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The First Year: 8 Month Milestones

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Updated on May 30, 2012

If you've ever watched your 8-month-old and wondered if she was actually part monkey, you're not alone. Most parents of older babies notice that with mobility comes even more curiosity. And with that curiosity comes way more mischief than before. Never fear, though; it's all part of the process. As your curious tot explores the world around her, you can see how far she's come in the past few months, and assess her next milestones as she continues on the path of healthy and happy development.

Takes First Steps. Once your 8-month-old masters the art of crawling, she'll be ready to conquer a new frontier: cruising. Cruising is the name for those first steps your babe takes when she's still hanging on to furniture or your hands. Pulling up using couches, tables, and her crib sides is a major precursor to cruising, and it's perfect practice for walking.

  • Lower the mattress in your baby's bed to allow her to pull up safely. If you leave the mattress too high, she could pull herself up and over those bars; a major safety no-no. Consider taking other precautions as well, like adding cushy corner covers to your coffee tables.
  • Buy a push toy for your little one. Walkers that contain your baby in a chair are advised against by the American Academy of Pediatrics, but wagons or toys that can be pushed around by your newbie walker are fine as long as you're there to supervise.
  • Skip the shoes. Even if you've bought cute kicks, it's easier for your babe to learn to walk sans footwear. Her bare feet offer the proper balance—shoes can wait until she's mastered the art.

Feeds Herself. You've probably done the baby food thing for a couple of months now, and noticed that your little one's less interested in the mushy jarred grub and more tempted by whatever you're having. That means that she's ready to self-feed. Your budding epicure has mastered a pincer grasp by now, meaning she uses her thumb and forefinger to pick things up.

  • Offer foods that are safe and easy for self feeding. Small chunks of banana, soft cheese, fruit puffs, and small cereal pieces are all perfect for grabbing, and the variety of tastes and textures is sure to keep your little one occupied.
  • Never allow your rear-facing little one to eat in the car. Handing back snacks might be a great way to keep her happy on long car rides, but her reclined position makes for a major choking hazard. Another round of "Old MacDonald" is a safer way to pass the time.

Loves to Play. Your little one once preferred to spend time amusing herself while laying on her belly or gazing up at a toy bar. Now, she wants way more interaction than before. Eight-month-olds are highly social, so don't be surprised if you're met with wails every time you try to walk away. Your best bet is to nurture her love of play.

  • Give her as much face time as possible. Pediatric occupational therapist, Elizabeth Moser, has some ideas for play. "The biggest thing that parents can do is to physically get on the floor and play with their children each day," she says. "So many babies spend much of their days in various pieces of baby 'equipment' and they need to be on the floor playing with their hands and moving their bodies. Everyday items such as a pot and a wooden spoon or a kitchen towel to play peek-a-boo are often the best 'toys' to develop cognitive, speech, social, and motor skills."
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