When we look at how babies develop we know that they learn at slightly different speeds but there are key time points where we expect to see them achieving certain movements e.g. rolling by 5 months. Learning to move is a complex process, it relies on many systems working together. Some children may learn slower as they have been exposed to risk factors during pregnancy or in the first few months of life. Infants who are born premature (>36 weeks), having a low birth weight, their mother had an infection whilst pregnant (listeria or toxoplasmosis), there was reduced placenta health, can increase the risk of them having a neurological concern or cerebral palsy. However, we are lucky with current research and international collaboration of specialists within the area of child development as we now know what we should be looking out for. What are the red flags or movements that we see in the baby that means we should be taking a closer look?
So what are these “early warning” signs?
- Is your baby showing a hand preference before 1 year?
- Are they older than 6 months and they cannot get their feet to their mouth or their legs feel stiff and are hard to bend?
- Are they older than 4 months and keep their hands closed tightly (fisted/ clenched) most of the time?
- Are they not able to hold their head in line with their body when pulled up to sitting (older than 4 months of age)?
- Are they Can they sit by themselves