Concern About Developmental Problems in Children: Care Instructions

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Babies learn many skills during their first year of life. They roll over, crawl, babble, and may say words.

As babies grow, they reach developmental milestones. These are skills that most babies can do at specific ages. If your baby is not growing or developing as you expect, it's normal to be concerned.

A baby may be slow to reach certain milestones. This does not mean that something is wrong. Some babies develop more slowly than others.

But in some cases a baby may have a problem. This could include hearing loss or trouble with speech. Or the baby may have poor muscle tone or trouble learning to crawl or walk.

Your doctor may want to wait and see how your baby develops. The doctor may ask you to watch how your baby grows in one area.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Respond when your baby cries. You will not spoil your baby. When you meet your baby's physical and emotional needs, your baby learns that the world is a safe place.
  • Make a lot of eye contact with your baby. A good time to do this is during feedings. Your baby loves to look at your face and eyes. When you hold your baby in the curve of your arm, you are the perfect distance apart for your baby to see you well.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your baby's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your baby was able to do something, such as sit without support, and can't do this any more.
  • Your baby is not improving in an area of concern.
  • Your baby is not able to do most of the common skills for your baby's age.
  • Your baby's growth seems to slow a lot or your baby is not eating well.
  • You are concerned about how your baby reacts to you or you feel unable to connect emotionally with your baby.
  • Your baby does not babble or respond to your voice.
  • Your baby does not get more alert or active over time.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.