It is important to closely monitor your baby’s development, especially in the early months after birth. This may lead you to wonder, “How do I know if my baby has developmental delays?” As babies age into toddlers, they may show delays in their physical, social, or cognitive skills. If you notice any of these, you should alert your doctor immediately.
After a difficult birth, it is possible that your baby suffered an injury that could have led to delays in development. Doctors may not be able to identify the injury or the severity of the injury immediately after birth, as some do not show up until the baby is a few weeks or several months old.
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Characteristics of Developmental Delays
Before you can begin looking for developmental delays in your baby, it is important to understand how these delays may present themselves.
As babies age, they should learn to grasp simple toys or bring their hands to their mouths, showing the ability to control their muscles.
Additionally, the baby should eventually learn to support the weight of his or her own head as neck muscles strengthen. Rolling over, sitting up, crawling, standing, and walking should follow.
Babies typically will not be able to communicate with full words until reaching 12 months of age or so. Before that, your child should begin to make sounds within the first few months after birth.
Some speech delays can be signs of a brain injury, or they could indicate a hearing problem or issues with physically moving the mouth, tongue, or lips to make sounds.
Babies should start to react to their environment in the early months, by moving their eyes to follow moving objects or by moving their heads to react to sounds around them.
They may also begin to exhibit emotions in response to interacting with their parents, through smiles and laughs.
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Signs of Developmental Delays
Understand that all babies may have slightly different rates of development. Some babies will gain skills early, while others may be late. Having a late start in developing certain skills and abilities does not necessarily indicate a birth injury or brain injury, but it is still important to monitor these delays and speak with a doctor about them.
Some issues with a baby’s development may show up earlier than others, perhaps giving you an early clue into the possibility of a brain injury in your baby.
Birth to 3 Months
According to Mayo Clinic, a baby may exhibit some delays in the following categories in the first few months of life:
- Motor skills: The baby should begin grasping small objects or to lift his or her head.
- Communication: The baby should begin making cooing noises by 2 to 3 months.
- Response to sounds: The baby should begin to respond to random noises and to your voice.
- Vision: The baby should learn to follow moving objects with his or her eyes.
3 to 6 Months
Some of the milestone delays a baby may show between 3 and 6 months that could indicate a brain injury include the following:
- Difficulty moving: The baby’s muscles may feel stiff or floppy, and the baby may seem to have trouble controlling his or her movements.
- Weakness on one side: The baby may seem to only use one side of his or her body, indicating weakness on the other side.
- Difficulty in control: The baby may not seem to be able to raise objects to his or her mouth or grasp items.
- Lack of babbling: The baby does not make cooing sounds or babbling sounds that would indicate the development of language skills.
You May Qualify for Compensation in a Birth Injury Case
Once you understand how to know if your baby has developmental delays, you may wonder what caused them. These delays can indicate that your baby may have suffered an injury during delivery or soon after.
If you believe your doctor or another medical professional treating you may have made an error during delivery that led to a birth injury, you may have a case for negligence.
If you can show that a doctor’s negligence led to a birth injury and subsequent developmental delays for your baby, you have the right to attempt to seek compensation for the baby’s medical bills, pain, suffering, and reduction in quality of life. At the Birth Injury Lawyers Group, we are ready to help you fight for the damages you deserve. Call us today at (800) 222-9529 for a free case review.