Child Development: Why you should watch for milestones.
Childhood miles stones are somethings that don't typically get a very good reputation---with good reason. They tend to bring out comparisons and behaviors in parents, friends, and family that we might not always be proud of. We look at what each child is doing not only in relation to the miles stones but also to other children and where they are! Talk about negative behavior... It's understandable that following typical miles stones can become hard for people or just downright impossible. Your baby is precious and special and each one develops in their own way at their own pace! Why are you going to let some generalized guide tell you how your child ranks in the world?
We get it and we completely agree. Just like every person eats differently or exercises differently, your baby is unique and different, which is what makes them special and unique!
We do, however, want to discuss some of the positives of simply being aware of what the milestones are while you have a growing baby. Outside of this competition people fall into, the milestones are really to look at your baby's development and help you watch for any type of developmental delays that may help early diagnoses such as autism and down syndrome.
So what are the 'basics' if you are not already aware?
At 2 months of age, your baby will start to smile at people and turn their heads to most sounds. Essentially, they are beginning to be aware of their surroundings. At 6 months, they will start to respond to their name!
At one year of age, we begin to look at more of the physical abilities such as sitting upright without support.
At 18 months, there are a few more things we are looking for --such as saying 'mama' and 'dada', clinging to caregivers in new situations, pointing at things they want to show you or others, and begin being able to hold a cup and spoon.
At two years, they will start to express defiant behaviors, hence the name terrible-twos. And by three they will begin playing make-believe!
These are just a few milestone examples to keep in mind...
One thing that many people do not realize is that these milestones are meant to cover between 70-90% of babies (not ALL). If your child or someone else's child is early with their milestones--that is OKAY, it doesn't mean others (or your child) are behind, they are most likely right on track! Take that Karen with your overachieving child... just kidding -- we love you Karen, tehe.
So there are a couple positives about really understanding the milestones...
Another thing to recognize is that its not necessarily the full accomplishment of the behavior that makes the miles stone 'achieved'. You should really watch for the ATTEMPTS to accomplish them.
If we are looking for early childhood diagnoses, attempts at milestones can be a the most telling way to see if your baby is on the right track or possibly running a little behind.
As a mom, YOU ARE THE EXPERT ON YOUR BABY! If you feel like something isn't right, it might not be. Do not be afraid to request an assessment and screening to better understand your child's milestones and possible need of an outside intervention. This can be done WITHOUT a doctor's referral.
Did you know that early intervention of development delays through therapy and other methods can significantly help your baby long term? Studies have shown that the earlier the intervention, the more your child is positively impacted in their future.
How can you find out more? See helpful sites and apps through the link below!
For more info and apps!
Until next time! Stay amazing!
Mikayla and Cassie
Mamas Maternal Health Registered Dietitians/Lactation Counselors
Mineo, B., Powers, B., Engaging Parents and Supporting Whole Child Development with CDC's Learn the Signs. Act Early., University of Delaware, Center for Disabilities Studies
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