How Your Newborn’s Doctor Can Help With Understanding Developmental Milestones

A mother smiling at her newborn child.

Seeing your newborn reach developmental milestones can be a cause for celebration — but what if you don’t know what those milestones should be? A newborn doctor can help you understand the developmental stages your child needs to reach as well as what to do if you think your child may not be meeting that schedule.

Here is what you need to know about key developmental milestones for newborns and how your child’s doctor can help you understand them.

What Are Developmental Milestones?

Developmental milestones are goals that your child has to reach during a certain period, letting you know that they are developing as they need to. During your baby’s first year, they will need to meet a number of these milestones, such as smiling, cooing, waving, and crawling, to ensure that no issues need addressing.

These milestones are divided by month, but it’s important to understand that your child doesn’t have to follow a perfect schedule. As long as they meet the milestone within a reasonable amount of time, a little delay is not cause for concern.

The First Year: Knowing What Milestones to Expect

A newborn doctor can accurately detail the various goals you need to watch for your child, especially during that first crucial year of your child’s life. For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, by the second month, your child should be able to look at your face, smile, react to loud sounds, and lift their head.

At four months, your child should be able to:

  • Reach for toys
  • Start to babble
  • Hold their head steady
  • Roll over

At six months, the milestones to watch for include sitting without support, looking around at nearby objects, and responding to sounds with sounds.

A baby who is nine months old needs to be able to:

  • Understand what “no” means
  • Crawl
  • Point at things
  • Play peek-a-boo

The National Library of Medicine states that by 12 months, your child should be able to say a few syllables, pull themselves up to a standing position, and even follow simple directions. At each checkup with your child’s newborn doctor, they will ask you whether you’ve seen them displaying the appropriate actions.

But what if your child is not meeting these milestones?

How Your Child’s Newborn Doctor Helps

Your child’s newborn doctor can not only help you understand why milestones are important, but they can also put you at ease about any delays. There shouldn’t be a reason to worry as long as the delays aren’t significant. These checklists are not diagnostic tools; some children take longer to achieve various goals.

If the milestones don’t appear at all, however, or if missing the milestones prevents your child from interacting correctly with peers, the doctor may refer your child for a developmental assessment. This can provide the answers you need and determine whether issues should be addressed, such as pulmonary concerns.

Your child’s pediatrician is there to offer advice and provide you with peace of mind and monitor your child’s progress, so make sure to let them know about all of your concerns. It can help to write down when you first see your child smile, crawl, or do anything else so that you can give them an accurate account of the timeline.

Many parents hesitate to say anything if their child has missed a milestone, but that should never be a worry. Your child’s newborn doctor is not there to judge but to offer assistance. Ask as many questions about the developmental process as you need, and listen to their suggestions to know how to help your child best.

Choosing the Right Doctor for Your Child

The first year of your child’s life is crucial. It contains vital milestones they need to meet to ensure their development is going correctly, so having experts by your side to help you through those first 12 months makes a difference.

The right doctor can offer support and guidance while keeping any missed milestones in perspective to prevent you from stressing when you don’t need to.

To learn more about developmental goals from a compassionate team with experience in caring for children of all ages in Orange County, contact Newport Children’s Medical Group today.