't leave them alone in a room even to go to the bathroom. Too many unforeseen things can happen in such a short period of time. You also need to provide extra supervision around bath times. If your baby has graduated to the tub in your bathroom, make sure your drain the water as soon as you are done and never leave a full tub or your baby unattended.

In addition to bathing and basic baby care, your baby may have developed some teeth that will need extra attention. Look for a baby-safe toothbrush if you haven't purchased one already and begin caring for their teeth.

"By 8 months some babies will have one to two teeth, so it is important to use a soft toothbrush and a rice size amount of fluoride toothpaste to clean their teeth and gums," says Dr. Segura.

What Else to Know About Your 8-Month-Old Baby

This age also is a good age to continue to explore books and music with your baby. Their brain is like a sponge and they pick up and learn so much from what is going on around them. Make reading and music a regular part of their day.

"Continue to read and expose them to language and cultivate a love for books," says Dr. Garbi.

You can incorporate reading into a bedtime routine as well as use it as a tool for quiet times during their awake time when you need a rest and they seem open to snuggling up with you. Being exposed to books at an early age provides the building blocks they need for language development. They also gain the tools they need to develop social and emotional skills.

Use an expressive voice when reading or make different sounds or voices for different characters. You also should point to the pictures and talk about what you are seeing in the book in addition to just reading the words. Encourage your baby to copy you if they can both with sounds and gestures.

"Keep in mind that copying you is also part of play," says Dr. Garbi.

If they cannot imitate you just yet, that is OK. They are still learning from the things you are doing and will soon be mimicking you in a multitude of ways. Plus, reading with them has so many other benefits including adding to their cognitive development.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What should a baby do at 8-months?

    At this age, your baby should be able to reach for things and bring things to their mouth like a rattle or another toy. They also should be sitting up without support, eating solid foods, and moving around their environment. While many babies crawl at this age, it is also normal if they are not crawling. In fact, some babies may never crawl but will find other ways to get where they want to go like rolling, slithering, or scooting.

  • What motor skills should a 8-month-old have?

    At 8 months, babies are becoming very mobile and active. It is very likely that your baby can get in and out of the sitting position and move around their environment. For some babies, this means crawling while for others they may be rolling, scooting, or slithering. When your baby is on their stomach, they will arch their neck to look around and when they are on their back, they may pull their feet to their mouth. It's also important to recognize that babies this age can flip at a moment's notice, so be on high alert when you are changing diapers or getting them dressed.

  • Can 8-month-old eat eggs?

    Although eggs are one of the top eight allergenic foods in the U.S., the AAP encourages parents to introduce allergenic foods to their baby alongside other foods. That said if you are going to feed your baby eggs make sure the pieces are small and very soft or even mushy. Eggs can sometimes get rubbery and could be difficult to swallow if the pieces are too big, so be cautious when feeding your baby eggs.

  • Can babies start walking at 8 months?

    According to a study by the World Health Organization of 50,000 babies, babies can walk independently between 8 months and 18 months. However, most babies take their first steps around 1 year of age, but it is completely normal for a baby to start walking later.

  • Can 8-month-old babies eat rice?

    By the time your baby is 8 months old, they can eat a variety of foods from different food groups. However, the Food and Drug Administration advises against providing only infant rice cereal because there is a risk of your child being exposed to arsenic. Instead, vary the infant cereals by choosing oat, barley, and multi-grain. Talk to your baby's pediatrician to determine what is right for your situation.

  • What foods should an 8-month-old not eat?

    At 8 months old, your baby can eat most soft foods. However, babies this age should not have honey due to the risk of botulism. They also should not drink cow's milk because their digestive systems may not tolerate the cow's milk protein in large quantities. (They can have cow's milk when it is in other products like yogurt or cheese.) You also should not give your 8-month-old round or hard foods that can pose a choking hazard like hot dogs, grapes, popcorn, and carrots.

  • What can you give a 8-month-old for breakfast?

    When it comes to feeding your baby breakfast, the options are endless and a matter of personal preference. For instance, you can give your baby mashed or scrambled egg with pureed or mashed avocado. Yogurt is another great option for breakfast with some toasted-O cereal. You also could give your baby oatmeal mixed or barley based cereal mixed with breastmilk or formula. And if your baby prefers savory flavors why not try some soft potatoes or pureed meat. You could even serve your baby baked sweet potato. Get creative and have some fun with it.

A Word From Verywell

By the time your baby is 8 months old, they are sitting up without support, moving around the room, and babbling up a storm. This newfound freedom and independence is an exciting time for your little one—and likely an exhausting one for you.

Be sure you find time each day to do something just for yourself—and if you feel like you need a break enlist the help of a family member or friend. Taking good care of yourself helps ensure that you are in the best frame of mind to care for your baby.

11 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Academy of Pediatrics. Movement: Babies 8 to 12 months.

  2. Washington University. Developmental Milestones Table.

  3. Stanford Children's Health. Infant sleep.

  4. Stanford Children's Health. Feeding guide for the first year.

  5. American Academy of Pediatrics. Physical appearance and growth: 8 to 12 months.

  6. American Academy of Pediatrics. Sample menu for a baby 8 to 12 months old.

  7. Kohli-Kumar M. Screening for anemia in children: AAP recommendations--a critique. Pediatrics. 2001 Sep;108(3):E56. doi:10.1542/peds.108.3.e56 PMID:11533374

  8. American Academy of Pediatrics. Healthy sleep habits: How many hours does your child need?

  9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When, what, and how to introduce solid foods.

  10. American Academy of Pediatrics. Remind families: Honey can cause infant botulism.

  11. American Academy of Pediatrics. Cow's milk alternatives: Parent FAQs.

Additional Reading

By Sherri Gordon
Sherri Gordon, CLC is a published author, certified professional life coach, and bullying prevention expert. 

Originally written by Chaunie Brusie, RN
Chaunie Brusie, RN
Chaunie Brusie is a registered nurse with experience in long-term, critical care, and obstetrical and pediatric nursing.
Learn about our editorial process