8-month-old baby: Milestones, development & growth

Nikki Stevenson

Nikki Stevenson

Nikki is a parenting writer and a mom to three wild boys who keep her on her toes (and occasionally make her question her sanity). With over 15 years of experience in the parenting industry, she has more tips and tricks than Mary Poppins on speed dial. When she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can find her sipping on coffee, hiding in the bathroom for five minutes of...
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Updated on Jul 01, 2024 · 13 mins read
8-month-old baby: Milestones, development & growth

Welcome to the eighth month of babyhood – a time when your little one is transforming into a miniature explorer with a personality as vibrant as their curiosity.


From wobbly attempts at crawling to experimenting with new sounds, this stage is packed with exciting milestones and a few challenges. Let’s dive into what you can expect from your 8-month-old bundle of joy. 

Spoiler alert: It’s going to be a ride filled with growth spurts, babbles, and perhaps a bit of sleep drama.

Your 8-month-old baby's developmental milestones


At eight months, your baby is making leaps and bounds in their growth and development. You might notice they’re becoming more mobile, showing off new skills, and expressing a wide range of emotions. This baby development stage is all about exploration and discovery, so be prepared for some exciting and sometimes challenging moments.

Here’s what you can look forward to this month:

  1. Crawling and moving: Whether it’s the classic crawl, the commando shuffle, or even scooting backwards, your baby is finding their own unique way to get around. Each movement helps strengthen their muscles and coordination.
  2. Standing and cruising: Some adventurous 8-month-old babies might start pulling themselves up to a standing position while holding onto furniture. This is the precursor to cruising (walking while holding onto objects) and eventually walking. Watch out – those little legs are getting ready for big steps.
  3. Hand-eye coordination: You’ll notice improved dexterity as your 8-month-old baby picks up smaller objects with more precision. This is thanks to the development of their fine motor skills. They might also start pointing at things, a crucial communication milestone.
  4. Object permanence: The concept that objects continue to exist even when they’re out of sight is becoming clearer to eight-month-old babies. This is why they might enjoy games like peekaboo even more now – they’re starting to understand that you’re still there, even when hidden.
  5. Babbling and gestures: Your baby’s babbling is becoming more varied and might even start to resemble actual words. They’re also using gestures, like pointing or waving, to communicate. These actions are the building blocks for language development.
  6. Emotional expression: From joyful giggles to the occasional bout of frustration, your baby is learning to express a wide range of emotions. This is also the age where separation anxiety can kick in. Your 8-month-old might get a bit clingy, showing a strong preference for their favourite person (probably you!).

These important milestones are exciting indicators of your baby’s growth and development. Celebrate each one and enjoy the journey as your little one continues to learn and explore the world around them.


8-month-old baby weight and length


Your baby is continuing to grow at a steady pace, and by eight months, you can expect some noticeable changes in their size. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) growth standards, here are the average metrics for an 8-month-old baby:

  • Weight: Typically, the average weight of an 8-month-old is between 7.9 and 8.6 kilograms. Boys and girls might differ slightly, but both are growing rapidly and gaining those adorable chubby rolls.
  • Length: The average length for this age is around 69 to 71 centimetres. Your baby’s length can vary depending on genetics and individual growth patterns.

These are just averages. Every baby grows at their own pace, and slight deviations from these norms are usually nothing to worry about. If you have any concerns about your 8-month-old’s growth, it’s always a good idea to consult with your child’s doctor.


8-month-old baby feeding


Feeding an 8-month-old is a delightful adventure in itself. At this stage, your baby is likely still enjoying breast milk or formula, but solid foods are becoming an increasingly important part of their diet. Here’s a closer look at what and how to feed your growing gourmet:

Breast milk or formula
According to the World Health Organization, breast milk or formula should still be the primary source of nutrition for your baby. Typically, an 8-month-old will have about 500-600 ml of breast milk or formula per day, spread over several feedings. This ensures they receive essential nutrients for their continued growth and development.

Introducing solid foods
By now, your baby might be having two to three solid meals a day. Here are some tips and ideas for incorporating solids into their diet:

  • Variety is key: Introduce a range of fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins. Think mashed sweet potatoes, pureed carrots, avocado slices, soft banana pieces, and small bits of cooked chicken or fish. This variety helps expose your baby to different tastes and textures.
  • Iron-rich foods: At around six months, babies’ natural iron stores start to deplete. Add some iron-rich solid food such as pureed meats, lentils, and iron-fortified cereals into their diet. 
  • Finger foods: Encourage self-feeding by offering soft finger foods like small pieces of steamed vegetables, soft fruits, and well-cooked pasta. This not only helps with their pincer grip but also fosters independence.
  • Allergy watch: Introduce new foods one at a time and wait a few days before adding another. This helps identify any potential food allergies. Common allergens include eggs, peanuts, and dairy – if you have a family history of allergies, consult a health professional. 
  • Avoid certain foods: Steer clear of honey (which can cause botulism in infants), whole nuts and hot dogs (choking hazard), and solid food high in salt and sugar. Also, avoid cow’s milk as a main drink until your baby is at least one year old. Do not leave your baby unattended when they’re eating, and make sure they eat solids in sitting position. 

Balancing solids and milk
As you introduce more solids, you might wonder how to balance them with milk feedings. A good rule of thumb is to offer solids after a milk feed. This ensures that breast milk or formula remains the primary source of nutrition while allowing your baby to explore and enjoy food. Typically, you can offer solids two to three times a day, gradually increasing the frequency as your baby shows more interest and readiness.

Your 8-month-old baby's health


Keeping your baby healthy and happy is a top priority, and at eight months, there are several key areas to focus on. Here’s what you need to know to ensure your little one stays in tip-top shape:

Regular check-ups

Continue with regular visits to your GP or Child and Family Health Nurse to monitor your baby’s growth and development. These check-ups are crucial for catching any potential health issues early and ensuring that your baby is on track with their developmental milestones. Your doctor will also keep your baby’s immunisation schedule up to date, protecting them from various illnesses.

Vaccinations

By eight months, your baby should have received several important vaccinations, but there may still be a few left to complete. Ensure they’re up to date with their immunisation schedule. At 6 months they should have already received vaccines such as Diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), and the meningococcal vaccination. If your baby hasn’t had them yet, chat with your doctor about catching up. Vaccinations are a vital part of your baby’s health, providing essential protection during this vulnerable stage.

Teething care

Teething is in full swing for many 8 month old babies, and with it comes drooling, fussiness, and a strong urge to chew on everything. Provide safe teething toys for your baby to chew on and consider using a clean, cold washcloth to soothe their gums. Keep an eye on their oral hygiene by gently cleaning their gums and any emerging teeth with a soft, damp cloth or a baby toothbrush.

Safety measures

As your baby becomes more mobile, safety becomes even more crucial. Baby-proof your home by securing furniture, covering electrical outlets, moving any pet’s water and food bowls, and keeping small objects out of reach. Some houseplants can also prove toxic to children. Always supervise your baby during playtime, and use appropriate safety gear, such as car seats and baby gates, to protect them from potential hazards.

Sleep health

Good sleep is essential for your baby’s overall health. Ensure they have a safe sleep environment and a consistent sleep routine. If sleep disruptions occur, try to identify and address the cause, whether it’s teething, a growth spurt, or changes in their daily routine. To keep your baby safe, make sure you provide a safe sleep space with a cot that meets the Australian safety standard and has a firm, well-fitted mattress. Use a safe infant sleeping bag and avoid pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals that could pose a suffocation risk.

By staying proactive and attentive to your baby’s health needs, you can help them thrive during this exciting stage of development.

Tips for sleep-coaching an 8-month-old


Sleep coaching at eight months can feel like a daunting task, but with a gentle and consistent approach, you can help your baby develop healthy sleep habits. Here are some effective strategies to guide you through the process:

Establish a consistent bedtime routine

  • Create a calming pre-sleep ritual.About 30 minutes before bedtime, start a routine that signals to your baby that it’s time to wind down. This could include a warm bath, gentle massage, reading a short story, and singing a lullaby. Consistency is key to helping your baby recognise these activities as cues for sleep.
  • Set a regular bedtime. Aim to put your baby to bed at the same time each night. An ideal bedtime for most babies when they are an 8-month-old is between 7:00 and 8:00 PM. A regular schedule helps regulate their internal clock and makes falling asleep easier.

Encourage self-soothing

  • Put your baby to bed drowsy but awake. After your bedtime routine, place your baby in their cot while they’re drowsy but still awake. This teaches them to fall asleep on their own, which is crucial for self-soothing.
  • Offer comfort without picking them up. If your baby fusses or cries, go to them to offer comfort, but try not to pick them up. Patting their back, speaking softly, or gently shushing can help reassure them without creating a dependency on being held to fall asleep.

Daytime naps

  • At eight months, most babies typically need about two naps a day, each lasting 1-2 hours. Aim for a mid-morning nap around 9:00-10:00 AM and an early afternoon nap around 1:00-2:00 PM. Avoid letting them nap too late in the afternoon to prevent interfering with their bedtime.
  • Similar to bedtime, establish a brief nap routine to signal that it’s time to sleep. This could be a shortened version of the bedtime routine, such as reading a book and singing a lullaby.

Night-time sleep

  • An 8-month-old typically needs about 10-12 hours of sleep at night. Ensure their sleep environment is conducive to rest by keeping the room dark, cool, and quiet.
  • If your baby wakes up during the night, respond with minimal interaction to avoid fully waking them. Offer comfort but keep the lights dim and your voice low to signal that it’s still time to sleep.

Addressing sleep regressions

  • Sleep regressions are common in your baby’s eighth month due to developmental milestones and teething. Stick to your routine as much as possible, and be patient. Your baby will eventually settle back into their sleep pattern.
  • If your baby’s sleep patterns change, be flexible and adjust their schedule accordingly. Ensure they’re getting enough daytime sleep to prevent over-tiredness, which can make night-time sleep more challenging.

Development tips for your 8-month-old baby this month


As your baby continues to grow and develop, here are some tips to support their progress and keep them engaged:

Encourage mobility: Create a safe space for your baby to crawl, explore and pull themselves to a standing position. Use toys to motivate them to move around and strengthen their muscles. Baby-proofing is essential at this stage to prevent accidents.

Interactive play: Engage in interactive play that stimulates their senses and promotes cognitive development. Toys that make noise, light up, or have different textures are great for keeping your baby entertained and learning. Showing them different emotions on your face helps them develop appropriate facial expressions too. 

Promote language skills: Talk to your baby throughout the day, describing your actions and naming objects. Reading books together and singing songs also help develop their language skills. Respond to their babbles to encourage two-way communication.

Support fine motor skills: Provide toys within your baby’s reach that encourage grasping, squeezing, and manipulating. Simple activities like stacking blocks, playing with shape sorters, and using finger foods during mealtime can enhance their dexterity.

Foster social interaction: Arrange playdates with other babies to help develop their social skills. Observing and interacting with peers teaches your baby about sharing, empathy, and cooperation.

Introduce cause and effect: Toys that demonstrate cause and effect, like push-and-pull toys or activity centres with buttons to press, help your baby understand the relationship between actions and outcomes.

Encourage independence: Allow your baby to try new things on their own, even if it means a bit of mess or slower progress. This fosters a sense of independence and confidence.

Provide emotional support: Be responsive to your baby’s emotions. Offer comfort and reassurance during times of distress, and celebrate their achievements with enthusiasm. Building a strong emotional bond is crucial for overall infant development.

Items you will need this month


  • Teething toys: To soothe those aching gums as new teeth come in.
  • High chair: For introducing more solid foods and encouraging self-feeding.
  • Sippy cups: To help transition from bottle to cup.
  • Baby-proofing supplies: Outlet covers, cabinet locks, and corner guards to keep your little explorer safe.
  • Interactive toys: Blocks, stacking rings, and soft balls to enhance fine motor skills and cognitive development.
  • Board books: Colourful, sturdy books for story time and language development.
  • Baby monitor: To keep an eye on your baby during naps and nighttime sleep.
  • Sleeping bag: A safe alternative to blankets for keeping your baby warm at night.
  • Soft finger foods: Such as steamed vegetables and well-cooked pasta to encourage self-feeding and pincer grasp development.

8-month-old baby checklist and tips


  • Baby-proof the house: Ensure all potential hazards are secured and create a safe environment for your baby to explore.
  • Schedule a check-up: Keep up with regular health professional visits and vaccinations to monitor your baby’s growth and health.
  • Encourage exploration: Provide a safe space for your baby to move and explore, fostering physical and cognitive development.
  • Talk and read daily: Boost language development with regular conversations, reading books, and singing songs.
  • Introduce new foods: Offer a variety of textures and tastes to expand their palate and meet nutritional needs.
  • Establish routines: Maintain consistent meal, nap, and bedtime routines to provide a sense of security and predictability.
  • Play peekaboo: Help develop cognitive skills and facial expressions with interactive games that teach object permanence.
  • Monitor sleep patterns: Ensure your baby is getting enough sleep and create a safe sleep environment.
  • Support fine motor skills: Provide toys and activities that encourage grasping, squeezing, and manipulating objects.
  • Foster social interaction: Arrange playdates and social activities to help your baby’s development of social skills.

Sources


Your baby’s growth and development – 8 months old (2022) Pregnancy, Birth & Baby. Available at: https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/babys-growth-and-development-8-months-old

Baby Awake Windows & Routines 6 to 8 Months, Tresillian. Available at: https://www.tresillian.org.au/baby/routines/6-to-8-months/

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