When it comes to development, I'm a firm believer in trusting your instincts - as parents, we know our children better than anyone.
We know children develop at their own pace but at the same time, it is hard not to compare our children to others, especially if you are a first-time parent.
Minor delays aren't usually a cause for concern but an ongoing delay or multiple delays may show signs your child is not developing as expected and may pose challenges in later life or in some cases, may indicate an underlying condition.
Early intervention is the key to your child's healthy development and can have a significant impact on your child's progress with an array of services and support available to babies and young children with developmental delays.
Here are some signs to look out for:
If your baby is not meeting these milestones from 0 to 6 months, it is recommended that you talk with your GP or Public Health Nurse:
- Is not smiling by eight weeks.
- Doesn't seem to hear or see things.
- Cannot hold head up by twelve weeks.
- Has an unusual or high pitched cry.
- Limited movement or appears not to be using both legs and arms.
If your baby is not meeting these milestones from 0 to 6 months, it is recommended that you schedule an appointment with your GP or Public Health Nurse:
- Does not make eye contact with you.
- Does not turn to you when you call their name.
- Does not make different noises and sounds when you communicate with them.
- Does not smile or giggle.
- Does not hold small toys.
- Doesn't gain weight even if they seem healthy.
- Refuses solid food from about 7 months on.
- Is not able to sit unaided from 10 months.
- Is not crawling or moving forward in some way.
- Doesn't show signs of happiness in your presence or with other immediate family members.
- Is unable to self-sooth or gain comfort from you.
If you are concerned about any aspect of your child's development, your Public Health Nurse will perform an "Ages and Stages Questionnaire" which will look at your child's overall development in more detail.
If any issues do arise they will be there to help and can offer information and support to guide you all while referring you to other services that you and your baby may need.
However, if your child was premature, it is important to remember your baby might follow a different pattern of development and in some cases, their milestones are based on their due date, and not on the date they were actually born.