Developmental Milestones during the first year of life is a key measure when ensuring children are developing at a ‘normal’ rate (more on ‘normal’ below). Different areas of development may be highlighted as areas that may need a little more support.
What are developmental milestones and why are they important?
Well, first we need to define what a developmental milestone is.
A very simplified definition is something that most babies can do by a certain age. The law of averages so to say.
They involve physical motor skills, social/emotional skills, cognitive and communication skills.
As a chiropractors that work with babies we mainly focus on the physical motor skills such as using the jaw and tongue for feeding, lifting their head, reaching for objects, sitting, rolling, crawling and eventually walking.
What is considered ‘normal’ development can vary greatly and it is important to remember that all babies develop at their own rate. However identifying issues early means early intervention and better and quicker resolution of any underlying issues.
We like to look at the milestones in three month chunks as opposed to month to month. This helps cover the vast array of individual differences and is less stressful for parents.
0 – 3 months of age
The first time frame of milestones are then from 0 – 3 months or age. During the first three months your baby will be focused on feeding, sleeping and snuggling.
Things we would take note of as a chiropractor and could potentially help with are:
- Difficulty latching and feeding efficiently
- Difficulty settling – may have a physical pain of some sort
- Baby cries and resists getting dressed – especially with arms and legs
- Baby prefers to feed on one side, look one way.
- Baby is developing a flat spot on one side
- Baby holds themselves stiff and in an extension posture as opposed to being floppy and cuddly like a koala.
3 – 6 months of age
The next time frame of milestones is from 3 – 6 months. Your baby is learning a lot about communication, and will show emotions with smiles and giggles and should be getting stronger in the arms and head.
Things we would take particular note of and potentially help with are –
- They hate tummy time, not pushing up on hands or lifting their head.
- Isn’t initiating any movement when placed on floor – like cater pillaring, rolling, shuffling, dragging self around.
- Or if moving only using one side – one arm or one leg.
6 – 9 months of age
There should be a lot more movement during the 6-9 month phase. There is also a lot of frustration for the baby not being able to do as much as they want to. Clingy and separation anxiety phase kicks in around now so they won’t like being put down and left, you will most likely have to play and interact with them.
The motor milestones during the 6-9 month that we note and can potentially help with
- Rolling front to back and back to front.
- Grabbing on to things to play with. Using more dexterity with their hands.
- Initiating a crawling like pattern but not necessarily up on all fours yet.
- Once again we are looking for symmetry in movement – are they using the cross crawl pattern of movement or relying on one arm or leg?
9 – 12 months of age
Lastly we have the Milestones from 9 – 12 months. Your baby’s movement and communication skills are developing rapidly now, lots of new party tricks should be happening and your home should well and truly be baby safely baby proofed.
Things that a chiropractor could potentially help with:
- Altered crawling pattern – bum shuffling, using one leg or arm
- Not willing to stand or take steps assisted
- Can they sit unassisted?
- If walking is there bowed legs or turned in or out toes.
If you have any concerns about your child’s motor skill development and body alignment you can contact us by phone to book in for a thorough initial assessment. During our assessment time we can see if we are the right people to help and if not a recommendation of who would be the right professional to see.