It’s hard to believe another month has passed already, and here you are with an 8-month-old baby. Now is where things really start to get fun—at 8 months, your baby is interacting more with the world around them and they’ve just about perfected their ability to pick up and play with their favorite toys.
Your baby is likely responding to you more than ever, and there’s something about having that back-and-forth interaction that just makes parenting even more magical. Want to know more about what to expect this month? Here are the 8-month-old baby milestones that every mama should know.
Hey Mama, You have an 8-Month-Old!
Now that your baby is 8 months old, you might notice more and more of his personality coming out. Do you have a little explorer who likes to rock and roll their way over to anything they shouldn’t be touching? Or does your little one like to sit back and relax a bit? Maybe your baby is a combination, sitting back to observe before jumping in on the action.
By this age, most babies are fairly comfortable sitting up unassisted. If your baby isn’t sitting yet, don’t worry—babies master this skill anywhere between 7 and 9 months. But you can try to encourage them by helping support them or propping them up with pillows when you’re nearby.
You might also notice that your baby is on the move. One World Health Organization study found that about half of babies begin crawling by their eighth month. Other babies never crawl at all, so don’t be alarmed if your little one isn’t moving yet.
Even if your little one isn’t crawling, now is a great time to take a serious look at your baby-proofing. Get down on baby’s level and look for any sharp corners, plugs, or wires. You should also start thinking about where you’ll need baby gates, like at the top and bottom or stairs, the kitchen, and the playroom. Soon, you’ll be glad you have a safe place for baby to crawl around while you try to pee in peace or grab another cup of coffee. Who knows, you might even be able to take a shower alone. Dream big, mama!
8-Month-Old Baby Milestones
Your baby is growing and changing rapidly right now. Here are some 8-month milestones that you can expect to see from your baby soon, if you haven’t already:
• Sits without assistance
• Crawls (about half of babies are crawling by 8 months)
• Pokes objects with the index finger, and holds objects using the index finger and thumb
• Vocalizes more, including sounds like “ba” and “ga”
• Looks for hidden objects and begins enjoying peek-a-boo
• Curious about new things, but with a short attention span
Say My Name, Say My Name
There’s another big 8 months milestone on the horizon: soon, your sweet baby will start saying your name. Many babies begin babbling regularly at 8 months, and you’ll notice sounds like “ba” “da” “ga” and “ma.” While you’ve been dreaming of your baby calling you mama, word acquisition happens almost by accident. Babies try out all their new sounds, but parents tend to react more and give babies more attention when they make sounds that are similar to words: like mama, dada, or bye-bye.
Just as often as not, though, your baby will say “dada” first and refuse to say mama no matter how much you try. Don’t worry though! Once your baby sees how excited you are when they say “mama” it won’t take long for it to stick to their vocabulary. With your big reaction, your baby learns that those words have significance. Of course, babies also love to mimic, so you can try to encourage your baby to make the “ma” sound by making it yourself. And once they start calling your name, you’ll hear it constantly for, well, the next 18 years or so.
Yes, No and Recognition
As your baby learns more and more about language, they’ll begin understanding the meaning of words. Babies pay particular attention to tone of voice, so they’ll know you mean business when you use a sterner tone. They also start picking up on signs, like shaking your head no or nodding yes. If you’re using baby sign language, now is the time to double down on key signs like “more” and “milk” and keep an eye out for your baby using the signs, even imperfectly.
As your baby learns what “no” means, they’ll start to test you. What happens if mom says no, and I do it anyway? Right now, there’s no need to worry about consequences for your little boundary-pusher: just firmly redirect baby to a safer activity.
If you’re curious just how much your baby understands, run an experiment. Mention one of your baby’s favorite things, like “milk” or “book.” If they understand what you’re talking about, they’ll show excitement or look around for the item you mentioned. You’ll likely be surprised just how much those tiny ears are listening, and comprehending what they hear!
8-Month-Old Baby and Your New Normal
At 8 months, your baby’s brain and body are both growing rapidly. That could mean that they’re changing their needs for eating and sleeping. It’s ok — by now, you’re a professional at adjusting to the new normal – hello 8-month old sleep schedule!
How much should an 8-month-old eat?
It can be hard to understand how much an 8-month-old should eat. By now, your baby is probably eating more “real food,” and maybe even feeding themselves a bit. Even so, most of their nutrition comes from breastmilk or formula. An 8-month-old baby should drink milk 3-5 times a day, for a total of 30-32 ounces. Of course, many babies, especially those who are breastfed, will want to eat more often than that.
By 8 months, you should be increasing the amount of food that your baby eats. You can feed your baby foods 2-3 times a day. They’ll probably still only eat 2-3 teaspoons in a setting, but start offering food often, including different tastes and textures. By now, you’re probably more comfortable feeding baby table food, so 8 months can be a great age to experiment with baby-led weaning. With this approach, you allow your baby to comp on pieces of food, rather than feeding him purees by spoon. Not only is this less work for you, it lets your baby take control of their own feeding.
How much should an 8-month-old sleep?
At 8 months, your baby should sleep for a total of 14 hours in a 24-hour period. You might notice your baby transitioning to sleeping longer at night, but less during the day. That’s entirely normal. If you think your baby’s schedule needs to be adjusted, look for signs of tiredness, like yawning, rubbing eyes, or fussing. Try to have nap times align with the times that your baby shows sleepiness.
How much should an 8-month old weigh?
The average weight for an 8-month-old is between 17.5 and 22 pounds for boys. Girls often weigh half a pound less at this age. With all the food that your baby is eating, you’ll likely notice them growing rapidly between now and their first birthday.
Accepting Your Growing Baby
With all the 8-month-old baby milestones that you’re noticing, the infant stage is firmly behind you at this point. Your baby might not even love being held at 8 months—they’d rather be down on their own exploring this exciting new world they’ve discovered.
All of that can feel bittersweet for many moms. Of course, you love watching your baby grow and develop, but it can be jarring to realize that it’s all going so fast. So be sure that the next time they snuggle up to nurse or falls asleep in your arms, take your time and enjoy a quiet moment with your 8-month-old.