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AD | What to Do if Baby isn’t Hitting their Developmental Milestones

27th September 2019

This week we had Felix’s 8-12 month developmental review with our lovely health visitor. I always sort of dread these ‘checks’ because as much as I know he’s a content and healthy baby, it’s always a bit nerve wracking when you receive the questionnaire and you realise he’s not doing every single thing listed on it.

Felix has always been a little bit behind, certainly compared to his brother. Although he was by no means premature, being born a couple of weeks early has meant he’s smiled a bit later than usual, laughed a bit later and is currently struggling to pull himself up whereas Dexter was cruising with ease at the same age.

It’s easy to find out what to expect from your baby’s development as they grow, using Emma Diary’s baby milestones pages. These month by month pages tell you exactly what a baby should be doing every step of the way, meaning you also know what you can be doing to help and encourage them to reach these milestones.

Of course, every baby is different and they will do everything in their own time, but what can you do if you think baby is struggling to hit their developmental milestones?

Felix doing tummy time on the bed

Encourage and help them

Every milestone is achieved through you helping and playing with your baby from developing their back muscles so they’re able to sit unaided to being able to use their pincer grip. When your baby is first born, simply placing them on a play mat on their tummies will help them massively to develop their back, neck and stomach muscles so that they can eventually prop themselves up, roll, sit and crawl. If baby isn’t smiling yet, pull silly faces at them or give them gentle tickles to encourage it. Or if baby is struggling to crawl, get down beside them and show them how it’s done!

Speak to your health visitor or GP

Every baby is different, but if you are concerned that your baby isn’t hitting certain development milestones then make sure you speak to your health visitor or GP. Health care professionals will be able to advise you on whether it’s normal or if intervention is needed to help your baby progress a little bit. On our most recent review, the health visitor noted that Felix was not yet clapping, cruising or saying ‘Mama’ and she is going to call me in two months to see if there’s been an improvement. Considering Dexter didn’t call me Mama until he was about 20 months old, I’m not too worried yet about the latter, but it’s great to have that support in case something does turn out to be wrong.

Felix smiling sat in his pram

Be patient

Yep, I’ll say it again, every baby is different. Just because your friend’s baby can sit and yours can’t, or just because your first baby was walking at 12 months and your newest bundle of joy isn’t, doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong. Sometimes patience is key and you’ll find, just like we did, that baby will go from struggling to sit, to pulling themselves up, literally overnight!

Meanwhile, this handy infographic from Emma’s Diary shows you baby’s development month by month and what milestones you can expect them to hit and when.

Disclaimer: All babies are unique and grow at different rates. Don’t worry if your little one doesn’t match this pattern exactly. They might be a few weeks ahead on some things and slightly behind on others. It usually evens out over time. However, if you’re concerned that your child has missed one or more important milestones, speak to your health visitor or GP

8 Comments

  • Christy

    29th September 2019 at 5:10 pm

    Great tips. I think the hardest one is definitely being patient! My son is 29 months and only had 10 words by the time he was 2! It was really hard to watch him be so far behind the other children verbally and wonder if I was doing enough to help him. Because we recognized there was a delay, we had a referral to speech and language therapy and with a lot of help from the health visitor we are slowly catching up, and his delay is now only mild instead of severe. It’s definitely nerve wracking but as the health visitor kept reminding me – they all go at different paces.

  • Bernhard

    29th September 2019 at 7:32 pm

    A beautiful smiling 🙂

    Best regards Bernhard

  • Jayne @ Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs

    29th September 2019 at 8:42 pm

    I totally agree that children all progress at their own pace. I think there is far too much pressure on what little ones should be doing at specific times. Both of my boys have had speech therapy. We actually didn’t have hardly any sessions with my eldest because his vocabulary and speech just came along literally overnight.
    They all get there in their own time. 🙂 x

  • Eva Katona

    29th September 2019 at 8:54 pm

    So important to know these. I know every baby develops differently, but as a mum of a child with autism, I cannot stress the importance of the early intervention and that’s . only possible if you get help early.

  • Simone Ribeiro

    29th September 2019 at 9:10 pm

    What a gorgeous baby! I am not a mother but I think it’s a quite helpful post. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Lauren Scrapbook Blog

    29th September 2019 at 9:56 pm

    Patience and not comparing are so important! All kids develop at different rates don’t they!

  • Hayley Jones

    30th September 2019 at 10:26 am

    It’s so hard not to compare but then when you see it on graphics like this with the differences in what age they can be and the word ‘may’ it brings it home that all babies go at their own pace! I definitely found this the second time round, it’s hard enough not comparing to your friends babies but comparing to your first born is even harder to avoid!

  • Emma Iannarilli

    30th September 2019 at 3:05 pm

    I think the being patient is so important, all children are different and will do things at different times, even different times to their siblings.

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