Q: I’m sorry for coming to your inbox late in the night. Thank you for the sacrifice you are paying to educate all your fans. My nightmare is about my little daughter, who I delivered in late December 2017. She is one year and almost four months now. She didn’t crawl at all, and up till date, she only walks with the aid of the table and the bed side. I stopped breastfeeding her a month ago, because she is so much attached to me, that she doesn’t allow people to carry her. She is too fond of me. Whenever I drop her with my grandma, and she doesn’t see me, she will play with other people. However, when she sees me, she starts crying profusely, if I don’t give her my total attention. Like I must not stand up beside her or even go to the restroom. The ‘biggest’ of my trouble with her is her consistent crying in the night. I am almost fed up! I am affected by these challenges, health-wise. I want to know Doctor, is there anything happening to her, stopping her from walking medically? What drug or supplements can we use, to help her? She fears a lot, she doesn’t want to fall down. That is what I have been observing as the reason why she can’t take her hands off the table and walk without being guided. Please help doctor. I will be expecting your reply Doctor. Thanks a million.
A: Thanks for writing in…and please don’t be fed up. Trust me! This too shall pass 😀
First point to note is that although children develop at different speeds, walking is not considered to be delayed until the child is about 18 months and hasn’t started walking. Your baby is not there yet and from all indications, may have started walking by the time she hits that age. So, don’t borrow tomorrow’s trouble for today. Encourage and cheer her on and provide opportunities for these motor skills to be developed – let’s see how it goes J
For you and other parents who worry about their children’s developmental progress, here’s an approximate guide to different milestones. Please remember that each child is different and so variation is the rule of the game! 😀
- At 6 weeks, most babies can sit with their backs curved and require support. Head control developing. In ventral suspension (when held above couch with examiner’s hand supporting the abdomen) can hold head at level of body briefly.
- At 3 months babies have enough upper body strength to support their heads and chests with their arms while lying on their tummies
- At 6 months, typically babies can sit with support and when lying face down, can lift themselves up on forearms. When pulled up to sit, the backward flopping of the head that used to occur (head lag) would have stopped
- At 9 month, babies can get into sitting position alone and sit unsupported. Baby can also crawl but it’s important to point out that there’s a wide variation in the age of crawling for children and some of them never crawl. They totally skip this stage and walk 😀 Sound familiar to you? Your baby appears not to be interested in anything except the real deal, ‘walking!’
- At 10 months babies can pull themselves into standing positions and maintain that position holding on to supports
- At 12 months, babies can stand and walk with one of their hands held. They can stand alone briefly and/or walk alone.
- At 18 months, most babies walk well, run and can climb stairs while holding on to rails
- At 2 years, most babies can kick a ball and climb up and down stairs with two feet per step.
- At 3 years, babies can now climb stairs one foot per step and are able to stand on one foot for a few seconds.
When it is diagnosed that there is a proven delay in walking, it is important to determine the cause. Apart from the fact that this ‘supposed delay’ may just be a variation of the normal, delays could be due to the under listed: Delay in motor maturation
- Learning disabilities in which there is a delay in all developmental areas, with language and social skills being the most affected.
- Delayed motor maturation in which some children, otherwise normal in every other aspect, just walk late. This tends to run in families
- Cerebral palsy
- Reduced muscle tone as in Down’s syndrome
- Infections – eg meningitis
- Head injury.
- Maternal antenatal infections or toxins.
If the paediatrican is convinced there is a developmental delay, then treatment will depend on the cause(s).
So, right now, you don’t need to worry. If you, however, do worry, please take your baby to see the paediatrician for appropriate history taking, examination and diagnosis.
All the best!