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Your 8-Month-Old: Milestones & Development

April 29, 2024

Vera Malushi, PT, DPT, lends us her expertise as a pediatric physical therapist to recommend developmentally-appropriate ways to play with your 8-month-old. She is the founder of Milestones Pediatric Physical Therapy and shares a wealth of knowledge and tips on her Instagram page @milestones_pediatric_pt.

At 8 months old, your baby is working on a lot. Their brain is constantly taking in new information, and they’re busy exploring, working on movement, and learning how to interact with the world around them. And, because they’re rapidly building those gross motor skills, that means you’re busier than ever, too! You probably spend a lot of your day making sure that your curious baby isn’t doing anything they shouldn’t be doing–which is trickier than one would think because those babies can be fast! But, playtime is so much fun these days with your bright and interactive little one who is really becoming their own person and making life more enjoyable than ever.

Physical development & movement

Your baby has mastered sitting independently and can even get into the sitting position without assistance. All that floor time has really paid off, and they’re strong enough to roll around as they please, and may even be crawling on their hands and knees. Although all this mobility is making diaper changes more difficult with your roly poly, wriggly little one, they’re also probably more content to play independently for longer stretches now.

Although your baby has likely sprouted their first teeth by now (and may be even working on tooth number 3, 4, or 5!), there’s no need to be alarmed if they’re still showing an adorable gummy smile. There’s a wide range of what’s considered “normal,” and while some babies cut their first teeth as early as 4 months, others may not have their first tooth until after their first birthday.

Emotional development

Once upon a time, your baby was perfectly content to be passed around from person to person while you got a chance to eat your food and relax. Family gatherings meant break time for you and baby duty for aunties and uncles. Suddenly, your once-social butterfly has decided that no one else but Mom and Dad will do, and cries when anyone else holds them. Although a little frustrating (and disappointing for those being snubbed), this clinginess is a normal part of your baby’s development. You’ll find that separation anxiety comes and goes in waves throughout the first few years, and there’s a big peak at 8-10 months. Don’t worry, the shyness and clinginess will pass eventually, so just let your little one set the pace for social interactions.


Your baby is starting to connect words with their meanings, and can understand basic words. When you say “no,” they may even cry in protest! Keep talking to them all day, every day and they’ll keep picking up new meaning. Your baby is also picking up on your body language, and may turn their head to look at something when you point. This is a great tool for expanding their vocabulary, so point away and verbalize the objects you’re pointing at!


You’ll notice that your 8-month-old is becoming much more proficient at holding, biting, and chewing food. Although their pincer grasp won’t kick in for another few weeks or so, you can give them plenty of practice by offering smaller, baby-safe foods like baby puffs or squished blueberries. If you’ve spoon-fed your baby up until now, this is a great time to start letting them self-feed with a spoon or with their fingers. It’s a messy ordeal, but refrain from constant wiping and let your baby use their senses to explore their food. With practice, their ability to self-feed will improve and you won’t have as much to clean up when mealtime is over. 

How to play with your 8-month-old

“In month 8, baby is likely on their way to 4-point crawling or at least army crawling. They likely want to be upright and see higher. Time to challenge their crawling skills. Baby tunnels are an excellent way of promoting a reciprocal crawling pattern and strengthening all muscles of the body simultaneously. If your baby is a quick mover and has already mastered crawling, placing the baby tunnel over couch pillows or blankets will increase the challenge by providing obstacles for climbing. You can also stack pillows from the height of your couch down to the floor in a gradual ramp. Hold the tunnel in place and encourage your baby to crawl up through the tunnel to the top of the couch and then slide down on their belly. This will teach your baby to get down from surfaces safely!”
Dr. Vera Malushi, PT, DPT

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Your 8-Month-Old: Milestones & Development

About the Author: Alice

Alice Mendoza is a copywriter and blog writer based in Los Angeles. She began writing for a baby brand while on maternity leave, and realized she had found her niche. Today, she writes exclusively within the baby space, using her BFA in Creative Writing and her own experience as a mother to guide her. When she’s not working, you can find her chasing down her toddler, going on walks around the neighborhood, or watching reality TV.

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