I had two walkers at 13 months and then baby number three came in with her first steps at 8 months. “She’s a genius, just like her mother!” “She’s had more independent play; that’s why.” “She’s your third, so she saw her brothers as an example.” Perhaps these all have truth to them (especially the one where I’m indirectly called a genius).
That same baby is slower to say her first words than her brothers. Oldest got his first teeth at exactly 4 months. She also started getting teeth 3-5 months after her brothers. And wouldn’t you know it, they are all “normal,” and now walk and talk and chew as if it were no big thang.
Babies are different for all sorts of reasons. Sex, gestational age at birth, or any number of diagnoses and conditions can factor into your child’s development. Environmental factors such as siblings, education level of parents, levels of engagement throughout the day, and more can impact a child’s developmental progress.
All that said, be aware of the general developmental guidelines for your child’s age. Learn about what you can do to encourage an environment of success (however you and a pediatrician define that). Speak with baby’s doctor any time you have concerns that your child may be struggling to gain new skills. Attend well-child checkups to ensure you and your doctor can do exactly that—check up on baby.
Some delays are no delays at all! A baby learning to walk at 16 months is still in the realm of “normal.” Other delays have no long-term cause for concern, may need only temporary intervention, or can speak to deeper long-term causes that need to be explored. Screenings can help identify potential problems early so that babe (and family) can get the most support for life-long success. Early intervention helps everyone, and even babies who are ahead of the curve on some things may have challenges in other developmental areas.
So if you want to go calling your baby a genius, I suppose that’s all good in cute mommy-baby cuddle talk. Though with so many factors playing into a baby’s development, and the wide range of variation for developmental milestones, there is no reason to flaunt it. Babies crawl and walk and talk and get teeth all in good time.
And no one remembers any of it by Kindergarten.
Lynette is a mom of three children from one year to age five. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.