Photography by Nicole Duplantis/Clothing provided by babyGap and Joe Fresh
While any dozen babies are awfully similar at one day, one week and even one month old in their abilities and skills, by eight months their developmental paths diverge, often dramatically. While some of them may be pulling themselves to stand and cruise around the house from handhold to handhold, others aren’t crawling yet, content (or frankly annoyed) to be lying wherever you left them. But if comparisons seem designed to make you worry, the commonalities may reassure you, including the separation anxiety that takes hold this month. If you’re smitten with motherhood, this is a wonderful time to revel in your baby’s adoration. If you’re being loved more than you can stand, this stage can bring clinginess that may drive you batty.
Your baby’s pincer grasp may be coming into fine form right about now—great for retrieving Cheerios from their tray or popping dead bugs and splinters from the floor into their mouth before you can say “Ugh, gross!” But the fine motor skills that may come easily to some babies are slower to show up in others, who may manage to grasp some things but not release them (your hair, for example). The development of hand skills has a predictable pattern, and there are ways to help your baby refine their technique.NickyLloyd / Getty Images
It’s all about categorization, baby! Between 36 and 40 weeks (or eight to nine months), your baby is figuring out how everything around them is organized and using every sense to sort objects, experiences and even people into different categories. That means lots of investigating and experimenting, from picking up every speck on the floor and tasting them to getting their fingers deep into the banana they’re having for lunch.Rawpixel / Getty Images
Some babies are content to let you help control their lives a bit—while others really, really are not. The determined baby will work hard to get around any babyproofing attempts you make and insist on feeding themselves, so don’t even try to distract them from what they’re intent on doing. The good news is, a determined baby won’t be easily discouraged, will cherish independence and embrace challenges. The bad news is, well, it’s not so easy to redirect a baby who wants things their way. Here are six tips for dealing with it.miniseries / Getty Images
As your baby gains more motor skills, greater independence and an appreciation of solid foods, they may want to feed themselves and grab the spoon from your hands when you deliver a mouthful. The swap system is a good way to let your baby have some control while still getting mealtime done as efficiently as possible: Have two spoons on hand so that you deliver one mouthful, relinquish that utensil if your baby grabs it and then scoop up some more with the second spoon. The swap keeps your baby busy, content to grab whatever spoon is on offer, while you try to get as least as much food into their mouth as they smoosh into their hair.
Sometime between now and their first birthday, many babies will adopt what psychologists call a “transitional comfort object”—a lovey or cuddly object of their affection. You won’t have much power over what your baby chooses, but it is often associated with your love and can be a reassuring stand-in when you aren’t there in person. It might be a burp cloth you always use for nursing, a stuffy attached to your baby’s soother or the silky tag on your baby’s favourite blanket. Not all children adopt a lovey, but some do so with conviction and will reduce the object to threads between now and kindergarten with their constant love and attachment. While you may wisely get a double (or multiples) of whatever your baby has attached themselves to, be warned that your baby may sniff out the imposter unless you work hard to keep them evenly loved. Among the tips here is an important one: Try to make sure that your baby’s chosen comfort object is washable.Ievgeniia Shugaliia / Getty Images
So, how’s the baby book coming along? Got those first seven months done and putting the finishing touches on the “milestones” page, beside the lock of newborn hair? Or perhaps you haven’t managed any entries after your first “home from the hospital” bullet points. Either way, don’t let perfection get in the way of good enough—no one said you have to fill in every page, and feel free to let social media and the digital universe take over. There are many options for creating memories on the go.M-image / Getty Images
Even if you didn’t plan to do a baby book (scrapbooking was never your thing), you might have expected to remember the important stuff, right? But at some point, it all starts to blur together, especially once there is more than one baby’s milestones to mark. If you can’t remember whether your baby rolled from front to back or back to front first, don’t worry: You’re not alone.Geber86 / Getty Images
If you thought crawling was a necessary step for babies, somewhere between sitting up and walking, you might be puzzled by your little one’s refusal to do more than shuffle across the room on their bum or their determination to walk everywhere instead—with your fingers attached to their hands and your back screaming in protest. The scoot, the shuffle, the roll, the command crawl—there are all kinds of ways that a baby might skip crawling altogether.ImagingStocker / Getty Images
Your baby may love your smartphone—and how about the blissful two minutes you get to yourself when they’re distracted? But it might be causing speech delays.~UserGI15613517 / Getty Images
If you’re ready to add some ink to commemorate your baby and the first months of parenthood, find some inspiration in these modern tattoos that mark this time in your life. From tiny hearts and fingerprints to artfully scripted names and birth-month flowers, here are some cool ways for moms and dads to honour their kids.Creative / Getty Images
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