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As a pediatric physical therapist assistant in the school district, I am around many first time and new parents.  I am often shown videos and pictures of their precious little ones followed by “my baby isn’t rolling over yet… my baby isn’t sitting up yet….my baby isn’t crawling yet...IS THIS NORMAL?”

Let’s put it into perspective. Humans are amazing creatures.   In just a short amount of time, from birth to around 15 months we go from completely dependent beings to walking, talking, climbing, could you please sit still for just one moment, balls of energy.  In order to get from one to the other we take a journey along a path of specific skills that we learn to do at specific ages.  This is known as developmental milestones.   Each milestone was created to build on the next until… Ta Da! Your baby is no longer the sweet smelling little bundle that remains in the same spot you placed it 2 minutes ago but the curious ever- in-motion toddler running around saying momma, momma, MOMMA!

There are many steps that a child needs to accomplish before moving from one milestone to the next. For example: A child must be on their tummy in order to hold their head up and push through their arms before they can learn to crawl.  Knowing this, tummy time is a very important step for development.  Here is another example:  A child must be allowed to work on trunk strengthening out of their baby carriers in order to learn to sit alone.   These examples are over simplified and are really topics for another blog however, it shows the importance of mastering one skill before being able to accomplish the next. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a nice checklist of typical skills at various ages  https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/pdf/checklists/all_checklists.pdf  

Remember that each milestone is at a certain age level for most children, however, every child is unique and the age in which your child reaches each level can differ and still remain completely typical. 

Now, back to answering the question “Is this Normal?”  A simple yes or no will not do. It involves a little more investigation and conversation.  If you have questions or concerns talk to your doctor and ask for a therapy referral. Do not wait because the first year of your child’s life is filled with new, exciting and very important experiences and skills that they need in order to develop into the beautiful little creatures they are supposed to be.  So strap on your running shoes Mom and Dad and get ready to chase your “Normal” baby.

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Julie Childs PTA, NDT/T
Pediatric Physical Therapist Assistant