Sensing the World
Your baby's world is filled with interesting sights and sounds. Here's how to make the most of them.
Babies like to explore texture with their fingers. Touching silky cloths, furry material, the bumpy surface of an old washboard, or feeling lukewarm air from a hair dryer blown onto their arms — all these sensory experiences are wondrous to babies just learning what the world is like. Of course, skin-to-skin contact as you hug and kiss your baby provides the most delicious reassuring touch.
Your baby is keenly sensitive to sound, so play waltzes and soft songs for her. By eight months, she may have a wonderful sense of rhythm and bounce along as you sing a well-known melody. Launch into a familiar song, such as "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," and the rhythmic melody will prompt her to move in time with the song. She'll also like the strumming soft sounds of a guitar. Or, sit baby on your lap to listen to familiar piano tunes. She may even want to press keys along with you as you play.
Scents and Tastes
Use feeding times to satisfy your young one's need to experience food textures and tastes: the crunchy texture of cereal, the slippery feel of a spaghetti strand, the stickiness of mashed potatoes. But because babies will pop most anything into their mouths to taste, chew, and teethe on, you need to be alert that there are no tiny objects, such as paper clips, or poisonous leafy plants, such as poinsettias, around your house.
A whirl in your arms is a real pleasure; babies respond well to being rocked and moved. Use safe baby swings to give your little one a gentle back-and-forth ride. Push her on a trike so that she feels herself moving through space — and watch the delighted grin on her face!
Provide enticing sights for your baby to look at each day. Put her safely on a warm floor with interesting toys near her hands. She will reach to touch each toy or grasp it, as well as enjoy the toys' bright colors and different shapes. Hanging plants, such as pothos and ivy, form a green cascade that attracts an infant's upward gaze.