Infant Development: Your Baby's Eighth Month

Your baby's eighth month is one of many exciting developments! What new progressions can you expect from your baby during his/her eighth month of life?

During your baby's eighth month, so many new developments will take place. Looking back, it probably seems like only yesterday when you were nervously bringing her home from the hospital, all wrapped up and bundled in her infant car seat. Since then, your baby has grown by leaps and bounds and no longer simply sleeps all days. She is a moving ball of energy, eager to play and be loved. By now, she has been "talking" her baby talk for months, cooing and gurgling at everything and everyone she sees. As your baby continues to rapidly grow and develop, what can you expect from her during this eighth month?

Probably one of the biggest developments this month, and one that you will want to race to record in your baby's book, is her first word. For months, you and your partner have probably both been hammering her with the words "Mama" and "Dada" in a race to see which word she will say first. Unfortunately, for mommy, studies have shown that babies will often say "Dada" before saying "Mama" simply because the sounds are much easier for baby to pronounce. However, before daddy starts rejoicing, babies often say "Dada" not really knowing the meaning behind it! Be sure to keep talking to your baby, encouraging her by mimicking her sounds and speaking easy words to her.

By the eighth month, your baby is getting very close to becoming fully mobile. To help strengthen your baby's little legs, hold your baby under her arms, facing out, and try to help ease her into a standing position. Her natural tendency will be to bounce up and down on her legs, which is great, because this will serve in making them stronger. Your baby will probably have progressed from an army crawl on her belly to a full-blown crawl on her hands and knees. During this month, your baby may even pull herself up to a standing position in her playpen, crib or by an end table or coffee table (be sure to have rubber bumpers on any furniture you have that may have sharp edges, in case your baby trips and falls). In order to help her take her first guided steps, sit on the other edge of the playpen or table (whatever she is holding onto while standing up) and encourage her to take those first tentative steps towards you. She will not let go of what she is holding onto at this point, but she will begin to learn to use her legs more efficiently. Do the same thing when your baby is crawling. Encourage her to crawl towards you to get a hug or her favorite toy. Also, during this eighth month, your baby should be balanced enough to sit up on her own without using her hands for balance. She will probably very easily sit up from her crawling position.

If your baby is not sleeping with you in the same room, be sure to invest in a quality baby monitor. As it is, your baby has become quite mobile and you do not want her to wake up in the middle of the night and hurt herself by falling or tipping over in her crib. Since your baby will no longer be in the same room as you, help her realize that her bedtime has arrived by reading a book together or rocking her to sleep. Once you have made this a pattern, she will be well aware that it is time for her to go to sleep.

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