Baby Milestones

Late Bloomer? Learn When You Should or Shouldn’t Worry

It could be anything from a super relaxed personality to a slightly-limp muscle tone that keeps your bubba sitting tight instead of crawling. Maybe your youngest isn’t talking yet because she’s got an older sibling communicating her needs (“Mummy, Jessie’s done a poo-poo”). And it’s possible that she shies away from your in-laws because she simply doesn’t like them, either.

OK, all jokes aside, you get the idea..

It’s a unique combination of factors that motivates babies to reach milestones on time. Most of the time there is no need to worry but to be on the safe side, we spoke to Jacky Peile, owner of Early Links OT, to help put together a list of red flags to look out for.

Around 4 Months

At the end of the newborn era babies become much more sociable and responsive than when you first brought them home. If your baby isn’t ticking the following boxes, it would be worth mentioning at your next checkup:

  • Responding to some sounds
  • Smiling at the people they encounter
  • Grabbing toys and reaching out for them
  • Following things around with their eyes
  • Babbling or cooing
  • Supporting their own head

Around 8 Months

Your baby will change dramatically from their four-month mark to the end of the seventh month. He’ll start out quietly sociable but still not moving much and the next thing you know he’ll be fully upright, cheeky as anything, and able to get across the room in creative ways:

What you want to see your child doing by the eighth month mark:

  • Bearing weight on their legs
  • Holding their head steady when being pulled up by the arms to sit
  • Showing interest in others around them
  • Being affectionate with love-ones
  • Following movement with their eyes
  • Responding to sounds and turning in the right direction to locate sounds
  • Grabbing objects around them and putting objects into their mouth (everything goes there right now!)
  • Rolling over and sitting up
  • Sleeping for longish periods during the night
  • Trying to get your attention through sounds and actions

Around 12 Months

Bye-bye baby, hello toddler! Don’t worry if they’re not walking by their first birthday, some children don’t walk until well into their second year! But there are certain other skills that your child should have developed by now. See advice if:

  • They’re not trying to talk—not necessarily clear words, but there should be lots of babbling
  • They’re struggling to move around efficiently, whether it’s bum-shuffling, crawling, or even walking
  • There’s no interest in playing peekaboo and other games
  • They don’t search for objects hidden while watching you do it
  • They don’t shake their heads, wave, or make other similar gestures.

If you have any concerns about your child’s development, please don’t be ashamed or afraid to talk about it. Each baby develops at their own rate and it’s likely that there is nothing to worry about. But if there is something that is setting your child back the earlier you seek help and put a plan in place the better. Give yourself that peace of mind… either book an appointment to speak with your GP or give the Occupational Therapists at Early Links a call for a “Quick Chat”.

From Jacky Peile – A parent’s instinct is often the best measure of when something is not quite right. I see it time and again in our clinic, families are told by friends and family that there is “nothing wrong” and that “kids develop different” – and I’d agree with their statements. BUT, development is also an opportunity for each child to reach their full potential and sometimes a little advice or a few practical strategies will help your child to progress easily with no need to “try harder” or “struggle to master that next skill”.

Jacky Peile, is a Sydney based Occupational Therapist. She hold positions on the CESPHN Clinical Council and is the current chair of the Southern Sydney Peadiatric OT professional development group. Jacky started Early Links in 2010, after graduating from Sydney University, with the vision to share practical strategies to “make life easier”. The team at Early Links provide clinic (Woolooware, Caringbah, Kirrawee, Hurstville, East Gardens), school sessions, and home visits across Sydney, helping families with practical strategies for challenging behaviours, learning and development, plus stress management for busy parents.

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