No two babies are alike and infants develop physically at their own pace. Yet, worries about infant development are second only to feeding concerns among parents, according to the March of Dimes. Physical developmental milestones are not set in stone; your baby may develop a little ahead or a little behind other babies the same age. Still, it’s wise to talk to your baby’s doctor if you notice any signs of abnormal physical development.
Steady growth is an indication of good health in babies, while slow growth could signal a problem. Most babies double their birth weight by age 5 months, according to MayoClinic.com. If your baby triples his birth weight by age 1 year, that’s a sign of normal growth. An underweight baby at any point during infancy could be a sign of abnormal physical development, but keep in mind that many babies go through periods when they stop gaining weight or even lose a little weight, notes MayoClinic.com.Your baby’s doctor tracks her growth at well-baby visits to be sure that nothing looks abnormal.
Hand Coordination Delays
By three months, your baby should be able to open and shut his hands and bring his hands to his mouth. If your baby can’t use his hands to perform these actions, that could be a red flag that something is wrong developmentally. Another possible sign of abnormal physical development is the inability to reach for objects with one hand and transfer small toys from one hand to the other by 8 months. A 1-year-old who can’t use the pincher grasp to pick up objects is an additional potential sign of abnormal physical development.
Speech and Hearing Impairments
If your baby doesn’t seem to follow objects with her eyes by 3 months, something could be wrong with her eyes. The inability to use the eyes and hands in coordination could also be a sign of a vision impairment. It’s normal for newborns to see only within a range of 8 to 12 inches; color vision normally develops between age of 2 and 6 months, reports MedlinePlus. Your baby should be able to recognize some sounds by the end of his first month, including the sound of your voice. No babbling by age 9 months and no imitated words by age 1 are also signs of abnormal hearing since speech and hearing and closely connected.
Between 6 and 10 months, babies normally begin to crawl. Your infant may start by crawling on his belly before trying the hands-and-knees position. Zero to Three notes there is right or wrong way to crawl, but using only one side of the body to crawl, such as pushing off with only one arm or dragging one side of the body, is a possible sign of abnormal physical development. Don’t be alarmed if your baby starts crawling by scooting backwards, however. Babies sometimes learn to crawl by first moving backwards before making forward crawling movements, notes Zero to Three.
Lack of Walking by Age 2
About half of babies walk by their first birthday, according to the March of Dimes, but the timing of this physical skill can vary widely among babies, even siblings. Lack of walking by age 2 is a sign that something may be wrong with your child’s physical development. Walking anytime between 9 months and 16 months is completely normal, however. Don’t push your child to learn to walk or crawl as this can slow the mastering of physical skills. Zero to Three cautions against using baby walkers. They are not only potentially dangerous, but baby walkers can also inhibit physical development of the muscles and limit time on the floor learning to crawl.
- March of Dimes: What Is Normal Development?
- MayoClinic.com: Infant Growth: What's Normal?
- Nemours Foundation: Growth and Your Newborn
- March of Dimes: Developmental Milestones for Baby
- Zero to Three: Steps Toward Crawling
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Your Growing Baby - Ages and Stages
- MedlinePlus: Infant - Newborn Development
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images