Your Baby's physical and emotional milestones
This month your baby might start playing favourites. This may be displayed by clinginess, a different response to different people as they approach her and a general preference for being with one person over another.
This behaviour may last months or years, depending on your child’s personality. It's nothing to worry about, just your baby’s way of asserting herself and testing her world.
Your household may also have become a much noisier place with your baby babbling loudly to get your attention, as well as banging objects together and on different surfaces.
Your baby will also start to do some really cute things this month including waving and perhaps even imitating some real sounds she hears around her. The word “tata” for “goodbye” is often something many little South African babies include in their vocabulary.
As you expand your baby's palate, continue to give new foods a trial run (a few days to a week) to look for any allergic reactions. This month start to introduce proteins into your baby's diet e.g. some grated or puréed meat. Not only will this provide a coarser texture for your baby to explore but will require a little more chewing.
You can buy baby foods that offer new tastes and textures or you can fork-mash, cut up, or grind whatever foods the rest of the family eats. You should cook it a little longer, until it's very soft, and cut it into small pieces that your baby can handle, to decrease the risk of choking.
Now that your baby is established on solids and eating at least three meals a day plus a few healthy snacks, she should be getting approximately 600ml a day of breastmilk with her varied diet.
Stimulating your 8-month-old baby
Your baby may be very keen to explore her world, especially now that she is so mobile. Instead of allowing your fear of her hurting herself get in the way, spend time with her in an environment that has been “babyproofed” and encourage all her new experiences.
You can also play a few games that will encourage her.
Your baby will learn about her body and how it relates to the world around her as she crawls under chairs and over cushions and around your legs. Create an obstacle course for her to explore a more challenging environment.
Expert advice for month 8
At this age your baby's immune system is working overtime now that she is crawling and tasting everything that’s left on the floor. If your baby is going to day care, her immune system is exposed to a myriad of germs that happily spread from one child to another! Some little tots are always getting sick and seem to live on antibiotics. If this is happening, check if the school is:
- Reminding childminders to wash their hands between children
- Wiping the baby's faces with clean, individual cloths or disposable cloths
- Keeping children who are ill away from the others or sending them home
Additionally, give your baby daily vitamins to boost her immune system. Make sure she is warmly dressed on cooler days.
Ask about outdoor activities. When little tots are taken outside to play in the sunshine, it should be for short periods, in the shade and your baby should be wearing a hat.
While you are at work, you are dependent on child-minders to look after your baby in the same way that you would. If you have a childminder at home, it's advisable to send her on a child-minder course that teaches first-aid, nutrition, safety and the importance of baby stimulation.