Making Best Use of the Baby Development Chart
Let’s look at a few case studies to illustrate how to use it:
Case study #1: Baby doesn’t crawl yet
One of the typical questions we are often asked is this: Please tell me if it is OK if my baby doesn't crawl at 7 months. He doesn't want to use his arms, so he stays on his tummy.
Now, if you look at the crawling section on your development chart, you will note that the 50th percentile for crawling starts at 7 months. What this simply means is that half of all babies have mastered moving forward on the floor by about 7 months.
So, in this particular case the baby’s development is not yet behind.
But what the chart also shows is that at in 2 months’ time, at roughly 9 months, the color starts changing to red.
My suggestion would be to start doing activities to encourage his crawling development right now. At this stage there is still no urgency, but there would be no harm done to encourage and stimulate your baby to master this skill.
But once your baby reaches about 9 months and is still not crawling, then you’re pretty much into red-zone area. My preference would then be to start serious, planned stimulation activities.
From about 10 months onwards you should also consider getting professional help… maybe, even sooner.
Case study #2: Baby doesn’t crawl yet
Suppose a mom tells you her 16 month old child is not walking or even crawling yet. She also adds that her baby seems passive and mostly only sits. Should this mom be concerned with her child’s development??
Let’s have a look at our baby development chart once again… specifically the section relating to walking.
The chart shows that by about 15 months, about 90% of all babies can walk on their own without holding onto an object. What’s more, the chart also shows that 90% of all babies have already mastered crawling (in one form or another) at around 11 months!
What does this tell you?
If we focus only on the baby’s inability to walk at 16 months, our conclusion is that her walking development is slow… in the last 10%. This is surely slow and I would suggest getting professional assistance. But obviously I am a bit conservative and careful.
But if we also look at the inability to crawl at 16 months, that gives us a more serious picture. Our chart shows that at 11 months roughly 90% have already mastered the crawling skill. And we’re already 5 months later!
My suggestion would rather be to get professional assistance as soon as possible.
Case study #3: Baby does not sit
“My baby is 7 months old, but does not sit on his own yet. Oh yes, he was a preemie born at 34 weeks. Should I be worried about my son’s development right now?””
First thing we do every time is to refer to our baby development chart.
Our chart indicates that 50% of all babies have mastered the skill of briefly sitting on their own by about 6 months. But is this particular case study, this is not the whole story.
When we are looking at the development of preemie babies, things are a little different. But this is where most parents go wrong. They incorrectly use their preemie’s chronological (or real calendar) age to measure progress.
But what we should be doing in the case of preemie babies is to use corrected age to accurately measure our baby’s development progress. Corrected age is a numerical calculation to compensate for your baby being born prematurely. For more details on how it works, read this article
You get corrected age by subtracting the number of weeks prematurely born from his real, chronological age. In this case our baby was born 6 weeks prematurely (40 – 34 = 6).
So, corrected age is: 7 months (real age) – premature period (6 weeks) = 5½ months. Thus, our baby is “effectively” only 5½ months old.
This means that we should be using a corrected age of 5½ months when measuring our baby’s performance right now.
Now things are a bit different.
It is still very early for our baby to sit. We can always stimulate and encourage him to master this skill, but there is no concern yet. And it is still definitely too early to get worried about the apparent slow development.
What to do right now
All these case studies show that the very first thing you should do to assess your baby’s development progress is to refer to the baby development chart.
Study and measure how your child is really progressing. I know this hard, but try to do it objectively... don't be biased either way. See the situation the way it really is.
If you find that your baby may be a slow developer in one or more areas, you can start by using the stimulation activities described elsewhere on this site. And if your baby is clearly in any particular red-zone area, my suggestion would be to get professional help soon.
My Rule-of-Thumb for baby stimulation is this…
Rather too soon than too late. If you’re concerned about your child’s development, start doing something right now rather than waiting until ‘later’. Remember, it is ALWAYS easier to help your child the sooner you start.
Save time and unnecessary effort
Clearly I can try to give you a few pages on this site where you should be looking next. But I don't know your exact needs now that you've studied the baby development chart. So, to save yourself a lot of time and effort, type what you're looking for in the search box below and click Search.