Your 8-month-old: Week 3

Your 8-month-old: Week 3

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How your baby's growing

Your baby's vision – previously about 20/40 at best – is now almost adultlike in its clarity and depth perception. Though your baby's short-range sight is still best, his long-range vision is good enough to recognize people and objects across a room. He may see a toy on the other side of the room and try to crawl toward it. His eyes are also probably close to their final color, although you may see subtle changes later.

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

Your life: When baby care is tough

The time-out is a time-honored discipline technique that parents of older children sometimes use to correct behavior by withholding positive attention. A mommy or daddy time-out is a way for you to change your own behavior – by decompressing.

Once your baby is mobile, keeping up can be an exhausting proposition. A self-enforced breather when you're feeling frustrated can help you stay on an even keel.

Put your baby in a play yard for short periods of time when you're feeling overwhelmed. If he's crying at night, compose yourself for a few minutes before going in to see what's the matter. Taking a few deep breaths or counting to 10 before responding to a mishap are other ways you can maintain equilibrium on bad days. Also borrow a page from the newborn days: Once in a while, sleep when your baby sleeps. And, of course, call on your partner to take over if you can – not just when the going gets tough but at regular intervals.

Learn about: Coughs

Why do babies cough?

Even healthy babies cough every day, and a cough can actually help your baby breathe better by clearing secretions from the airway. Coughs often linger after other symptoms of a virus have passed, but not all of them sound alike. Some examples:

  • If your baby wheezes or gasps for air, he may have bronchiolitis, which is caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
  • If his cough is deep and sounds like a bark, he may have croup.
  • If your baby seems to have a long-lasting cold and a chronic nighttime cough, he may actually have allergies or sinusitis.
  • If it's a sudden, persistent cough without other cold symptoms, it could mean your baby has asthma or has inhaled an object.
  • If a persistent cough is accompanied by difficulty breathing, fever, and chills, he may have pneumonia.
  • If your baby has 20- to 30-second spells of nonstop coughing – and between spells makes an unusual, birdlike "whooping" sound as he tries to take a deep breath – it's likely whooping cough (also called pertussis).
  • If your baby coughs constantly with a thick mucus that causes difficulty breathing, have him checked for cystic fibrosis.

Can I give my baby cough syrup or other medicine, or do anything else to help?

Don't give an over-the-counter cough suppressant, decongestant, or antihistamine without consulting your baby's doctor first. You might first try to thin any secretions by giving your baby extra fluids and using a vaporizer in his room at night. Holding your baby in a steamy bathroom can also be calming and help him breathe better. If you suspect that allergens in his room might be the cause of a chronic cough, remove stuffed animals and other fluffy bedding, keep the room as dust-free as possible, and keep any pets out of the room. Make sure your baby isn't exposed to cigarette smoke in the house or car.

When should I call my baby's doctor?

If a cough is keeping your baby from eating or sleeping well, then it deserves attention. Call the doctor immediately if your baby is coughing up blood, having trouble breathing, or showing other symptoms of a serious illness, such as fever, increased heart rate, lethargy, or vomiting. Also call if your baby swallowed or inhaled an object but seems otherwise okay. If your baby can't breathe or loses consciousness, begin rescue breathing or CPR and have someone dial 911 right away. Because allergies, foreign bodies, or asthma can cause a chronic cough, call your baby's doctor if a standard cough persists for more than a week.

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