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Concerns about 6 month old DD's development(15 Posts)
For some time now I have had concerns regarding my 6 month old daughter’s development – partly it is a gut feeling there is something amiss and that she is not quite like other babies her age, partly my worries relate to the fact that she seems a bit slow to reach developmental milestones (and there does not seem to be an obvious reason for it, e.g. prematurity or extended period of illness, etc.). The following sums up her development so far:
- able to slightly lift her head from birth and quickly developed good head control, yet only started rolling from front to back one day after her six-month birthday (still not rolling from back to front); can sit for about 1 minute without support and can hold herself in a sitting position well with support;
- generally seems to spend prolonged periods of time without moving much (especially when lying on her back); does not seem eager to stretch or roll to reach toys
- very quiet, sometimes spends hours without making a sound; started vocalising at about 6-7 weeks but seemed to turn very quiet and barely made sounds for about 4 weeks from 3/3.5 months; the nature of her sounds has not changed much over time (mostly krrrrrr at the back of her throat)
- was very alert from 3-4 weeks onwards, stayed awake for long periods of time and seemed to enjoy watching faces;
- started smiling at 6-7 weeks; now smiles quite a lot but only rarely laughs
I have raised these issues with the health visitor and her paediatrician (we live abroad and in the health system here paediatricians – not GPs - are the first port of call for baby health/development) but they have always responded by saying all babies develop at different rates and have not found any obvious red flags. They also say that in any case at this stage you can only adopt a “wait and see” approach. Another strange thing is that she very rarely shows hunger cues and would go for hours without a feed if it was up to her – we feed her when we think it’s about time she got something into her stomach! Not sure whether this could be related to silent reflux which she has recently been diagnosed with.
I guess what I am looking for is others’ experiences and advice on whether I should be accepting the wait and see approach or instead be pushing for more investigations at this stage to rule out anything immediate that might be causing delays? If it is wait and see, should we be doing anything in terms of therapy/exercises in the meantime? Some days I find myself going crazy as one minute I am thinking she is fine, the next I find myself analysing her every move and worrying myself sick.
Now on the one hand, there isn't any glaringly obvious delay from what you describe, but a mother rarely is concerned without good reason IMO. Don't see any reason not to push for basic sight and hearing checks right now. Other than that I would suggest reading around and proactively working on developing communication etc skills, as even if your child starts to come on well and you aren't concerned anymore, it's never wasted iyswim. My experience is of language delay, some good websites are www.hanen.org, www.teachmetotalk.com (free videos!), www.ican.org.uk. I know it's easy to say try not to worry but near impossible to do - but try and channel the worry, so that you are getting informed.
To me there doesn't seem anything much different from DGS2 who is nt. He didn't vocalise much before 6 months. Some babies are more vocal and some very quiet. The head control, smiling and so on sound right. The only thing is not reaching for toys and showing no interest in getting to them.
Try giving plenty of tummy time it is vital at this age. Place toys nearer to her so she can interact more easily. Get her eyes and hearing checked. Hang toys from a bar very close so she only has the reach out slightly. Lots of colourful and (annoyingly) noisy toys can get their attention more easily.
Is she your first child? You sound very anxious so try to mix with other mums and you will probably see the wide variety of abilities of babies. If you had a difficult birth maybe get some counselling?
If things start to deteriorate or no more progress is made you need to get her referred to a paediatrician for full investigations.
Thanks both for your reassuring responses...yes, she is my first, so I find it quite difficult to know what to expect at different stages as milestones described in baby books or websites vary so much. It is something quite subtle that I find difficult to put my finger on - I guess overall it is a lack of engagement with her surroundings. I think I will just take a deep breath and relax for now - and of course as you say continue to stimulate her in a playful way and watch her development. Mixing with other mums can be a double-edged sword - all the ones around me seem to have babies who are annoyingly advanced ;-)
All babies are individuals and some are just happy to look and take things in. Don't forget that you are the best toy in her world and if she is interacting with you and responding when you play with her it's less worrying. My niece hardly ever moved for 9 months and we called her the weeble but she is now a gifted student!
Definitely get her eyes and ears checked though and try not to compare to other babies. Development is a journey not a race! My favourite saying . If you still have concerns in a couple of months get another assessment.
I disagree to some extent with sneezecake as particularly with hearing difficulties early hearing aides can normalise development.
I think its important to compare with your own gene pool not just your neighbours though. Ask your Mother and MIL what you and dh were like as babies. In our case my child who does have issues was very behind his siblings but not out of range. He has significant communication difficulties.
Have you raised any concerns with your Dr or Health visitor?
Thanks for these further responses. She had her hearing checked as a newborn through the routine test they do - from my observation she does not seem to have hearing issues as I have seen her react to DH blowing his nose in another room! Doctor and HV say there is nothing obviously wrong and to just wait and see. My mother says I was average in my development as a baby, not sure about DH - but then I think people worried much less about these things in those days because there was so much less information out there on milestones, etc.
If you walk up behind her does she react when you speak?
The thing to focus on is that if there is a hearing problem (this can be only some frequencies) then the earlier it is identified the better. The same with sight. Both these will have to be ruled out before any neurological type issues would be considered. My feeling is that hearing and eye tests are non-invasive and relatively cheep. I would get them done now. If it is a developmental delay or disorder the intervention at her age would be lots of interaction and stimulation, which I'm sure you are doing anyway if you are concerned.
Thanks zzzzz, that makes sense. Will raise this with her paediatrician and try to get her hearing/sight tested.
She sounds a bit like me DD who was never arsed about rolling. I don't really know when she managed it but it was ages after 6 months. She was also very reserved with her smiles and hard work to make laugh, and just quiet in general. She wasn't fussed about toys out of her reach either.
She started to crawl after ten months.
She's now 13 months and I'm not sure what happened, but she's far more demanding and less placid. She crawls everywhere and tries to reach stuff, and yells at us to get it for her if she can't. She has a few words, and also loves playing games like peekaboo, it is way more easy to get her to laugh or smile than it was at 6 months.
She's my second so it was easier to be relaxed, as I know the 'milestones' you see on websites are merely guidelines and things can happen much later than specified without it actually being a concern.
Zzzz and OP I mentioned hearing and eyesight testing in both my posts so not quite sure what you are disagreeing with zzzz
I'm sorry sneeze I read your post as "give it a couple of months". Of course that's not what you said....I am tired this week and obviously slipped into a parallel universe!
Zzzz. Move over.... It's my parallel universe you're in
Thanks all, you've been hugely helpful in putting my worries into perspective and pointing out what to focus on at this stage! Let's see whether a hearing or sight test throws up anything. In the meantime I'll just enjoy her as she is :-)
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