Your Baby's Development: Month Eight
By now your baby will probably be able to pass an object from one hand to the other. They may also be able to take enough weight on their legs to stand when holding on to your hands or a fixed object such as a coffee table. Around this age babies also learn to get themselves into a sitting position from their tummy - a big step for both of you if you no longer have to do it for them!
Social and Emotional Development
Even the most sociable of babies can begin to show signs of shyness or even fear when introduced to a new person or to too many people at once. Always give your child time to 'warm' to new people and places. Arriving at a gathering in new surroundings, with several noisy adults all vying for the baby's attention can easily overwhelm them. Don't try to pass your baby to other people to be held too quickly. Let them sit on your knee for a while to take in their surroundings, if they interact with people from the security of your arms to start with then they will gradually build confidence and trust and be more likely to let other people hold them.
By now, your baby might instigate games of peekaboo themselves - so watch out for the cues, sometimes their 'hiding' isn't very obvious! They might cover their eyes with their hands or pull a muslin or item of clothing over their face. Acknowledge their attempt to play - even if their fingers aren't quite covering their eyes, or the cloth is only concealing one cheek! Say 'Where's Joshua gone?' and show them your surprise when he reveals himself 'Oh! There he is!'
If you haven't already done so, you can introduce finger foods to your baby around now. Even if you don't do it intentionally, the chances are that your baby will begin to want to take the spoon himself, or skip the cutlery and dive straight in! As far as babies are concerned, all food is finger food, from a pureed casserole to a bowl of porridge, but for practical reasons, foods which hold their shape are a good start for early self-feeding! Larger foods such as rice cakes and pieces of toast are easier to handle at first, as babies begin picking things up with a simple fist-like grip. As they get better at feeding themselves up you will notice that they begin opening their fist flat against their mouths in order to get at the last part - more advanced techniques such as the 'pincer grip' (using thumb and forefinger) don't tend to come until later.
Play ball! Ball games are great for developing gross motor skills. Start simply with holding and rolling balls, or dropping them to hear the sound they make or to watch them bounce. Roll the ball towards your baby and say 'Here comes the ball! Mummy is rolling the ball to Jack!' If they manage to push it away from them, encourage them and congratulate them for rolling it themselves. Gradually you can build up to rolling the ball back and forward between the two of you, and then throwing and bouncing it.
You can also teach your baby how to kick. Start by holding them in front of you, one arm around their waist and the other under their bottom taking their weight. Move them gently so that their legs 'kick' the ball away from them, say 'kick!' when it happens. Then run after it and do it again. Most babies love this game, causing it to move and then chasing of the ball afterwards. You can also involve other babies in the same way, or toddlers who can run after it themselves.
Be Careful Of...
...Toy overload. Lost interest in his toys? That's quite normal, and it may be that there are too many toys available. 'Rotating' toys is a great way to keep your child interested in them, taking them away for a while will make the toys much more appealing once you bring them out again.