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Infant Developmental Delays or Paranoid Mom? I Report, You Decide

Baby G at seven months

So Miss G is 7.5 months old now (how in the world did THAT happen so fast?) and she’s just our peachy little delight. Seriously, this baby has our entire family – from siblings to aunties to cousins to, of course, Jon and me – wrapped around her wee, pudgy finger.

Her personality is so sweet and outgoing, and people really seem to be naturally drawn to her. They’ll look at her and say, “there’s just something about your baby…” And I smile, because I know exactly what they are talking about. I’ve felt that way – that she is special – from the first moment I laid eyes on her.

G was born 6 weeks early, and although she was tiny, and had some trouble gaining weight in her first two weeks, we were really lucky that she never had to go to the special care nursery. She came straight home with us four days after my c-section, and she’s been healthy as can be ever since. She is bright eyed, energetic and highly communicative, chattering her strings of pre-verbal consonants at friends and strangers alike. She easily recognizes the people she loves, and she grins from ear to ear when she sees one of us.

She reaches her arms out for me when she wants me, and she does this adorable thing where she sings herself to sleep.  She loves playing in her Exersaucer, and she can roll from back to front, and push herself up into the turtle pose (see photographic evidence above.) She’s also continued to grow well, although she remains on the small side of average (Except for her bald noggin, which is on the large side of average. Full of brains, we tell her.)

This all sounds great, right? So why do I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop? I just keep having this nagging little worry in the back of my mind that we somehow got off too easy, with her ending up so healthy and perfect after such a difficult pregnancy, followed by a premature birth. I somehow feel like I might be missing something, some delay or concern that is going to emerge. And lately, a couple of specific issues – potential developmental delays – have landed on my maternal radar.  I can’t quite figure out if I am really noticing areas of possible concern, or if I’m just being ridiculous and paranoid.

My first worry is about the fact that at 7.5 months, she still can’t sit up, at all. If you sit her up, she immediately topples over. She’s definitely nowhere near sitting up on her own.  I am pretty certain that her older brothers and sisters were all sitting up with assistance by 5.5-6 months, and sitting up on their own by 7.5 months. So there’s that.

And she also doesn’t seem motivated to pull up on me, or on anything else. When you stand her, up, she will do that stiff board baby thing where she then won’t bend at the waist to sit back down. But she won’t use my hands to pull herself or even try to pull herself from standing to sitting. Again, using my other four kids for comparison, I think that all of them were starting to pull up by 7.5 months, and J could already pull up on her crib rail all by herself by this point.

And then there is the whole food thing that has me a  little concerned. She can’t seem to figure out the physical mechanics of eating solids, even though she clearly, clearly longs to eat actual human food. She gets very excited when she sees me or Jon eating, and watches longingly as food travels from plate to mouth. But whenever I try to feed her anything – most recently last night – she doesn’t yet know that opening her mouth is a necessary precursor to the deliciousness that is pureed carrots. And when I occasionally do manage to get a wee morsel in her mouth, she gags and tongue thrusts rather than swallowing. So my concern here is not that she isn’t interested in solids at 7.5 months; that I would understand. Instead it’s that she seems very interested but not yet able to coordinate the physical elements of eating.

G has had excellent well baby check ups every months, and her doctor has told us she’s doing just fine. But it’s been 4-6 weeks since he’s seen her last, and I am wondering if maybe I should call him to ask about these specific concerns that I have. Before I do, though, I thought I’d put the call out to all of y’all to ask whether this sounds like actual areas of possible delay, or just me being a worrywart. Did your babies sit up, pull up and eat solids at 7.5 months? Or no. Tell me your thoughts in the comments below (And when I do take her in to see the pediatrician next – whether that’s this week or next month – I will let y’all know what he says.)

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