Reader Q & A: Developmental Leaps and Slow-downs

A recent question from a very observant mommy: My 6 month old baby seems to "talk" less when she's working on another motor milestone - is this normal? 

baby babble less new motor skill

Answer: Absolutely. Being a baby is a busy little job! There are so many gross motor, fine motor, sensory, language, cognitive and emotional milestones to achieve in the first year alone! It's no wonder that development tends to surge in different areas often at different times.

Whether you call it Touchpoints, Wonder Weeks or growth spurts, infant development is widely observed and accepted to occur at an irregular pace, rather than at a steady rate. You may notice that your baby becomes temporarily hyper-focused on practicing a new skill as other skills temporarily fall by the wayside. Some reflexes and skills actually need to disappear to allow new ones to progress. In fact, it's not uncommon to see very small regressions in some areas while working on other big milestones. Sleep and feeding changes are also common during big developmental leaps.

As an OT, I've sat in many team meetings when the speech therapist reports huge gains and goal achievement while the PT and OT reported little. Then the next meeting, the speech therapist would have little to report while I cheerfully rambled on and on about all the fine motor development I was seeing.  As a mommy, I've seen the 3 C's: clinginess, crankiness and crying (as described in the book The Wonder Weeks) as well as sleep regression with every major motor milestone so far. 

And keep your questions coming! 

As always, if you're concerned about your child's development, consult your child's pediatrician. 

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