Baby's eighth month: stages of development

On the move
On the move 

Body gestures, vocalisations and looks communicate your baby’s strong desire to be social at eight months. Displays of affection and socialisation often go hand in hand, and wariness of strangers is likely to have begun. The refinements in visual perception that contribute to a baby’s skill in comparing faces also account for the remarkable fascination eight month olds have with scrutinising their surroundings.

The eight month old tends to focus attention on one or two individuals, usually parents, and will use crawling, creeping and rolling to get close to them.

Improvements in sitting and crawling and the beginning of creeping and standing with assistance are big motor achievements this month. Muscles are now strong enough for babies to get into a creeping position on all fours and support themselves as they begin pulling themselves up into a standing position. Babies use different ways to get into a standing position, pulling up on anything they can. Babies of eight months are also acutely aware of their various body parts and what causes them pain.

All the extra activity and muscle building will lead to weight gain, of approximately 7-10 kilograms.

At eight months your baby can also see whether objects are close up or far away which is matched by increased sensitivity to sounds and she will love songs and music, and may even indicate a preference for a favourite song.

Babies also begin to associate words with events, such as waving when they hear “bye-bye” and “milk” when they see a bottle. At eight months some of the baby’s babbles now sound almost like real words, another step in the progress toward actual speech and is helped along by the way your baby plays with sounds and imitates the mouth and jaw movements of caregivers as they speak.

Most eight month olds bang toys, push toys and bring two toys together, and their visual perceptions and motor actions work together more smoothly. Silence indicates a eight month old is thinking very carefully. Your baby will probably also like dropping toys from heights and having you pick them up for her. Babies reach a peak in mouthing toys.

Social play also provides the eight month old with learning opportunities. Social bids take many forms – a wave, an embrace – as a way of signalling that they want to share someone else’s company. They offer three particular kinds of social bids. The first is a social interaction bid where the baby will draw attention to himself by using eye contact, sounds of hand gestures intentionally. The second kind involves attempts to gain joint attention in which the goal is to direct another person’s visual attention to a particular object, such as pointing to a toy and repeating this action until the attention is given. The third kind of social bid involves the baby’s attempts to share or give things to another person. When parents respond to social bids they empower their babies and contribute to their motivation to be around people.

By eight months increasingly babies recognise the people they want to be with, and that they have the motor skills to communicate their desires. The eight month old tends to focus attention on one or two individuals, usually parents, and will use crawling, creeping and rolling to get close to them. Sometimes a baby will cling to a caregiver when fearful of a stranger.

The information provided on Essential Baby is, at best, of a general nature and cannot substitute for the advice of a medical professional (for instance, a qualified doctor, child health nurse, pharmacist/chemist, and so on). If you have any concerns about your child’s development please contact a medical professional.

Discuss infant development with other mums on the Essential Baby Forums here.