Feeding and sleeping at 8 months old
Your baby is likely to still need 2 to 3 daytime naps of 1 to 3 hours. There will be more of a pattern to their daily routine, and you will find it easier to work and plan around their feeds and naps now. A tired baby is a cranky baby and not much fun to be with. You are unlikely to want to be out when it is their nap time.
Behavior at 8 months old
Make sure you involve them in household conversation and activity. Babies learn how to be social through their families and communities.
This month, try playing games with them such as waving bye-bye, patty-cake, and peek-a-boo. These will all help develop early skills in communication and sequencing. Although they may seem simplistic, nursery rhymes and songs and silly games are vital in creating early building blocks for learning and education.
Developmental milestones at 8 months old
Your baby will be able to bear some weight on their legs and may even be standing for short periods of time. You could find them standing in their crib this month. They are likely to protest with frustration when they can’t reach a toy they want or something unsafe is taken away from them. Remember, it is from challenges that their skills will grow and be perfected. Celebrate their efforts and increasing mastery over their body.
Growth at 8 months old
Keeping well at 8 months old
Make sure heavy furniture is secure and items like televisions, potted plants, bookcases, and tables cannot be pulled over and cause potential harm. Get into the habit now of locking up medicines and using safety latches on cabinets where you store cleaning and toxic products. Doing this early will mean you are well prepared for when your baby is really at the exploring age.
Play and interaction at 8 months old
Expect your baby to place everything in their mouth and chew and chomp as they explore the world with their mouth. Your feet, ankles, shoes, laces, even the family pet are all likely to be tasted or chewed on. If your baby has teeth, this oral fixation may even be more exaggerated. Try not to see your baby’s biting as a deliberate intent to harm you or others. They are incapable at this young age of linking cause and effect so you will just need to be careful and try to predict if they are about to bite.
What about mom?
It will be the physical, daily, repetitive grind of parenting which fatigues you now. Preparing meals will be another task to achieve in your busy day, as will cleaning up the highchair, and the slightly nagging feeling that you need to constantly check if your baby is OK.
When they are safely asleep in their crib you can breathe a brief sigh of relief. Use this time to feed your own needs and top-off your own reserves. Take care of yourself! Your baby will not thank you for this but going without self-care for long periods of time can lead to anxiety, resentment, and anger. Consider your own needs and feelings as being equally important to everyone else in the family.
It is common for the primary caregiver to not see themselves as being a separate individual from their baby. Because you are so connected and attached to your little one it may be difficult for you to maintain your own sense of identity. This is a common but not commonly discussed issue of early parenting. If you have always valued your independence and maintained a strong sense of self, this can be a challenging time.
Talk to your partner about how you feel and others you trust who would understand. Counselling can be very effective in helping to sort out these feelings and gain a better understanding of why we feel as we do.
Your sleep needs
Your baby is likely to be sleeping for longer periods overnight now, giving you a chance to do the same yourself. If they are still in your room, you could find they are very sensitive to your presence. The safest place for them to sleep will still be in their own crib in your room but you may need to experiment with the layout of the room so they can’t see you so clearly. At 8 months, being able to see something they want but not be able to get to it can cause some pretty impressive protests.
If you find you are not sleeping well, think about your bedroom environment. Although our bedrooms should be a type of sanctuary, away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the house, the reality is that when you are sharing it with a baby, the function changes. Baskets of clean and dirty clothes, toys, and assorted household items tend to find their way into their parents’ bedrooms. If you can, clear away some of the mess and find new spots for it somewhere else. When the rest of the house is in chaos it’s important to escape from it into a de-cluttered zone.
You are likely to be so engrossed in your baby that it becomes difficult to find time to consider others. Do the best you can to stay connected but avoid feeling you need to apologize for not considering everyone’s feelings. Nature has designed parents— especially mothers—to be preoccupied with their babies so that their chances of survival are optimized. Be assured that other adults usually have the skills and means to satisfy their own needs, at least temporarily.
The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.