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Healthy & Safety Info
Your Baby’s Growing Independence
In some ways, your 8-month-old is a study in contradictions — both fiercely independent and completely reliant on you. And strangely, the more mobile he becomes, and thus more able to go where he wants without you, the clingier he might become. In fact, separation anxiety, which begins around 6 months, is stronger than ever at 8 months for some children. Don’t be surprised if your normally easy-going baby wails when you hand him off to the babysitter or tuck him in for the night. He’ll grow out of his separation anxiety eventually, but until then, let him initiate short periods of separation from you during the day. If your baby crawls into another room, for instance, don’t chase after him immediately. When he knows he’s in charge of moving either toward or away from you, parting will feel less like sweet sorrow — and he’ll learn that he can be content for a few moments without you right next to him.
His burgeoning sense of independence also rears its ugly head at mealtime. When he first started solids, your baby opened wide during your “here comes the airplane” routine; now he tries to yank the spoon from your hand as soon as it gets within reach, or he shuts his lips tight and refuses to let you feed him. Mealtimes can feel like a battleground, but you can go ahead and let him win this power struggle by letting him feed himself. Offer him a soft-tip baby spoon for purees, or fill his plate with tiny cut-up bites of meat, pasta, cheese, soft fruits (such as bananas), and cooked veggies. You can even introduce a two-handled sippy cup so he can master his own drink service too.
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