Your 8-month-old: Week 1

Your 8-month-old: Week 1

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How your baby's growing

Your baby's newfound mobility means that he's now entering the land of bumps and falls. These are an inevitable part of childhood, and although your heart may occasionally skip a beat or two, try to enjoy watching your baby explore his surroundings and discover his limits.

Restraining your innate desire to protect your baby allows him to grow and learn for himself. However, do make every effort to make your home baby-safe. A good way to do this is to get down to his level to find the possible danger zones. Make sure to secure to the walls furniture that can topple (bookcases, chests of drawers), and anchor flat-screen TVs with safety straps.

  • Learn more fascinating facts about your 8-month-old's development.

Your life: Couple time

Many new parents report that after the novelty of life with a baby wears off, they find that they've drifted away from their partner and lost the closeness they once felt. Having a baby is a seismic event in a couple's life together. Because the brunt of the day-to-day adjustment often falls more on one partner, it's all too easy to start feeling estranged.

Acknowledging these feelings – first to yourself and then to your partner – is the first step toward doing something about it. Let your partner know that you miss him or her. If you're feeling this way, odds are good that your mate is too, and he or she will be relieved that you're bringing it up.

Make a specific plan to spend more time together. Figure out what you miss most about being together, and make reclaiming those experiences a priority. Schedule time to spend together, whether it's a weekly date night or another special ritual. Come up with a special code phrase that either of you can use to steer conversations back to yourselves when the talk focuses exclusively on your baby or what you have to get done at home.

Re-evaluate ways to divvy up infant care and housework. Not only will this reduce your workload, it will create more time for you and your partner to spend together doing something fun. You'll also see yourselves working as a team.

Learn about: Developmental delay

What is developmental delay?

Developmental delay is a slower-than-usual progression toward childhood milestones such as sitting up, crawling, walking, and talking. (For preemies, the development timeline should be based on adjusted age.) Apparent developmental delays may or may not indicate a permanent or long-term developmental disorder. Most children, in fact, recover from delays.

Every baby's pattern of development is unique, although babies tend to acquire skills in a sequential pattern. Some infants develop gross motor skills (like sitting up) earlier, while others are faster to acquire fine motor skills (such as picking up small objects). Some are slow to move but quick to verbalize sounds. What's most important is that, over time, your child continues to develop increasingly complex mental and physical skills.

What could cause a delay?

Your baby may simply be focusing on (and practicing) particular skills at the temporary expense of others. However, language delays (which may not yet be obvious) should be closely followed. They could stem from lack of enough communication with adults or from a hearing problem. Less common reasons for delays include disorders such as spina bifida and autism.

What should I do if I think my baby has a delay?

Learn about the timelines for language acquisition and physical development, and the warning signs of a delay. Have someone evaluate your baby's development, hearing, and vision. (Your baby's doctor should be monitoring these things regularly.)

Write down any worrisome observations you've made, and tell your baby's doctor about your concerns. You may also want to consult with a pediatric doctor who specializes in developmental issues, or contact a speech pathologist. Trust your instincts. Your baby may just need some extra time (serious delays are rare), but it doesn't hurt to be attentive to potential problems.

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