The Best Use Of An Infant Development Timeline or Milestone

Infant Development Timeline

Using infant development timelines is most likely not be your biggest concern right now.

Perhaps it seems as if you have all the time in the world to enjoy your baby. But time passes very quickly. Each day your child is taking in new information, trying out new skills, making new sounds and before you realize that he is a baby no longer.

"But if my child is learning and making progress, why would I bother with an development timelines?"

The shortest and, in my mind, the best answer is...
"to measure your child's progress against some standardized norm".

Stated differently, it answers the question:
"How is my child doing compared to the other children of the same age?"

It's natural to want your baby to be the first, the brightest, the best looking and so on. But babies don't all develop at the same rate. So some, even siblings with similar genes and environment, will take longer to learn new skills than others. It's important to realize that this different development rates are quite normal.

The problem occurs when a baby is significantly falling behind in more than one baby development area.

 A Practical Rule of Thumb

I have a pediatrician friend who says… "normal kids are just normal". What he means with this is that even though your "normal" child may be falling behind in one area of development (compared to standard infant development timelines), he will in all probability catch up later. That's typical. Abnormal is when a baby struggles to hear, can't crawl, and cries constantly, to name a few.

A normal kid may fall down a flight of stair, get a knock on the head and walk away without any long-term consequences. A baby with inherent problems falls down the same flight of stairs, ends up in hospital and remains with major long-term damages.

A Few Infant Development Timeline Guidelines

The majority of babies will reach the same stage about the same age. Most babies will typically smile at about 6 weeks. But a week or so either way is perfectly normal.

The majority will reach out to grab things by three months, but co-ordination skills will vary and so some will succeed in grabbing the things they are after between finger and thumb rather more often than their slightly less coordinated peers. Infant development timelines will tell you that most babies cut their first tooth at about 6 months, but there are some who are born with teeth and others toothless at 8 months.

Practical experience tells us that all stages in the infant development timeline are not the same. Some are more important than others.

It is more important that your baby responds to noises and smiles by 6 weeks or so than that he can crawl by exactly 9 months. The first is about visual, auditory and communication skills, while experience also shows that some seemingly normal babies never crawl.  

My youngster sister waited until almost 20 months, then all in one day she stood and walked across the room. Her only means of movement before were semi-rolls to reach things and shuffling her potty about in a circle.  In every other way she hit all the milestones exactly on time or even ahead.

In other words, she made progress and that is the most important point. Keep in mind that she was perfectly normal in all other measurable aspects of the infant development timeline.  

So, for normal children it's not the speed, but the fact of progress, whether in speech, physical abilities such as picking up tiny pieces of banana, learning to respond socially and so on that's really important.

How To Get The Best From Infant Development Timelines

"But what happens if I am at any stage concerned about my baby's development progress? What's the best approach?"

Measure your baby's progress against that of a "normal" infant development timeline. Ask yourself, and try to answer objectively, how your child is doing compared to other children of the same age.

Now, let's assume he is falling behind in more than one area (or even if you only suspect that he may be developing too slowly in these areas).

The very, very best advice is to seek professional advice as soon as possible.

There are 2 reasons for this:

  • Professionals are objective and will give you an honest, impartial answer

  • Should there be any problems, then the very best time to address them is right now. Many scientific studies have shown that much more and faster progress can be made to overcome and address development problems the sooner they are dealt with.

Even if your baby is apparently going along fine and you have no worries I still suggest that you take your baby along for regular check-ups. The most important reason for this is to get an objective opinion about your baby's development. Is everything "really" going along fine, or are you the only one thinking so?

One of the most frequent mistakes I see parents make is to be ignorant of how their babies are really developing. Oftentimes parents are the very last to see or admit their child have some development problem. Somehow they just never take the time to notice or measure progress.

Apart from anything else, when you go to a professional for a regular check-up, you will meet other moms. Your baby will also be getting to know the children that he will later meet at pre-school. And he will learn that there are other little people and learn to respond in a group environment.

Infant Development Timeline Summary

Bottom line of effectively using an infant development timeline is this; do not delay getting an objective professional opinion if you are concerned about your baby's development progress. And even if you are not concerned, still get a regular professional opinion to objectively track your baby's progress.

infant development timeline >> infant development