Your 8-month-old: Week 4

Your 8-month-old: Week 4

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How your baby's growing

Once your baby starts standing and cruising, you may wonder whether real shoes are necessary. Until your baby is walking around outdoors regularly, most doctors and developmental experts don't think so. It's normal for your baby to walk a bit bowlegged or with feet turned out, and those little tootsies may look flat. Going barefoot can help strengthen your baby's arches and leg muscles, and feeling the textures of what's underfoot can help with balance.

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

Your life: Get moving

Moving your body actually creates energy rather than sapping it. The trick is to choose an exercise that fits your schedule.

Head outside. Go for a walk, a jog, or a hike – and bring your baby along. Consider a jogging stroller or a baby backpack. While you get exercise, you'll also be stimulating your baby's senses and fostering her development.

Take a class with your baby. Some health clubs and yoga or Pilates studios offer classes for parents with babies. Others supply childcare for infants.

Create an "exercise studio" at home. Look into home exercise equipment or videos that you can use while your baby is napping or otherwise occupied.

Dance with your baby. Twirl around the room together – your baby will enjoy the music and the movement.

Resist shortcuts. Park farther away from your destinations than usual so you’re forced to walk more.

Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Every step counts. And it's good exercise.

Learn about: Scary head bumps

What should I do if my baby gets a bump?

Comfort your child, but try not to overreact. Head bumps are common for babies learning to get around, and most of them are minor and don't cause any serious injury. Apply an ice pack for 20 minutes to bring down any swelling. Try feeding or distracting your baby so she doesn't react too much to the cold of the ice pack.

Contact your baby’s doctor if she’s not her usual self after a bump. You know your baby best, so follow your instincts and talk to a professional if you have any doubts.

Be sure to call a healthcare provider if your baby vomits, appears unusually irritable or confused, appears drowsy or dizzy, cries or screams for an extended period of time, or has a significant bump, a deep or persistently bleeding cut, a bruise behind the ear, a soft area on the scalp, unexplained black-and-blue spots, blood in the whites of her eyes, or clear or pinkish fluid or blood coming from the mouth, nose, or ears. These symptoms can indicate a concussion.

Call 911 if your baby loses consciousness or isn’t breathing after a fall, and if she's not breathing, give her two minutes of rescue breathing or CPR.

How can I prevent serious head injuries?

You can't prevent every tumble and bump your baby is likely to suffer, but here are some effective precautions:

  • Secure furniture and flat-screen TVs so they won’t fall over onto your baby, and remove shaky lamps and heavy objects from within your baby's reach.
  • Supervise your baby carefully when she climbs onto furniture.
  • Place corner guards on sharp edges, and place skid-proof pads under rugs.
  • Stay close to your baby when she's on her changing table or in a shopping cart. Use straps to keep her in place whenever possible, but remember that you can't rely on them entirely.
  • Lower your baby's mattress as soon as she can stand in her crib so she can’t tumble out.

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