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Your Baby's Physical Development: 6 To 8 Months

Your baby, in constant motion the entire time she's awake, may seem like a wind-up doll. Her creeping skills have improved considerably and she's probably mastered the crawl. At first, this means teetering on four stiff limbs, but eventually she'll get the hang of it. Because these skills are difficult to develop, expect her to practice them for hours. Some babies come up with other innovative ways of getting around, including scooting across the floor on their buttocks, and pulling forward with one arm while pushing back with a leg from a sitting position.

Standing

Your baby will spend a lot of time working on how to stand, an ability she may seem desperate to master. After considerable practice (with help from you), she'll maneuver over to a couch or chair, pull up with her arms while pushing with her legs, and be in a standing position by herself.

Now that she's up, she'll have no idea how to get down. It may take several more weeks of backward falls and banged heads before she figures it out. While nature has cushioned her skull to prevent serious injury, it's still a good idea to cover her play area with a soft rug and to move tables and sharp objects away.

Sitting

By now, your baby can probably bring herself to a sitting position, pushing up from her side or from a crawl. When she sits unsupported for at least 10 minutes with her hands free (not used for balancing), she can sit and play with toys at the same time.

Grasping

Your baby will begin developing her ability to pinch objects between her thumb and index finger in what's called a pincer grasp. You've probably already noticed her ability to grip items in this manner: She might pick up a block, watch her hand as she drops it, then pick it up--again and again.

Some babies at this stage can handle two objects in their hands simultaneously, finding great delight in banging them together. Your baby may also be able to push away things she doesn't want, and shake her head "No" to show you how she feels.

Growth And Appearance

During this period, your baby continues to grow at a fast rate, although not quite as quickly as she did during the first few months of her life. Her growth may come in dramatic spurts--she may go as long as four weeks without a change in her length, then suddenly add more than half an inch in 24 hours.

FisherPrice Parenting Guide CDROM