Moms and dads eagerly await the day their baby shows her first gummy smile, says her first word, and takes her first step among many other exciting milestones. They’re definitely video-worthy moments! But don’t forget to check if these milestones were reached on time as well.
“[Milestones] are signs of normal and healthy development, and when children don’t achieve them in the way we expect, it may be a sign of a problem,” says pediatrician Dr. Claire McCarthy in an article for Harvard Health Publishing.
There are online checklists and printables that list the milestones your child should reach at every age (keep in mind, however, that every child develops at a different pace). But one that Dr. McCarthy recommends is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Milestone Tracker app.
Covering a child’s development from 2 months to 5 years old, this always-on-hand tool was also featured on the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) website where pediatrician Dr. Jennifer M. Zubler said, “Parents who use the app will be more prepared to answer questions from their child’s health care professional and have more effective discussions about their child’s development.”
So what do you get out of having it on your phone? The app has:
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interactive milestone checklists for 2 months through 5 years old (with photos and videos)
an overview of milestones for quick reading
a list of red flags to watch out for at every age
ideas on how to play and interact with your baby (at his current age) to encourage his development
a page that summarizes all the info you’ve input about your child.
There’s also a feature that lets you keep track (and then notifies you) of your baby’s scheduled check-ups. We like that it also provides a space in each appointment slot where you can jot down questions and concerns you want to raise at the doctor’s appointment.
Aside from keeping track of your baby's milestones, it's vital that you follow through with well-baby visits. The pediatrician is your partner at looking out for issues in your child’s social, speech, and motor development.
“Developmental delays can be detected at any age, which is why your pediatrician conducts developmental surveillance at every well-child visit,” Dr. Marcelino Reysio-Cruz III, a developmental pediatrician who holds a clinic at Capitol Medical Center in Quezon City, tells us.
As Dr. McCarthy points out, “When we catch a problem early, we can start helping early, and starting early can make all the difference for the life, and future, of a child.”