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What if my baby misses a Developmental Milestone?

12 June 2023

If you're concerned that your baby isn’t developing skills like rolling over, crawling or talking at the age you’d expect, don't panic. Infants develop at different rates, and there is a wide range of what is normal. However, if you're worried, here are five things you can do to help get them back on track.

Don't panic

Every baby is different, and they all develop at their own pace. While it's normal to feel a little anxious if your little one seems behind on a milestone, it's important to remember that there is a wide range of what is considered normal. Missing an expected development level doesn't mean that your child is necessarily delayed. In many cases, infants who seem to lag will eventually catch up on their own. Ultimately, try not to stress too much about milestones. Each baby develops in its own time, and as long as they are happy and healthy, that's all that matters.

Speak with your health visitor

Health visitors are experts in infant development and are there to support you, so it is always a good idea to speak with them about any concerns you may have. They will be able to tell you whether or not this is something of significance and can guide you on how to help your child reach their next milestone. They may also be able to put you in touch with other resources, such as early intervention services, that can support your child's development.

Encourage tummy time

If your baby is late to reach a physical milestone, encouraging tummy time is one way to help them catch up. Spending time on their stomach helps to strengthen the muscles in your baby's neck and back, which are necessary for sitting up, crawling, and walking. It also gives them a chance to practise using their arms and legs, helping them to develop the coordination and strength they need to reach their next milestone. So if your baby isn’t yet rolling over or crawling, don't panic - roll out a mat and encourage them to get on their tummies for some fun (and beneficial) tummy time!

Stimulate their senses

If it’s communication where your baby seems to be slow to reach milestones, one way to help them catch up is by stimulating their senses. This can help them learn about the world and develop new skills. For example, if they are yet to make cooing sounds, you can try making loud and soft sounds to encourage their speech. You can also stimulate their sense of hearing by reading aloud to them or playing music. By stimulating their senses, you can give your baby the tools they need to catch up on their development.

Seek professional help if you're still concerned

If your baby misses a development milestone, it isn’t necessarily a sign of a problem. However, it is always worth talking to your GP if you have any concerns. They can carry out some simple tests and advise you on what to do next. In most cases, babies slightly behind in their development will eventually catch up. The NHS has many services available to support parents of children with developmental delays, so don’t be afraid to seek help.

If your baby is late to reach a developmental milestone, try not to worry too much - there is a wide range of what is considered normal. Speak with your health visitor or GP in the first instance if you have any concerns.

Photo by Keira Burton

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