Identifying signs of concern in 6-9 month olds
As parents, our top priority is ensuring our children are healthy and growing well. Although each child develops differently and at different times, there are specific developmental milestones that most babies should achieve by a certain age.
Here are some signs to look for that may indicate a developmental concern:
It is common for babies to start babbling as a sign of early language development. By 6-9 months, your baby should experiment with different sounds and tones, cooing and babbling.
Conversations with your baby are essential to support their babbling and communication skills. Even though babies may not be able to speak yet, they communicate with you through their noises, vocalisations, and movements. Taking turns talking and repeating their sounds and vocalisations can help build their confidence and show them that their communication attempts are important to you.
If you have concerns about your baby's lack of sounds, it's best to contact your GP for advice.
Most babies can sit up unsupported by 6-9 months. However, babies who are not sitting up yet may need some extra help and support. Use a Boppy or nursing pillow for support by placing it behind your baby's back to support their body while sitting. This will help them sit upright and practise maintaining their balance.
If your baby is not sitting up despite your best efforts to assist them, it's worth speaking to your doctor.
Reaching and exploring objects with both hands
At around 6-9 months, babies should be able to reach for, grab, and play with objects. Support this skill by providing your baby with lots of grasping opportunities. Additionally, toys that produce sounds, like rattles, bells, and shakers, can enhance their sensory experience and encourage them to play and move the objects around in their hands to explore the sounds.
However, suppose your baby is not progressing in their motor skills or struggles with grasping things.
In that case, it is advisable to seek advice from a professional.
Moving or crawling
By 6-9 months, your baby is interested in moving around and exploring their environment. They may begin crawling, moving around on their stomachs-commando style or bottom shuffling. Providing your baby with lots of floortime will encourage them to safely and freely move around, exploring with movement and developing core muscle strength. You can also promote this by placing some of their favourite toys within reach, motivating them to move and reach for them.
If your baby is not interested in exploring or moving, it may be a sign of delayed development.
Not responding to their name
By 9 months old, most babies can comprehend and react to their names. It is important to note that receptive language, which refers to the understanding of words, develops at a different pace than expressive language, which involves the ability to speak words with meaning. It's important to know that babies can understand what you are saying before they can talk recognisable words. To help your baby learn their name, it's crucial to call out their name frequently and make eye contact. When taking turns, indicate your turn by pointing to yourself and saying "mummy/daddy's turn," When it's their turn, point to them and say their name.
Suppose your baby does not respond to their name or seems uninterested in interacting with others. Contact your GP to look at potential issues causing the delays.
No eye contact
Eye contact is an essential aspect of social interaction and communication. By 6-9 months, your baby should begin to respond to facial expressions, establish eye contact, and attempt to mimic facial movements. In addition, by this age, your baby is starting to interact with others by getting involved in back-and-forth play.
Remember that each child is unique and develops at various times and at different rates. So, if your baby isn't doing the same things as your friend's little one, give your little one time!
However, if you are still concerned, seek help from your GP or health visitor. No matter how small your concern is, don't let it linger in your mind; ask for help.
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