To your 8-month-old, anything can be a toy. From the discarded water bottle to the wooden spoon, if it makes noise, is colorful, or is an object your baby can pick up or pick at, he or she will likely do it. So it’s a good idea to focus on what your baby can safely play with and what should be off-limits.
Household poisons and toxins
Limiting access to poisons and toxins is a crucial part of babyproofing — and this means identifying all potential toxins. Some common household items you might not consider dangerous can actually represent a hazard to your baby. These include:
- Batteries, especially button-type batteries
- Insect and pest control items, such as repellants, mousetraps, and ant “baits”
- Laundry detergent “pods,” which are colorful and attractive to little ones
- Nail polish remover
- Household plants, especially nightshade, mistletoe, and rhubarb
Pet safety and your baby
Your baby and your pet are well-acquainted by now, but as your baby gets more active and interested in your furry companions, it’s a good time to review pet safety. While most companion animals represent no threat to babies, there are still very real safety considerations, especially with larger dogs.
Babies have a tendency to grab at anything in sight, and that includes your dog’s tail, ears, and fur. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recommends preparing your dog by slowly introducing the animal to your baby’s “new” activities, including crawling and tugging. Some ideas include:
- Gently tugging on your dog’s ear or skin and giving him/her a treat after. This teaches your pet to associate the behavior with positive feelings instead of negative ones. The ASPCA recommends doing this 4-8 times a day. You may wish to increase the intensity with time to mimic your baby grabbing your dog.
- Dogs can find it intimidating when your baby crawls toward them because your little one is at their eye level. You can help your dog become used to crawling by crawling around yourself. This will teach your dog that crawling doesn’t have to be a threatening activity. When you crawl toward your dog, give him or her treats so the activity can seem fun instead of scary for your dog.
Remember that neither your 8-month-1-week-old baby nor your dog know how to act around each other all the time. That’s why it’s important to always observe them very carefully when together. In the vast majority of cases, your baby and your pets will learn to peacefully coexist. But until then, be sure to separate your little one and dog if your baby seems to be playing too rough.
Through speech and movement, your baby becomes more expressive every day. You can expect your little one to say his or her first words at about 12 months old. In the four months leading up to that, you can expect a lot of babbling sounds and imitating speech patterns, even when your baby isn’t saying words yet.
Speech milestones you can expect to see include:
- Follows and/or responds to statements, such as “Want more?” and “Sit up.”
- Lifting his arms up to be held
- Seeming like he or she is listening when you’re talking to him or her
- Turning toward sounds
While each child develops at his or her own pace, if you have concerns about your child’s speech development, call his or her doctor.