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Worried Baby is Developmentally Behind?

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  • Worried Baby is Developmentally Behind? 1 of 12

    10 first-year developmental milestones to stop worrying about With all of the information available on “milestones,” it can be pretty easy to find issues with your child’s development. But any parent with more than one kid will tell you that most of those worries are all for naught. You have enough chaos in your life as a new parent learning the ropes — here are 10 things not to worry about within the first year.

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    1: My child is a mute, and he's 10 months old!

    10 first-year developmental milestones to stop worrying about: My child is a mute, and he's 10 months old! Most children don’t start really communicating with words until they’re around 10 to 11 months old. Children who grow up in multilingual households are usually silent for even longer. Is your non-verbal baby able to make his needs known in an understandable, conscious way? If yes, then relax — some kids are just quiet. Read, sing, and talk to your baby a lot; the more sounds he hears, the more he has to imitate. If your child is well beyond this age range (closer to 20 months) and still not talking at all, make an appointment with your doctor to see what’s up.

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    2: My little love still has a toothless grin, and she's almost 1!

    10 first-year developmental milestones to stop worrying about: My little love still has a toothless grin, and she's almost 1! Tooth buds start in-utero, and some babies start cutting teeth as early as 3 months (ouch!). But some don’t see any pearly whites until they are over a year old. The spectrum for teething is that large. Your baby should have all of his baby teeth by age three. In the meantime, as long as his gums are looking healthy (you can brush them gently with a baby toothbrush), and he’s getting plenty of vitamin D, your little one is on track. If he has no teething activity by 18 months, you might want to bring him to your doctor or a pediatric dentist, just to reassure yourself that all is going as it should.

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    3: My baby still only wants to nurse for every meal!

    10 first-year developmental milestones to stop worrying about: My baby still only wants to nurse for every meal! Some babies nurse until well into their toddler years — how long you nurse your baby is really up to you. Some children are ready for solids as early as 4 months, and some will refuse them until 13 months or longer. If your child has plenty of energy, produces around 6 wet diapers a day, and is gaining weight steadily, he’s probably getting as much nutrition as he needs. Bring it up with your doctor at your next check-up — she might want to monitor his weight gain before getting too concerned about
    physical issues.

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    4: My kid still isn't walking!

    10 first-year developmental milestones to stop worrying about: My kid still isn't walking! Like almost every other developmental stage, walking can happen at any time. Many babies start crawling with that weird drag and move onto crawling backwards. Some children just roll wherever they need to go ’cause it’s easier and faster than crawling or walking. More important than his age is his ability to master the complicated motor skills necessary to pull up and maneuver his own body weight on two legs. Some kids take mere days to go from standing to running, while others take months to move through the stages of mobility. If it seems like your child can’t control his legs at all (lying down or otherwise), have him checked out by a physician.

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    5: My kid screams like a banshee!

    10 first-year developmental milestones to stop worrying about: My kid screams like a banshee! If you have ruled out physical pain, fever, or external provocations, there’s probably no reason to panic. There is a stage of development during which a child “finds his voice.” Your baby is learning to mimic and create the wide range of vocal skills he needs to communicate — and is also learning the art of volume control. It’s likely that he just really enjoys the sound of his own voice and the reaction he gets when he screams. Even chatterboxes with great verbal skills go through this stage. It won’t last long, and your hearing damage probably won’t be permanent. Try ignoring him (but be prepared for dirty looks from the other people in the mall); he’ll probably get bored with this game pretty quickly.

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    6: My child won't go anywhere without his lovie

    10 first-year developmental milestones to stop worrying about: My child won't go anywhere without his lovie Lovies give children a feeling of comfort. Some may even associate it with you; it may smell like you, and when he cuddles it, he remembers your embrace. A “transitional object” such as a lovie can actually be very positive, especially as he grows more independent and you are separated for longer periods (like when you leave him with a babysitter), or when he’s feeling under the weather or sleepy.

    If your baby’s lovie is starting to get grungy, try to get a second identical object to rotate into use (if your baby is too young to notice, you might even just be able to cut the current blankie into smaller pieces). She doesn’t even have to know that there are multiples, but it will stretch the lovie’s stress-relieving lifespan for much longer!

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    7: My child used to be so social and now he's attached to my hip

    10 first-year developmental milestones to stop worrying about: My child used to be so social and now he's attached to my hip There are a few stages in a baby’s development where he gets “clingy” — generally between 6 to 9 months and again between 18 to 26 months. It can be exhausting and frustrating for you, especially when it seems so unlike his normal behavior, but it doesn’t last forever. Though he doesn’t know it, he’s moving into the next big stage of his emotional development, and that can be scary. For the time being, snuggle him when he needs it, and encourage (but don’t force) him to be physically separated from you. In a few months, you’ll suddenly notice that he’s back to his old congenial self.

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    8: My child's hand-eye coordination is in total fail mode

    10 first-year developmental milestones to stop worrying about: My child's hand-eye coordination is in total fail mode Hand-eye coordination is a physical milestone and depends on which stage of development your child’s muscles are in. The average baby starts to really be able to use his thumb and forefinger together by around 11 to 12 months. But this is just an average age; some kids are able to master this skill much earlier, and others take a little while to figure out the opposable thumb thing. You can encourage your child’s fine-motor skills development by giving her small objects to pick up or letting her try to feed herself with a spoon or finger foods. Build gross motor skills by rolling a ball back and forth with her or playing exploratory games that require her to move from place to place. Your doctor will most likely ask about coordination at her next check-up, so be sure to voice your concerns.

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    9: My kid is 18 months and still wakes up in the middle of the night!

    10 first-year developmental milestones to stop worrying about: My kid is 18 months and still wakes up in the middle of the night! “Sleeping through the night” is usually defined in infants as sleeping 5 hours without waking. This is yet another milestone that kids hit at different points. Your baby might be teething, have gas, have a stuffy nose, or be going through a growth spurt. Maybe he has a noisy mobile that wakes him when he shifts position. Maybe he needs a longer morning nap. Yes, you are exhausted, but rest assured (pun intended) that your child’s sleep habits are most likely normal. Feel free to mention it at your next doctor’s appointment, but eventually all kids figure out how to get themselves back to sleep in the middle of the night.

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    10: My baby can’t get away from me fast enough when I try to snuggle her. Did I give birth to a teenager?

    10 first-year developmental milestones to stop worrying about: My baby can’t get away from me fast enough when I try to snuggle her. Did I give birth to a teenager? It can be really discouraging when your baby isn’t cuddly — especially when you just want to gather up your happy little bug and never let her go! Alas, some kids just aren’t into it. Babies who are particularly active tend to be too busy for snuggling, and they’ll often reject being swaddled or carried in a sling, too. But that doesn’t mean your baby doesn’t like you, it often just means that she wants to explore her world. Continue to show your baby how much you love her, but give her room to roam — she’ll reward you with lots of smiles and giggles. If you child is still rejecting your kisses at around age 4, mention it to your doctor.

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