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Your baby's growth and development - 8 months old

8-minute read

Key facts

  • By now your baby will probably eating solid food, as well as breastmilk or formula.
  • Your baby is probably sitting well without support by now and may be crawling or shuffling on their bottom.
  • Your baby may be able to pull themselves up to a standing position on furniture — so make sure anything dangerous is well out of reach.
  • Your baby will feel most comfortable when you are around and may become stressed or anxious if you are not there.

My 8 month old

At 8 months of age, your baby is probably moving around a lot as they explore their world. This might means more work for you, as you need to keep up with them to keep them safe, but it's wonderful to watch their fascination grow.

By now your baby will probably be eating solid food as well as having breastmilk or formula. At 8 months, many babies will enjoy eating finger foods like small pieces of soft raw fruit (such as banana or avocado), boiled or steamed vegetables (soft beans or pumpkin), toast or rusks.

Breastmilk or formula is still the main source of your 8 moth old’s nutrition, but if they are eating a lot of solid foods, they may take less milk. Don’t be too concerned, just make sure the milk (breastmilk or infant formula) and solids are well spaced to maximise their milk intake. Regular cow’s milk (or other milks that are not specially designed for babies) are not recommended as the main source of milk in your baby’s first year.

Your 8 month old baby will still need about 14 hours sleep during a 24-hour day, including a nap or 2 during the day. Some babies will only nap for less than an hour, and some will wake up a lot at night.

You will be busier as your baby starts to move around and demand more stimulation. 8 month olds sometimes require a lot of patience and energy. Don’t forget to look after yourself and take time out if you feel overwhelmed at times.

Understanding baby growth charts

Understanding baby growth charts

A growth chart helps you and your doctor keep track of how your baby is growing.

You may notice your baby’s first tooth bud appear, probably in the middle of their lower jaw. Don’t panic if your baby isn’t teething yet, it’s quite normal not to see a tooth until they reach 12 months. When teeth start to grow, expect a lot more drooling. You could then give your baby a teething ring to chew on to ease discomfort.

What can my baby do?

Physical development

Your baby is probably sitting well without support by now and may be crawling or shuffling on their bottom. Don’t worry if your baby isn’t crawling though. Some babies never crawl and go straight to walking.

Babies at 8 months are getting stronger and more mobile. They may be able to pull themselves up to a standing position on furniture. Keep your baby safe by making sure anything dangerous like electrical cords, unstable furniture or hot drinks are well out of reach.

Because they are moving around so much now, they are at risk of hurting themselves. Bumps and knocks are a normal part of childhood. Of course you need to make the house safe, but try not to be too over-protective. Exploring the world and testing their limits is an essential part of a baby's development.

Cognitive development

They will be looking for objects that have been dropped or are hidden and may be able to point at things with their index finger. They can drop objects and will be learning to pick up small things in a pincer grasp with their thumb and first or second fingers. They will be able to scoop up food and hold it in their fist.

They often bang objects together at this age. Your baby will also drop things, throw them and will still be putting objects in their mouth. They will also be learning what things are for, and will love baby activity centres that make a noise when you twist, poke or press things.

Your baby’s vision will have improved and their depth perception will be almost as good as an adult’s. They will be able to see you from across the room and will look around for people if you name them. They may be able to point to the correct object in a book when you say its name.

Social development

Your baby will also be getting more emotional and by now may be showing signs of separation anxiety, if they haven’t already. They might cry or scream when they’re separated from you, or cling to you when you try to leave. Separation anxiety can also make it harder to get your baby to sleep. Gradually your baby will learn that you always come back and will build trust with other people in their life.

Emotional development

Your baby will feel most comfortable when you are around and may become stressed or anxious if you are not there. Your baby will actively explore and play when you are with them and will return to you to “check in” for assurance.

Language development

Your baby may begin to answer to their name being called and may recognise the names of other people in your household. They will continue to babble tunefully and will continue to enjoy “chatting” with you.

How can I help my baby develop?

Talk to your baby whenever you can so they get more interested in language. The more you talk to them, the more they will understand what words mean. You can teach them how conversation works by responding to their sounds and making your own voice go up and down as you talk. You can also use facial expressions to help your baby know what you are trying to say.

There are so many games you can play with your baby at this age. They will love bells and things that make sounds. You can get down on their level to chase them around the floor, make funny noises, or pretend to be different animals. Encourage physical play, like helping them to move and explore, to help build their muscle strength. Playing games with your baby will help them to feel loved and secure.

Development problem signs

Babies develop at different rates.

At 8 months, talk to your doctor or maternal child health nurse if they:

  • haven’t started to move at all or hold their body stiff rather than sitting
  • aren't showing any interest in or aren’t reaching for objects
  • don’t recognise you or a main carer or make eye contact
  • aren't turning towards voices, sounds or their own name
  • aren't babbling or repeating sounds

Resources and support

If you are worried or would like to discuss any issues with your baby’s development, speak to your doctor or child health nurse.

Speak to a maternal child health nurse

Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call. Available 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: December 2022

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Call us and speak to a Maternal Child Health Nurse for personal advice and guidance.

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