8 month old baby milestones: Development, growth, speech, language, and more

Updated Mar 28, 2024
8 month old baby milestones: Development, growth, speech, language, and more | Huckleberry

Babies at 8 months are learning and growing so much! At this age, little ones are working on babbling, can sit up independently, and may even begin to be able to feed themselves thanks to developing a pincer grasp. Your child likely recognizes their name now too!

In this article, we’ll take you through the milestones you can expect from 33 - 37 week old babies, give you a handy 8 month old development checklist, and provide useful tips to help ensure your little one is learning and growing as much as possible.   

Editor’s Note:

When we discuss babies and development at Huckleberry, we use their adjusted age (vs. actual age). Not all babies will reach 8 month old milestones simultaneously — and that’s normal. There’s a wide spectrum when it comes to how fast babies grow and develop. While many infants do reach these milestones between 33 and 37 weeks, this isn’t always the case. If you have any concerns or questions about your child’s development, reach out to their pediatrician.


8 month old baby milestones at a glance

8 month development milestones

8 month development milestones checklist

6 development tips for 8 month old babies

Takeaway: Development milestones for 8 month olds

8 month old development milestones FAQ

8 month developmental milestones often include physical skills like sitting independently without support, rolling both ways (even in their sleep!), and possibly some pre-crawling or crawling movements though there’s a wide range of normal when it comes to infant mobility. 

On the speech and language front, babies at 8 months often make noises to get your attention and can comprehend a few simple words (including their name!). Babbling at this age usually mimics intelligible speech, including rhythm and sound variation. Even if babies can say words like “mama” and “dada” now, they often don’t connect meaning to them until closer to their first birthday. 

At 8 months, we recommend babies get around 14 hours of total sleep per 24 hours. This breaks down to about 11 - 12 hours overnight and then 2 - 3 hours of daytime sleep. 8 months is around the age that many babies can stay up for longer periods, so your little one may be on a 3-nap schedule now or have already transitioned to a 2-nap schedule. At 33 - 37 weeks, babies can usually comfortably stay awake for 2.25 - 3.5 hours in between naps.

Note that sleep requirements vary from baby to baby and there's a wide range of what's normal and healthy. If your child’s sleep patterns don’t align with these recommendations, that’s OK! These suggestions are guidelines and it's just as important to monitor your child's mood and energy to make sure they're getting sufficient sleep.

If your child is taking short naps, having difficulty getting to sleep, and experiencing more frequent night wakings where time awake can last for long periods, they may have hit a period of challenging sleep called the 8 month sleep regression (also referred to as the 9 month sleep regression). If this sounds like your little one, rest assured this phase won’t last forever! Sleep regressions typically last for 2 - 6 weeks. 

However, families tend to develop new routines during this time as a way to manage this phase.  Then these routines often carry the risk of disturbing sleep over a longer period. For example, if a child who was able to fall asleep on their own starts requiring rocking to sleep, this change can frequently lead to more instances of waking up during the night. Fostering independent sleep habits can help reset a baby's bedtime routine expectations, and return to encouraging your little one to fall asleep on their own once again. Many parents choose to accomplish this through sleep training.

If you’d like personalized sleep guidance for your little one, consider submitting for a sleep plan through Huckleberry Premium. Our step-by-step plans are tailored to your child’s needs as well as your family’s goals.

At 8 months, babies should still be mostly consuming breast milk or formula to meet their nutritional needs. This often looks like 4 - 5 feeds per day, roughly equaling 28 to 34 ounces of breast milk or formula per day. 

This is also an age where babies often add more solid foods to their diet with purees or table foods via baby-led weaning. A typical day may include 1 - 3 solid food meals. At this point, it’s expected that little ones are experimenting with touching, tasting, and licking table foods and purees. This is normal — and messy! Try not to focus on how much they’re consuming in favor of exploring new textures and flavors. Offer a wide variety of healthy foods and continue offering them in the future even if your baby doesn’t seem to “like” something at first. It can take many exposures [1] for a little one to accept a new food!  

Babies between 7 and 9 months [2] typically have a weight gain of .5 - 1 pound per month and usually grow about .5 inches in height per month. 

Note that it can be normal for your little one to grow more or less than this between 33 - 37 weeks. At well-baby visits, your child’s doctor will chart their height and weight to check that they’re growing at a regular pace and can pinpoint any trends that need attention. If you have concerns about your baby at 8 months, consult their pediatrician. 

Rolling: At 8 months, most babies can roll over from back to front and back again while lying down, even in their sleep [3]. 

Sit without support: Babies at 8 months can typically sit independently [4] without support, even though they may still topple over occasionally and catch themselves with their arms. At this age, they’re typically experimenting with leaning over to reach for objects while sitting. They are likely also working on being able to get into a sitting position from laying on the floor by rolling onto their tummy, pushing up with their arms, and inching into sitting. 

Crawling: Some 8 month old babies are on the move and may start crawling (on their belly) or scooting (on their bottom) or have adopted another style of crawling at this age. However, there’s a wide range of normal when it comes to crawling (7 - 10 months) [4] which means 8 months is on the early end for this motor milestone. And some babies never crawl! 

Pulling to stand: Being able to get into a standing position by pulling up on a sturdy piece of furniture is often a precursor to standing independently and walking. The expected age range for this milestone is 7 - 12 months [5], so a few babies may be able to do this already but don’t fret if your child isn’t there yet. 

Manipulate objects: Expected 8 month fine motor milestones include the ability to manipulate objects and toys a little bit better now. For example, they may bang two toys together, drop or throw things outside of their crib, or rake food towards (or away from!) them with their hands. Improved hand-eye coordination at this age means movements are more refined and intentional. Babies at this age can usually move objects from one hand to the other and bring items directly to their mouth too.

Pincer grasp: Your baby may begin to pick up objects with their thumb and forefinger (called pincer grasp) at around 8 months. However, this skill isn’t typically fully developed until around 9 months [6]. Pincer grasp is an exciting development because this motor skill allows them to pick up small objects which can help them feed themselves table foods. 

Babbling: At 8 months, babbling may start to sound more and more like a conversation [7] with its own rhythm and tones that resemble adult speech. Your little one may even start babbling words like “mama” or “dada.” As exciting as this is, at this age they likely aren’t connecting meaning to the words just yet. It’s not personal, though — these words are fun to say and practice. By your little one’s first birthday, you might expect them to attach meaning [8] to their first words. 

Responding to their name: Typical 8 month old speech milestones may mean your little one responds to their own name [9] when they hear it. Responding may mean they look at you or turn around when you call for them. 

Sign language: If you’ve been teaching your little one baby sign language, around the 8-month mark they may be able to start signing back to you. This usually starts with the use of a couple of simple signs, like the sign for “more.”

Language comprehension: 8 month old language development can include the ability to link meaning [10] with some simple words. Look for your little one’s reaction when you say certain things like “eat” or “dog.” If they seem to react — like looking at the dog after you say the word — that’s typically an indication that they understand, at least to some extent. 

Facial expressions: Around 8 - 12 months, babies are able to make facial expressions [9] that look happy, sad, angry, or surprised. Your baby may be starting to do this now or it may take a few more months, which is normal. 

Separation anxiety: This usually kicks in at around 8 months, when your baby starts to explore away from you and develops anxiety over realizing they aren’t physically attached to you, their primary caregiver. The result is that your baby may now be wary of strangers, even if they’ve loved being around other people until now. This stranger anxiety is a normal part of development and attachment. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics [11], it’s one of the first emotional milestones that your baby will reach. 

You may find that your baby becomes extra attached and clings to you at this age, which is normal for 8 month old emotional development. They will likely get upset when you leave them with other people, even familiar friends and family members. This just means that you’re their safe person and they prefer to be comforted by your cuddles!

Looking for objects that are out of sight: Object permanence is the understanding that objects and people still exist when they leave your sight. This concept isn’t something that babies understand from birth. Instead, it usually develops [12] around 8 months (although it may present itself in some babies earlier). 

Due to this new understanding, your babies at 8 months may start to look for objects that you’ve hidden. For example, if you hide under a blanket, they may lift the blanket to look for you because they know you’re still there — somewhere! Peek-a-boo may be more exciting than ever at this age. 

Cause and effect: By 8 months, your baby probably has a basic understanding of cause and effect. Think of it like, “When I do X, then Y happens.” For example, at this age, your little one may put objects into a container, turn it over, watch the items fall out, and then fill it up again.

There’s a wide range of normal when it comes to 8 month developmental milestones. Keep in mind babies don’t all learn and grow at the same rate. While most children will hit these milestones by 37 weeks, this might not always be the case and that’s OK. However, if you are concerned about your child’s growth or developmental delays when it comes to 8 month milestones, reach out to their healthcare provider. 

  • Rolls over in both directions

  • Sits without support and is practicing reaching while sitting 

  • Crawls, scoots, and/or rocks back and forth on their hands and knees

  • May start to be able to pull themselves up to a standing position with support

  • May be able to pick objects up with forefinger and thumb due to developing pincer grasp

  • Moves objects or toys from one hand to another

  • Responds to their name

  • Understands some words 

  • Uses a couple of sign language signs if they’re being used by caregivers

  • Babbles start to sound more like speech 

  • Makes noises to get your attention

  • Rakes objects with their hands

  • May fear strangers and become fussy when not with their primary caregiver(s)

  • Eats a variety of solid foods

  • Looks for hidden objects or people that move out of sight

  • Starts to understand simple cause and effect and performs simple actions to make things happen

At 8 months, your baby likely understands object permanence. Activities like peek-a-boo start to become extra fun for them because they understand that even though they can’t see you when your face is hidden, you’re still there. Try playing peek-a-boo more now to see how your little one reacts and you can also play an easy version of hide-and-seek if your baby is mobile.

Research shows [13] that it’s beneficial to respond to your little one’s babbling and respond as if you’re having an intelligible conversation. When you mimic or return your baby’s babbling, it lets them know that they’re able to communicate and it’s a 2-way street. It’s also really cute! 

If storytime isn’t already part of your daily routine, consider making it one as soon as you can! Not only is reading with your baby fun, it’s also an important tool for their development. Studies show that [14] reading to babies starting at 8 months greatly impacts early language development.  

Even though your 8 month old may not understand a story yet, hearing stories and words support their language development. Somewhere between 6 and 12 months [15], your child will likely take a more active interest in the story, like pointing at pictures or grabbing at pages. 

If you haven’t done so already, consider babyproofing your home. Your 8 month old may be on the move already! If not, they likely will be soon. Many parents find it helpful to use safety latches and locks for cabinets, gates for potentially dangerous areas (like stairs), corner bumpers on sharp edges, and electrical outlet covers. 

A great way to encourage your baby to be more mobile is by inviting them to crawl (or scoot etc.) towards you for hugs and kisses. You can also try placing a toy in their line of vision during tummy time so they’re tempted to move towards it. Ensure there are large enough areas that are clear of obstacles and hazards to let your baby practice moving. Your baby will likely figure out a way to crawl, scoot, or creep that works best for them between 7 - 10 months. Also, note that some babies never crawl.  

Now that your child may be experiencing some separation anxiety, you may want to slowly introduce them to new environments. Since babies typically realize that they aren’t physically attached to you at this age and experience genuine anxiety over it, they may benefit from extra time and reassurance when in a new place, especially if you are not with them. This not only helps build trust but also helps them learn how to tolerate being away from you. 

  • Babies at 8 months are becoming more active as they can roll over, sit up, and may be doing some version of crawling at this age (though some babies never crawl!). Their fine motor skills are also improving and they can better manipulate toys and objects and possibly begin to feed themselves small bites of food thanks to developing pincer grasp. 

  • Typical 8 month speech development includes increased babbling and baby possibly “saying” words like “mama” and “dada,” although they probably haven’t attached meaning to those words quite yet. Your little one likely does know their own name at this age! 

  • Babies often understand object permanence at this age, meaning they get that objects and people exist even if they can’t see them. This makes games like peek-a-boo extra exciting! On the other hand, it can also mean that your little one becomes upset if you leave the room or leave them with a caregiver. This separation anxiety is a normal part of child development. 

  • Keep in mind these are general guidelines for milestones at 8 months. There’s a wide spectrum of normal when it comes to how babies learn and grow and it’s OK if your baby isn’t doing all of these things between 33 - 37 weeks. That said, consult with your child’s healthcare provider if you notice any 8 month milestone red flags or delays. 

If you're curious about what lies ahead in the coming month, glimpse into the future to see what you might experience once your baby is 9 months old.

8 month old development milestones FAQ

Q: What should an 8 month old be able to do?


Most 8 month olds are able to babble and these sounds even start to sound more like adult speech patterns with rhythm and different tones. They often also know how to make noises to get attention at this age. Thanks to fine motor skills and increased hand-eye coordination, babies at 8 months can usually move objects from one hand to the other and also move their hands to their mouth. Their pincer grasp (use of thumb and index finger) is likely developing at this age as well, which allows them to pick up small objects and pieces of food.

Q: What are 3 major physical milestones by 8 months of age?


Typical 8 month gross motor milestones include rolling both ways on their tummies (even during sleep). Little ones at this point can usually sit on their own without support and are attempting to reach for toys and objects while in this position. At this age, there’s a wide range of normal for other physical skills like pulling to stand and crawling. Some babies are able to do a version of crawling at 8 months, but this milestone is expected from 7 - 10 months so it’s OK if your little one isn’t there yet. And some babies never crawl! Pulling to stand, meaning using a sturdy piece of furniture to pull themselves into a standing position, usually happens between 7 - 12 months so your child may or may not be doing this yet.

Q: What does an 8 month old understand?


At 8 months old, a child usually recognizes their own name and can respond by looking at you when they hear it. Babies this age typically understand the meaning of simple words like “dog” and “ball” too. Between 33 - 37 weeks, most babies are grasping object permanence, the concept that something (or someone) exists even when they can’t see it.

Q: How to help an 8 month old reach milestones?


Talking to your baby and responding to their babbles throughout the day will expose them to more language and help teach them about back-and-forth communication. Research shows [13] that these practices often lead to improved language development in older babies. Reading is also important for children at this age, even if your little one prefers looking at pictures and overhearing the words for now. You can also help encourage your little one to move by placing toys just out of reach while they’re doing tummy time. At this age, some babies are working on pre-crawling and crawling movements, while a few babies never crawl.

Q: What milestones should an 8 month old have for a pediatric visit?


Scheduled well-baby visits typically occur at 9 months. If your child visits their doctor at 8 months, you can expect them to plot your child’s height and weight on their growth chart to make sure they’re growing along with their typical curve. A doctor will likely also inquire about their physical development, and language skills, and want to know if you have any health concerns about your little one and if anything has changed since their last visit.

Note: The content on this site is for informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice from your doctor, pediatrician, or medical professional. If you have questions or concerns, you should contact a medical professional.

15 Sources


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  9. Bremner, J. et al (2014). The Society for Research in Child Development. https://www.babylab.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/8/2016/09/Bremner_etal2015CDP.pdf

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