Your 8-Month-Old Baby’s Development

Major milestones and everyday tips for your baby at 8 months old

Your 8-month-old is most likely a busy little baby as they love to explore, crawl, and discover the world—mostly by putting everything in their mouth, of course. Read on to find out what you can expect from your little one this month in development, baby care, and more.

8-month old baby milestones and development
Illustration by Joshua Seong, Verywell

Your Growing Baby

The average weight for an 8-month-old baby boy is 19 pounds, while a baby girl averages around 17 pounds and 7 ounces. A baby boy at this age is typically 27.75 inches in length and baby girls are closer to 27 inches.

Developmental Milestones

Body

  • Passes objects from one hand to the other
  • Rolls from front to back and back to front
  • Sits without support
  • Bounces when in a standing position
  • Bears more weight on legs
  • Rocks back and forth on hands and knees
  • May start to “scoot” backward
  • Tries to crawl or can already crawl
  • Pulls up to a standing position using furniture
  • Uses a raking grasp (swiping at objects with fingers open) that progresses to a pincher grasp (using the pointer finger and thumb) over time
  • Sees across a room well (eyesight is approaching that of an adult’s)
  • Bangs toys together, like blocks

Brain

  • Makes specific sounds tied to emotions, like happy or frustrated sounds
  • Responds when talked to and makes sounds back
  • Recognizes familiar faces
  • Responds if someone is a stranger (with fear, crying, or reaching back for a caregiver)
  • Likes to look in a mirror
  • Begins to string vowel sounds together when “talking,” such as “eh, oh, and ah”
  • Responds to name
  • Babbles consonant sounds, such as “m” or “b”
  • Responds to other emotions with sadness or happiness
  • Learns about the world through taste and touch
  • Spots objects they want across a room
  • Understands basic words
  • Grasps the concept of “cause-and-effect”

When to Be Concerned

Although every baby will develop differently, if your little one is displaying any of the following signs or symptoms, be sure to talk to your doctor about them:

  • Doesn’t attempt to reach for items around them
  • Doesn't respond to affection from you
  • Doesn’t appear to respond to sounds
  • Can’t bring items, like a rattle or stuffed animal, to their mouth
  • Can’t make sounds
  • Is unable to roll
  • Has not laughed or made “happy” noises like squealing
  • Seems stiff or does not move head easily
  • Is not gaining weight

A Day in the Life

What does a day in the life with an 8-month-old look like? Your baby’s routine will most likely look something like this:

  • 7 a.m.—Wake-up, morning snuggles, and breakfast
  • 8 a.m.—Playtime
  • 10 a.m.—Morning nap
  • 12:30 p.m.—Lunch and a bottle or nursing session
  • 1 or 2 p.m.—Afternoon nap
  • 5:30 p.m.—Dinner and playtime
  • 7 p.m.—Bedtime for baby

Baby Care Basics

If your baby isn’t crawling yet, don’t worry. It's normal for babies to develop at different timelines, especially for the “big” milestones such as crawling and walking. By 8 months, the majority of babies are crawling, but if your little one hasn’t made the leap into crawling yet, it's okay. You can encourage them by giving plenty of tummy time and maybe even strategically placing a few toys just out of reach to give them some incentive to crawl. But it’s also perfectly fine to soak up the extra snuggles and let your little one develop at their own pace.

Babies at this age have just discovered cause-and-effect and will love experimenting with how to make things happen. They will love interactive toys that let them have an action that results in an effect, such as pushing a button and making a noise, or opening up a box to see a toy inside.

Feeding & Nutrition

By 8 months, your baby will slowly start to transition to eating more solid foods than breast milk or formula. The biggest development this month is that your infant has more of a pincer grasp, so they are able to pick up food with the pointer finger and thumb. This new skill opens up a whole new world of food possibilities! You can start to offer your baby finger food, such as cooked sweet peas, small, diced fruits, and cut meats and cheeses.

Despite the transition to more solids, your infant will still need about half of their calories, around 450 per day, from breast milk or formula. That means your baby should be drinking approximately 24 ounces (720 milliliters) of breast milk or formula each day. Your child can get what they need by continuing to breastfeed or taking breast milk in a bottle throughout the day before you offer solid foods at mealtimes, with meals, and before naps and bedtime.

When To Introduce Solid Food To Your Baby

You can also continue to introduce new food to your baby, increasing the variety in their diet with more textures and tastes. Keep in mind not all babies will get teeth at the same time. If your baby has had teeth pop through, they may be ready to take on textured food, but if your little one is still sporting a gummy look, you should stick to softer foods for the moment.

Here are a few other tips to keep in mind during this period of transition with food:

  • On average, you have to offer your baby a new food several times before they accept it. So, if at first you don’t succeed, it doesn’t necessarily mean your baby hates that food—they might just need a few more feedings to get used to the new taste and texture.
  • Your baby’s bowel movements might also look different as they eat more solids.
  • Start with 1–2 tablespoons of baby food two to three times per day when you begin feedings and slowly work your way up to around 4 or 5 tablespoons per feeding as your baby grows.
  • Never force your baby to finish a serving. If they turn their head away or close their mouth, don’t force it.
  • The only off-limits foods are any foods that could pose a choking hazard and honey. Babies under 1 year of age should not have honey.
  • Provide silverware and sippy cups for your little one to learn how to use them as early as you feel they are ready to try. It’s never too soon to learn table manners, right?

At this age, some babies also struggle with gagging on food. Your infant may be learning how to chew and swallow, may be over-enthusiastic about food and "forget" to chew, or, in some cases, have a medical condition that makes them prone to swallowing. If you have a child who is gagging frequently, you should have them evaluated by your doctor to make sure you've ruled out any medical complications that may be causing the gagging.

Because your baby eats more solids and becomes more active around this time, they may also show less interest in breastfeeding or become more distracted during feedings. It can be frustrating to know if your little one is attempting to wean or is just showing a normal part of growing up and wanting to be “on the go” more. Some babies will self-wean earlier than others. If you can, it’s beneficial to try to breastfeed up until one year of age. Try to minimize distractions and encourage your little one through nursing sessions by:

  • Going to a quiet space to breastfeed
  • Using white noise to create a calming environment
  • Using a cover if it helps

Sleep

An 8-month-old will sleep an average of 13–14 hours per day. Most likely, your baby will settle in a regular and predictable pattern of naps by this month—usually two- to three-hour naps, but some babies may still be taking more frequent cat naps as well.

At this age, your little one has developed a sense of object permanence, which means they understand you don't disappear when you leave the room. They have also figured out that their actions cause certain things to happen. When they cry, they know you'll come back in the room and pick them up.

This newfound connection may cause some changes in your sleep routines as your baby will try to test boundaries or may need extra comfort before going to sleep. Try to be patient and consistent with your baby to ease any separation anxiety during this time. You may have to offer extra reassurance, like going back into the room a few more times and rubbing your baby’s back or giving them a quick kiss. If you can, try to stick to the routines you have already established without creating new ones that will only confuse your baby.

Health & Safety

Your little one will continue teething on and off over the next few months, so you can keep the following tips and tricks for surviving teething handy to help you make it through. Don’t forget to continue practicing your infant’s dental hygiene, which starts even before your baby has teeth. Once your baby’s first teeth appear, you can add a small amount of toothpaste as well.

As your baby learns to pick up objects, food and otherwise, with new pincer grasp skills, choking becomes a big hazard. Your little one learns by putting things in their mouth, even non-food items, so it’s important to monitor your environment and your baby for choking hazards. Look at the world through your baby’s eyes—which means scouring the floor for potential dangers. This month, you might want to:

  • Babyproof your home.
  • Ask visitors to remove their shoes before entering your home. With a baby that crawls on the floor now, better make sure it’s clean!
  • Consider investing in a robotic vacuum to keep your floor clean without any extra effort on your part.
  • Never let your baby eat unattended.
  • Avoid common choking hazards, such as coins, pebbles, hot dogs, grapes, and popcorn.
  • Secure any heavy furniture to the walls, such as dressers, TV stands, and bookcases. As your baby learns to pull up on furniture, the risk of these types of objects falling on them becomes very real.
  • If your infant has food allergies, schedule an appointment with an allergist and learn how to properly use an Epi-Pen, if needed. It’s also a good idea to join an allergy food group so you can get support and resources from other parents whose children have similar food allergies.
  • Think about potted plants and pet bowls and accessories, like litter boxes and dry pet food, that may need to be moved temporarily.

Must Knows

This month, keep the following in mind:

  • Play lots of music: Your little one’s brain is a sponge right now, so experiment with bringing different types of music into your home and watching your little one dance to the beat. They learn through words of any kind right now, so make it a habit of talking out loud to your baby, reading, and singing silly songs and nursery rhymes.
  • Get outside: Your baby is old enough to wear sunscreen now, so you can start to have more fun in the sun with your 8-month-old. Keep them covered whenever possible and apply baby-safe sunscreen when you’re playing outside.
  • Book a babysitter: If you haven’t already, have a date night this month if you have a significant other. And if you’re a single parent, book a sitter so you can spend some time to yourself or with friends. Every parent needs a break and this month is a great time to take a few moments to recharge. 
Your 9-Month-Old Baby's Development & Milestones
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