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Tips for Parents: Is My Baby Developing Normally? | PDF

Most parents, at some point, wonder if their infant is healthy and developing normally compared to other babies their age.  In some circles, baby development becomes a kind of competition, where mothers and fathers brag that their child is already rolling over, eating solid foods, or has a vocabulary of more than 20 words.  These Tips for Parents will help you understand what’s normal and what to do if you suspect your infant is delayed.

What’s Normal Baby Development?

There’s a wide range of normal when it comes to how babies grow and develop motor skills, speech skills, and social skills.  One baby will walk at 9 months, another might not take a first step until 17 months—both would be considered completely normal.

To learn what’s considered normal for various ages and stages, visit these pages:
Mayo Clinic’s Infant Development: Birth to 3 Months
Mayo Clinic’s Infant Development: What Happens from 4 to 6 Months?
March of Dimes Developmental Milestones for Babies
Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Developmental Milestones

What If My Infant Doesn’t Seem To Be Developing Normally?

Sometimes, it’s a gut feeling.  Other times, concerned family or friends may say something.  Whatever it is, it’s always a good idea to discuss your concerns with your baby’s pediatrician.  If there’s nothing wrong, no harm has been done.  However, if there are indicators that your child may have some kind of development issue, early detection may, in many cases, be able to head off the problem.

Since most parents, at one time or another, wonder if their child is developing correctly, there’s a chance that your pediatrician may quickly assure you.  If your instincts tell you something is wrong, be persistent.  Keep a journal of incidents that concerned you and be sure to show it to the doctor.  Don’t be shy about asking for a second opinion.

What To Do If Your Baby Has Developmental Delay

1.    Ask your child’s doctor for a referral to a specialist.  See more than one if you feel another opinion is needed.
2.    Ask lots of questions and make sure you understand what is happening and what the course of treatment is.
3.    Research the condition online.  Look for support groups on the topic.
4.    If you feel uncomfortable with your baby’s treatment, speak up.  Be your baby’s advocate.  Doctors are humans and make mistakes, too.
5.    Make sure your baby continues to have daily experiences that will contribute to their overall development.

For more information:
University of Michigan Health System’s Developmental Delay
WebMD’s Is Your Baby On Track?

You may also be interested in these related Tips for Parents:
Tips for Parents: Dyslexia
Tips for Parents: Home Is Your Child’s First School

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