15 Signs The Baby Is Behind (And 5 Ways Moms Can Fix It)

We all know that babies do things at their own rate. It is not uncommon for one baby to start walking a month sooner than another baby the same age as her. Although babies do things at their own pace, there is a point where it is time for mom and dad to be concerned. For example, if your little love is still not talking by the time he is a year and a half old, it could indicate a big issue. Check out our guide on amazing baby milestones and when to expect them if you haven't already. Below, we have compiled a list of 15 warning signs that your little bug may be behind.

This list consists of many milestones that need to be hit by a certain point and many red flags that will need to be discussed with the trusted pediatrician. We have also created tips on how to help the honey bunny and way to keep him stimulated. We all want our children to have the very best start in life, but unfortunately, not everything is what we dream it will be. Some of these issues indicate bigger permanent issues such as Autism. While other issues could just mean that he will need some occupational or speech therapy.

Being a parent can be hard. As parents, we know when and when not to be concerned. The list below touches on 15 of the most commonly addressed issues regarding babies' health. It is always best to talk to your pediatrician to and discuss any concerns.

20 No Interest In Toys


Play-time is more important than many people realize. Babies do not need fancy expensive toys to play with. Babies can play with age-appropriate toys bought from the store, or even play with items found around the house such as the strainer from the kitchen and a wooden spoon. Believe it or not, playing with toys can help improve your baby’s concentration, social development, memory, attention span, muscle strength, mathematical thinking, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination. If baby stares off into space, seems uninterested, or makes no attempt when it comes to playing, it could be a cause for concern. By playing, babies learn how the world works around them and learns cause and effect. Babies will start having interest in objects and playing from an early age. However, if he has not shown any interest in objects or toys by 9-12 months old, it is an indicator that baby may be behind.

RELATED: More Signs Your Baby May Be Behind In Motor Skills 

19  Not Reaching For Objects

baby reaching to be held

Your baby should be reaching for mom, a toy, a sibling, or the cat between months 3 and 5 months. If by 6 months, you have tried everything you can (giving several different options) and you still cannot get baby to reach, it may be a cause for concern. The development follows a pattern that builds on skills your baby has previously gained. Reaching is another very important milestone that should be watched closely. If the baby is not reaching for objects, she may need encouragement or extra help in order to help her reach these milestones. This may be a sign regarding a physical disability or a visual problem. Your baby can also have a fine motor delay. This is an issue that should not be ignored for too long. Babies who are developing normally will practice this hand-eye coordination on their own by taking interest in the world around them.

RELATED: What Babies See: 12-Month Transformation In Photos

18 Not Using The Pincer Grasp

The pincer grasp occurs around the time your little love is seven or eight months old. Typically, this is usually a very exciting milestone for parents, as well as baby. The pincer grasp is when babies use all their little precious fingers and their thumbs to pick up a toy, a spoon, or any object placed near them. Several months later, they will improve this skill. If he is not using the pincer grasp by his first birthday, it is time to get him evaluated to assess his fine motor skills. If the baby is not mastering this skill, it is crucial to address it at the next checkup. The baby may not be attempting to practice this skill or not getting it down while attempting- but either way, there could be a reason behind it.

17 How To Help: Talk To Baby All Day Long


It may seem pointless to talk to a baby since they don’t respond- but we promise you, they are listening. Talk to him during bath time, diaper changes and while making dinner, or even doing laundry. Parents who talk to their little ones a lot, use many different sounds and words. When a baby hears more words, it can help improve their understanding of language. Reading out loud to a baby is also very important, as it is an important form of stimulation and helps him build memory, listening, and vocabulary skills. Mom and dad can also sing songs and rhymes, name toys and objects around the room, and respond to her cute babbling. It may look like mom is talking to herself, but a baby is listening, learning and her brain is growing with each word.

16  Not Laughing

Every parent looks forward to hearing their baby's first laugh. This is a milestone that is fun for everyone involved. If she is not laughing out loud by four months old, but she is still trying to communicate through smiling or babbling- she is most likely fine. However, if she is not responding to you at all, it could indicate a hearing problem or a developmental delay that will need to be addressed. Failure to laugh by one-year-old can be an early sign of autism. Laughing is one of the first (and the most exciting) steps to socialization and communication. Making funny faces, playing peek-a-boo, tickling, or giving raspberries, are usually an excellent way to get baby to laugh, at some point, in her first year.

15 Lack Of Head Control

A baby should be able to hold his head up when he is a month old. His neck and head muscles should be strong and steady by month 6. If a baby is not supporting his head by 6 months old, this could mean he may have a developmental setback. This issue can indicate a physical development delay and it is important to bring this issue up to the pediatrician. Head control is a milestone that is very important. Babies develop skills differently. However, if by 6 months, baby still has the same head control as when he was 3 months old, it may be best to request an appointment with a trusted pediatrician. The pediatrician may suggest tummy time and even yoga. This is a milestone that should not be ignored.

14 Isn't Responding To Name

Babies usually start responding to their name by the time they're 7 months old. If a baby does not respond to his name by the time he is 9 months old, there is a chance he may be experiencing a developmental delay. When hearing his name, a baby should turn his head towards you, smile or even wave. If the baby does not do this by month 9, it could be an indicator of a social delay. This is not an issue that should be looked at lightly. This could be an indicator of an autism spectrum, as children with social delays often do not respond to their name being called. By the time a baby is 7 months old, he should be very aware of his name coming from mom or dad.

13 Here's How To Help: Schedule Play Dates


Scheduling play dates can be a good way to help a baby's develop. Play dates help a baby experiences how to share, interact and learn with others, and also builds social skills. During a play date, the baby will learn to play with others. Play dates help give opportunity for parallel play, which is a very important step in peer relationships. Babies start playing side by side between the 6-12-month old. Separation anxiety is a big issue for many little ones's and arranging play dates can help show them that meeting new people is not scary. Babies watch one another and will copy and model certain behaviors. If a parent may be worried about a baby's social anxiety, a play date will definitely help them.

12 No Interest In Playing Games With Dad And Mom

If the baby shows no interest in engaging with his dad or mom, this could be a big red flag. If by 9 months, the baby does not show interest or engagement in peek-a-boo or finding hidden objects, this may be a cause for concern. Most babies love dropping their spoon from the high chair and having mom pick it up over and over. These games may seem simple, but they are a huge part of indicating your child’s development and a way to communicate with his mommy or daddy. If the baby does not imitate vocalizations or large motor movements by one year, this it may also be an issue. It is okay for a baby to not want to play every time mom or dad initiates it. But, if a baby is not interacting with mom and dad by 9-12 months, he could be behind socially.

11 Still Has The Moro Reflex

The Moro reflex is a primitive reflex that is present after birth and gradually decreases and, eventually, goes away between the time he is 4-6 months old. The purpose of this reflex is to provide a baby with an internal alarm system to protect herself from danger. As this reflex starts to go away, the normal startle reflex that you and I have will start to form. If this reflex is still present after the baby turns 6 months, it becomes an uncontrolled overreaction that can be a cause for concern. This creates a physical environment for him that makes certain senses heightened, which makes it more difficult for a baby to cope with everyday issues. If he still has this reflex after his 6-month birthday, it can mean trouble in the future. A baby may have a harder time with dealing with touch, sound, balance, and even emotions in her future.

10 Not Babbling


Babbling may be cute, but it is also a key predictor of a baby' social, emotional and cognitive development. Babies start off with cooing, and eventually, it will turn into babbling. Babies start to babble between 4-6 months. A parent should be able to hear her sweetie combining vowels and constants (such as yaya, baba, or dada) The consonants in his babble, is the baby's way of practicing shaping different sounds by learning to maneuver his tongue and mouth. Although this babbling may sound like nothing special, a baby is doing a whole lot of practice to perfect it. This is a milestone that is crucial. If a baby does not start babbling by her first birthday, it is time to bring up this issue. This can be a big warning sign that the baby may be behind. It is also a big red flag if baby suddenly stops babbling for good.

9 Here's How To Help: Spend Tons Of Time With Baby

It is very important to spend as much time with a baby as possible. Parents are a baby's role model and will learn their entire life through them. While the baby is awake, it is helpful to give him undivided attention, and the phone down! We understand things need to get done while she is awake, but it is a good idea to do as much as you can when she is asleep or when she is with the other parent. Giving her lots of love can help meet her emotional needs, while physical contact can help her learn how to be playful and sociable. Also, it is important to show her consistency, as it will help her learn to expect her mother or father will respond to her. A baby needs attention and love. She needs her parents to model behaviors so she can also learn.

8 Not Speaking

Believe it or not, babbling, cooing, and gestures are all milestones when it comes to speech. Most kids start talking around 12 months, while some do not say their first word until 15-18 months. If she is not saying anything by 18 months old, it is time to discuss this issue with a pediatrician. We know kids do things at his or her own rate, but speech and communication is a huge milestone that has a certain window in which it needs to be met. The baby could be behind developmentally, for a variety of reasons, if she is not speaking. This could be an indicator of a hearing problem or even a developmental delay. Even if baby coo’s and babbles all day long, it is still crucial to hear those first words.

7 Lacking Eye Contact

Eye contact is probably one of the first milestones a parent will notice from a baby. From the day she is born, mom and dad have probably spent a lot of time staring into those beautiful eyes. A baby should be making eye contact between 6-8 weeks old. He should be following mom or dad with her eyes, and making eye contact with her parents. Babies will also start looking at objects that are presented in front of them. There is a chance that if the baby is not making eye contact, that she may have a vision issue. There is also the chance that she has an attachment or behavioral issue. A baby may be behind if she is lacking eye contact and it could mean more serious issues in the future.

6 No Interest In Imitating

The ability to mirror, practice, and repeat the actions of mom, dad, and grandpa is a big deal. At around 8 months, a baby should be imitating simple expressions and actions of others. This can include sticking out her tongue, playing peek-a-boo, and clapping her hands. This behavior can occur before a baby turns 8 months, as well. A baby may copy the intonation of mom and dad's speech when babbling, while you are playing with him. If the baby is delayed in regards to mimicking, this could be a red flag for a delay. A baby is most likely behind if she is not trying to mimic mom and dad by around month 8. A baby will learn by imitating her mom and dad, and she is always watching! Believe it or not, imitation is the cornerstone of language development.

5 Here's How To Help: Be Honest With The Doc

Sometimes, when a baby seems to be behind, it can make mom and dad feel like they did something wrong. As a parent, the best thing to do is to speak up and tell his pediatrician about any concern. Being honest with the pediatrician is the best way to face any issues head-on, and try to rectify them. It is also crucial to keep up with the pediatrician appointments. It may not seem like a big deal to miss an appointment or two, in a row, but this can be a big deal. The earlier a problem is caught, the better the outcome will be. Needless to say, it is best to not miss appointments. Some issues cannot be fixed completely, but it is still important to let the doc know what is going on with the baby.

4 No Smiles For Mom And Dad

A baby's reflex smile will be replaced by genuine smiles between the time he is 2-3 months old. He should be smiling at mom when she walks in the door from work. And, he should be showing his gummies when dad is smiling and playing with him. If a parent does not notice smiling by 3 months, it is crucial to bring this up to the pediatrician. This could be a sign of an eye problem and it could also be a sign of an attachment disorder. The baby might be behind if he is not smiling by 3 months, and it is important to make this issue known to the doctor. Pediatricians rarely ignore the signs of a baby who does not smile. When a baby smiles at his mom, it is a sign that several different parts of his brain are maturing. However, if he does not smile, it could be a sign something is wrong.

3 Behind On Moving

There is a timeline as to what is “normal” for babies to roll over, crawl and walk. If a baby has not mastered rolling over by the time he is 6-7 months old, that can be a big sign that he is behind. This can be very concerning as rolling over is a very big milestone that doctors deem important. When it comes to crawling, some babies skip over crawling completely and begin standing or walking. If a baby has not mastered some type of mobility by her first birthday, this can be a big red flag. Most babies learn to crawl between the time they are 7-10 months old. Walking occurs between 9-16 months. Studies show that half of all babies are walking by their first birthday. We know babies do things at different rates, but if a baby is behind on mobility, this can be a big cause for concern.

However, before you panic, there may be a normal reason why your baby is not crawling yet.

2 Lack Of Gestures

A baby will start gesturing around her first birthday. She may motion her arms wide open when she is all done her fruit, or point to her favorite toy across the room. Gesturing is a great sign that a baby knows what she is thinking and is aware that she can communicate that to her parents as well. This usually will go hand in hand with those first words. If a baby is not gesturing by her 1-year appointment, it is time to speak up the doc. This could indicate a developmental delay. From the day they are born, babies try to communicate their needs through crying and cooing, As months go by, they will learn more ways to communicate. Gesturing is a milestone that is often fun for parents, as well as the baby, once she gets it down.

1 Here's How To Help: Practice, Practice Practice

They say practice makes perfect. So if a little one seems behind in an area, it is best to practice. Some things cannot be fixed with practice, but they can improve. For example, if a baby is not playing with toys yet- practice! Put the toy in her hand, show her how to work it, and continue to work on it. It may seem tedious, but it is important for her to practice skills, and master them. It is best to work on skills every day that she may be struggling with. If a child has a diagnosed delay, they may never be able to overcome certain issues. However, it does not hurt to continue practicing. In order to fix some of the issues listed above, practicing and working on the delay at hand can be crucial for improvement.

Sources: Parents.com

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