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Month Eight of Development

An 8-month-old baby is a busy baby. Not only will it be honing its recently acquired skills, it will also be busily learning new ones such as how to crawl, stand up, and talk, gaining greater independence with each passing week. Your duty as a parent from this month and onwards is to ensure your baby's safety as it begins to explore its  surroundings more actively.

Mental Development
As its sense of humor becomes increasingly developed, your little one will be taking a more active part in making you laugh. Rapid brain development will also enable your baby to understand language and events more easily, and you will notice its attempting to copy what you're saying or doing. Babies will also be able to concentrate for longer periods of time while playing, keeping themselves effectively entertained. Reading time will become more enjoyable as your baby's memory grows and it begins to recognize pictures. As a result, it will be able to point at the correct picture when you name an object, such as a nose or mouth, dog or duck. 

Expect your home to become noisy as your baby explores objects by shaking, banging, dropping, gumming and throwing them to see what happens. Your little one will particularly be intrigued by toys that have specific functions, such as a toy phone or a baby hairbrush.

Physical Development
Some early bloomers learn to take their first steps this month, while some babies wait until their second year before they can cover that milestone. What you can do to speed things up is give your babies plenty of opportunities to practice walking by letting them pull themselves up into a standing position and helping them cruise from one furniture piece to the next, or by holding their hands and walking them around the house. One thing you'll need to do as your baby becomes more mobile is childproof your home to keep it safe. 

Your child's vision should almost be 20/20 now, which will enable it to identify faces and objects across the room. Its eyes should also be close to their final color, though they might still undergo some subtle changes later on

Also improving will be your baby's finger dexterity, and it will be practicing picking up small objects with its thumb and index finger in a pincer hold. Since your baby will enjoy poking holes into things and sticking its fingers in small areas, you should cover all the electricity outlets in your home. Never, at any moment, leave your child unsupervised as it will be quick to crawl, roll or wriggle towards potentially dangerous items or unwittingly expose itself to risky situations.

Eating Habits
You can begin expanding the range of solids you offer your baby, but be sure to give new foods a trial run to determine whether your little one is allergic to them before making them permanent components of your baby's regular diet. Foods that you should avoid at this stage are eggs, citrus fruits, seafood, nuts, and honey. You can also begin offering your little one the same food your family is having as long as it doesn't contain a lot of salt and condiments. Either mash or grind the food, or cook it a little longer until it's very soft and cut it into little pieces that your baby won't choke on. 

Sleeping Habits
Most 8-month-olds are capable of sleeping through the night without needing a late night feed. Your little one will need to take a couple of naps during the day, but make sure that the cumulative total of hours it naps does not exceed 2-3 hours. At this stage your baby should be getting 11-12 hours of sleep and its sleeping schedule should follow a natural routine that allows for proper rest.