Menu

Is My Baby OK?

Spotting childhood development issues early.

Is My Baby OK?

All new parents know the pleasure of looking at a newborn. We also know the fear: What if something is wrong? Parents spend time wondering and worrying about their baby. You ask yourself, will she walk on time? Play like other kids? At the start of a child’s life parents navigate the milestones mostly on their own and it can be scary.

As children grow, there are so many areas of development that we hope are on track. We wait for children to crawl, walk and run. As we return to work, we also often turn over a great deal of daily monitoring to others. This makes it essential for parents to communicate openly and frequently with pediatricians, caregivers and teachers. Working as a team ensures concerns are addressed. But even today as awareness of child development grows, pitfalls to identifying issues remain.

Fortunately, every state provides early intervention services free for parents. Unfortunately, families are fearful and often don’t know what is available or how to obtain services. Parents usually turn to their pediatrician for help, but your doctor doesn’t see your child on a daily basis. And unless there is a diagnosed medical issue, doctors may not seek services. Many take a “wait and see” attitude, assuming development will solve problems. You can lose precious time when infants or toddler with malleable brains would be helped most.

But there’s a lot that parents can do to make sure their children are developing on schedule. Certainly, there are many developmental checklists and question and answer forums available online. Zero to Three’s Developmental Milestones includes a side bar where parents can ask questions and The Centers for Disease Control also provides useful materials .

But it’s even more important to trust your gut. And to ask questions of the person seeing your child on a daily basis: your caregiver or teacher. Be proactive about calling teachers, and seeking out your center’s director if you have concerns. Questions might include:

1) How’s my child’s language development? Do you think he understands what he’s hearing? Does she use enough words? Can you understand him?

2) Should he be walking already? When should I be concerned?

3) How come my child cries from loud sounds, doesn’t like to play with sand? Etc.

As you can see, anything you’re concerned about is worth asking.

Caregivers and teachers are there to encourage evaluation based on parent concerns or their own knowledge. Daycare and school personnel can help parents navigate early intervention bureaucracies, move forward with evaluations, and work with therapists to help children. Teachers can do baseline research based assessments, and observe children closely with developmental milestones in mind.

Through observation, teachers develop deep ways of:

  1. Knowing. By looking and listening teachers know children better, and can support children and parents.
  2. Understanding. Teachers think about what they see and share understandings with parents. Teachers see children in social and learning contexts.
  3. Identifying. Teachers use research based assessment tools to check milestones and share results with parents. Assessment results often spur a move to evaluate.

By sharing information, teachers and parents can reduce worry and take action to support children. With so many services available, why not take advantage of them? There is nothing to lose. A child -- even a baby -- who gets the right support will likely meet goals faster than you’d imagine, preparing them for school, for friendship and a happy life.

Image source.

 

 

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

Keep reading Show less
Our Partners

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

Keep reading Show less
Shop

10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

Keep reading Show less
Life