What to do if your baby is a late bloomer

If your baby has yet to start walking and talking when the children in their group at crèche already have, you may think your baby is a late bloomer. But, although there are certain milestones your baby should start hit by certain age ranges, it is important to remember that this age range is quite wide, and all babies hit different milestones at different times.

‘Late walkers’

Babies are considered to be ‘late walkers’ if they have not attempted their first step by the age of 15 months or more. If this is the case, however, it doesn’t mean that your child has a serious delay or even that it is a cause for concern. Observe if your baby gets around by other means, like crawling, shuffling, or even by the adults around him. If so, then it could be said that he or she is concentrating their energy on other skills like talking or a fine motor skill, instead of walking.

What can you do?

Make sure there is enough floor space for your child to practice. Place childproofing around stairs, bookshelves, stoves, and fireplaces to make everything as safe as possible for him or her to cruise around. Encourage your baby by calling their name with your arms outstretched, and even supporting those first few steps by holding their hands.

A quiet one

If your baby has reached 12 months and has yet to utter those first few magical words, don’t worry. A lot of babies hold off talking until around 16 to 18 months – then all the words they’ve gathered over the course of their short life come out in a torrent.
One reason why your baby hasn’t begun talking could be because you and your partner are so good at reading their signals, and nonverbal cues.

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What can you do?

The important thing to remember is that even though your child isn’t speaking yet, doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t understand what you’re saying. It also doesn’t mean that they aren’t storing up words for an eventual reveal (so be sure to mind your language at this critical stage!). Make eye contact and narrate your day together, even simple things like pointing out all the different products you pick up in the supermarket or naming each object of clothing as you put it on them will help build their vocabulary.

Hand-eye coordination

The baby books probably state that your baby should be playing pat-a-cake by around 11 or 12 months, and begin to show an interest in their spoon by 15 months. But at the end of the day, if your child doesn’t do pat-a-cake, it could be because they just don’t find it all that amusing. Likewise, if your baby doesn’t see the need for a spoon when they’re eating their dinner, observe and see if they’re doing just as well using their hands.

What can you do?

The important thing is to not force anything on your child. If he or she doesn’t want to use a spoon, don’t make them. Just leave it on their tabletop during mealtimes and show them how mummy or daddy use a spoon themselves. Similarly, with clapping games, try something new if your baby isn’t enamoured with pat-a-cake. ‘Itsy-bitsy spider’, ‘Head, shoulders, knees, and toes’, or even just some high fives will have the same effect on your baby’s development.

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maternity & infant
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