Welcome to parenthood. As if there wasn't enough to worry about already, you now have this wonderful little munchkin in your life, and all of a sudden, you may have new concerns. Some are probably typical to this new adventure called “parenthood,” but other worries may be valid.
Do you have concerns about your baby's development?
It is true. All children develop at their own pace, but there are developmental norms, or typical growth and skills, which your baby (ages 3-12 months) should be acquiring during this first year.
If after reading about developmental norms, you still have questions and concerns, it's time to take action.
Afraid? Yes, you may be afraid. However, remember, sometimes we fear the things we least understand or don't have information about. As the parent, it is up to you to take the responsibility and actions to be the best advocate for your child. No, it may not be easy, but it is the right thing to do and you do have the strength, knowledge (soon – keep reading!) and will have the resources to tackle any concerns you may have.
Not sure where to start?
- First, identify your concerns. Are you worried about physical development, emotional or social skills, or cognitive abilities (thinking skills)?
- Work to define, as much as possible, your concerns. For example, you may be concerned that your baby isn't showing signs that they are gaining the strength and muscle needed to sit up. Perhaps your infant doesn't turn their head or seem startled following a loud or unique sound. Document your observations. Remember, a pediatrician may only spend a few minutes each doctor's visit examining your child. If you are seeing (or not seeing) behaviors that don't seem typical, write down your observations. Include facts such as how often these behaviors are noticed, etc.
- Make an appointment. If you have valid concerns, don't wait until your next scheduled well-baby check-up. Give yourself peace of mind by moving forward and addressing the concerns you have.
- If you don't like what you hear from your pediatrician, get a second opinion. You chose your pediatrician to be the expert when it comes to tracking the growth and development of your baby. If your pediatrician doesn't take the time to address your concerns or you are not comfortable with the response he/she has given, feel free to get a second opinion. You are the advocate for your child. Pediatricians are doctors and sometimes may be incorrect too.
- Once you have an answer, ask more questions. Do your research. It pays to make lists. Use websites like http://www.everydayfamily.com/, and also reach out to the local resources in your community (whether family, friends or organized groups).
- Finally, breathe deep and take one step at a time. Others have been down this same path. Lean on them for support.