8 Month Old Baby Development

Learn everything you need to know about your 8 month old baby. Track important developments and milestones such as talking, walking, growth, memory & more.

USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, Family with baby son (6-11 months) in living room
Photo: Getty

Your Growing Baby

Prep for Upcoming Milestones

In his 8th month, your baby is a physical dynamo. Your little one can probably move around on his tummy, work his way into a sitting position, and stay there for a long time. He might be crawling in some fashion, going both forward and backward. He might even be pulling up on the sofa. Next item of business: walking.

But don't let those easy-to-applaud large motor skills overshadow his equally impressive brain development—your baby is one smart cookie. Eight months brings more vocalizing, mostly in the form of two-syllable utterances that baby uses to indicate things in his life: "choo-choo," "da-da," "ma-ma." You might even hear an official first word, such as "bye-bye" or "ball." Figuring out what interests him, then talking about it, is a great way to build baby's vocabulary.

And it shouldn't be too hard to figure out what fascinates your baby these days. In fact, most 8-month-olds are super scientists, constantly exploring cause-and-effect relationships—like how the car moves when he pulls the string, or the bell makes a sound when he shakes it. Your baby also explores other big-picture concepts, such as the idea of things being in or out and the difference between a container and the idea of being contained, mentally figuring out how objects work together and classifying them based on differences and similarities. While he still imitates you and other adults, even when you're not around, he's also working to gain knowledge independently and trying it on for size. Eight-month-olds are purposeful and goal-oriented learners.

Health and Safety Info

Your Baby's Growing Independence

In some ways, your 8-month-old is a study in contradictions—both fiercely independent and completely reliant on you. And strangely, the more mobile he becomes, and thus more able to go where he wants without you, the clingier he might become. In fact, separation anxiety, which begins around 6 months, is stronger than ever at 8 months for some children. Don't be surprised if your normally easy-going baby wails when you hand him off to the babysitter or tuck him in for the night. He'll grow out of his separation anxiety eventually, but until then, let him initiate short periods of separation from you during the day. If your baby crawls into another room, for instance, don't chase after him immediately. When he knows he's in charge of moving either toward or away from you, parting will feel less like sweet sorrow—and he'll learn that he can be content for a few moments without you right next to him.

His burgeoning sense of independence also rears its ugly head at mealtime. When he first started solids, your baby opened wide during your "here comes the airplane" routine; now he tries to yank the spoon from your hand as soon as it gets within reach, or he shuts his lips tight and refuses to let you feed him. Mealtimes can feel like a battleground, but you can go ahead and let him win this power struggle by letting him feed himself. Offer him a soft-tip baby spoon for purees, or fill his plate with tiny cut-up bites of meat, pasta, cheese, soft fruits (such as bananas), and cooked veggies. You can even introduce a two-handled sippy cup so he can master his own drink service too.


Decoding Your Baby

Your face could have no more avid fan than your baby. He's studied it since birth, modeling his own expressions on yours, and now, eight months later, he knows it pretty well. Even as your baby starts to do his own thing—crawling faster than you can keep up with, cruising right out of your reach—he checks in with you every few minutes to figure out what you think of his new moves. "Is she smiling? Does she like this?" When he hits the floor, he watches you too. "She looks stressed. I must be hurt."

While 8-month-olds are more independent than they ever have been, emotionally they're still figuring out what to think and how to express themselves. That's why they look to you for a cheat sheet, observing your face and body language for cues as to how they're doing. So when you're panicked about a fall, baby will be too. When you're thrilled at his crawling, he'll be pleased with himself and eager to try again.

That doesn't mean you have to leave your face a blank slate or hide negative emotions. But you should be aware that your baby watches you, reacts to your emotional state, and looks to you for both comfort and encouragement. Cheering him on while he perfects new skills and cheerfully brushing off minor setbacks will make him more confident in his own abilities and eager to impress you again.

Related Reads

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles