Baby Development Worries
What parent doesn't worry about their new baby's development from time to time? It's only natural, because we all want our kids to have the very best future. Even a Mom or Dad who knows their baby is doing well can fall into the trap of over-comparing him or her to other couples' kids. This can be a useful way of making sure everything is ok, but it can also be counterproductive - especially if a competitive atmosphere creeps in. It's important to remember that babies, just like adults, are individuals and they develop at different rates. Premature babies in particular are likely to reach milestones later than full term babies of the same age. So even if your baby hasn't starting talking or rolling over at exactly the same time as other children, it is still far more likely that he or she will go on to be a healthy grown up than be developmentally delayed.
But I'm Still Concerned...
As parents we've all read the books and we know that it's normal for different babies to reach different milestones at different times. Sometimes though, you just might have a feeling that something isn't right. Perhaps this is not your first child and you remember that by this stage, your older child had already mastered skills X, Y and Z. Or perhaps you are really worried about a big difference between your baby and the one next door. In this case, it's your right and duty as a parent to trust your instincts and get it checked out.
What To Do
A reliable baby development chart will help you to determine if your worries are justified, at least on paper. Remember that these charts are intended only as a guide and they list the first month in which your baby may achieve certain things. This does not mean there is a problem if your baby reaches a milestone a month later than on the chart.
Keep a record of what you see. Write down your concerns on paper and try to be as precise as you can. Describe exactly what your baby does or doesn't do and how often it happens. If you decide to seek professional advice later on, this record will help your doctor to determine whether or not there is a problem.
Observe other babies. Try to do this as objectively as possible. If your baby goes to a kindergarten or if you attend a parents and babies group - look at the other kids. What do other kids of the same age do and how often? Beware of boastful parents! We all want our children to grow up and achieve great things, and this may lead some parents to exaggerate a little about their baby's developmental milestones. Go by what you see, not by what you are told.
See A Pediatrician
If you are still concerned, you should see a pediatrician. You should explain your observations to him or her and if you can provide your notes, that's better still. You need to strike a balance between respecting and trusting your doctor's expertise and having confidence in your own knowledge of your child. In the end of the day, you know your baby better than anyone else and you need to work with your pediatrician to decide if any further investigation is needed.
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