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When to Worry About Milestones

Posted by on Aug. 14, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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Have you ever worried that your child may be delayed developmentally? I think most new moms have at some point. We worry, it's just what we do, right? I know I did. I ended up being right about a few things and wrong about others. I would have benefited from someone shaking me by the shoulders and telling me to calm the heck down instead of worrying about every little thing, though.  Now at four years old my son is still behind in fine motor and speech but he is way ahead of the game in gross motor and thinking skills. It all seems to be slowly evening out over time. So if your child doesn't match up to the timeline, don't worry right away! 

"More often than not, these are minor problems," says Pediatrician Michelle Bailey, MD, medical director of Duke Health Center, "Often there's not even a delay. Sometimes a parent just isn't giving the child opportunities. For example, a baby may not sit alone because he's always being held, rather than having time on the floor."

So how can you tell the difference between a child who is just taking his or her time and one who has a true developmental delay? According to Marat Zeltsman, DO, of Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital," A developmental delay is when a child does not reach a milestone by the upper range of normal. Even though babies develop at their own pace, he explains, every child should do certain tasks by a certain age." These tasks fall into five main categories: Gross motor, fine motor, language, thinking and social interaction.

2 Mo. 

Smiles at the sound of your voice and follows you with their eyes as you move around a room

3 Mo. 

Raises head and chest when lying on stomach
Grasps objects
Smiles at other people

4 Mo. 

Babbles, laughs, and tries to imitate sounds; holds head steady

6 Mo. 

Rolls from back to stomach and stomach to back
Moves objects from hand to hand

7 Mo. 

Responds to own name
Finds partially hidden objects

9 Mo. 

Sits without support, crawls, babbles "mama" and "dada"

12 Mo. 

Walks with or without support
Says at least one word
Enjoys imitating people

18 Mo. 

Walks independently, drinks from a cup, says at least 15 words, points to body parts

2 Years 

Runs and jumps
Speaks in two-word sentences
Follows simple instructions
Begins make-believe play

3 Years 

Climbs well
Speaks in multiword sentences
Sorts objects by shape and color


(chart source: WebMD)

Keeping track of our baby's milestones is a fun part of being a mom. We write them down in the baby book and marvel about all the things our babies did "early" but be sure to remember that if your child isn't achieving milestones and you are concerned, do not panic. More often than not your child is going to catch up.  Have a conversation with your pediatrician and take a deep breath. Everything is probably just fine.

Did you worry about your baby's development? Did your baby have early achievements? Did your baby experience developmental delays? 

Image © iStock/OliveEdith

by on Aug. 14, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Aug. 14, 2013 at 11:04 AM
I worried. The ped didn't. Guess who was right? Me! My son is autistic and it took me 4 professionals to finally get a DX. Grr!!!!!!
by Brandy - Group Owner on Aug. 14, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Dd has always been on track or a little ahead so I've never had to worry at all.

by Bronze Member on Aug. 14, 2013 at 10:18 PM

I worry because she's my first. She is now almost one & was mildly behind on some milestones. She started crawling & rolling around at 10 months which is alittle late. But now that she's movin she won't sit still.

by Bronze Member on Aug. 15, 2013 at 8:04 AM
I didn't with mine but I did with my grandson. It turned out he is autistic.
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by on Aug. 15, 2013 at 8:39 AM

nope never worried. he did things in his own time and when he was ready. ds was a very laid back baby, much different than dd.

by Bronze Member on Aug. 15, 2013 at 9:10 AM

I didn't worry about it, but our pediatrician did and we had my oldest tested and he was developmentally delayed.  Now he is fine though.  I watched more with my 2nd son.

by on Aug. 15, 2013 at 9:12 AM

 I did worry about ds. He was significantly behind on some major milestones. DD was on par or early so I was never really concerned w/her progress.

by on Aug. 15, 2013 at 9:24 AM

I really didn't worry too much about development.  The only thing was that my son was late talking.  The Dr didn't worry too much about it because he would talk at home but he was so shy that he wouldn't say anything around other people.  Finally around 2 1/2 he took off with his speaking and hasn't stopped since. 

by on Aug. 15, 2013 at 10:26 AM

my daughter is pretty advanced I think. I've never worried about it.

by on Aug. 15, 2013 at 10:32 AM

My son didn't walk until he was 15 months, I was anxious about this.

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