Your child's developmental checks and what you can expect during them
I'm currently in the full throes of bringing my baby for her developmental check-ups.
While they're really straightforward I think as parents we're always prone to worrying. "Will my baby be at the right stage? If they're not what does that mean?"
My advice to you is not to panic. While the check-ups and guides can tell you what to expect, all babies develop in their own time and it doesn't necessarily mean that anything is wrong, so don't worry.
Your baby will have their first check anytime within the first year but it will generally fall around the three-month mark.
Your public health nurse will measure and weigh your baby. They will also check your baby's ability to react to noise, grasp a rattle and follow objects with their eyes. Your baby's hips and legs will be examined to determine if they have hip dysplasia.
I remember being nervous before my daughters first check but in the end, the most stressful part was getting her in and out of her clothes.
Most commonly developmental checks are performed in Ireland at three months, seven months, one year, two years and three years.
At seven months, your nurse will look at your baby's eyesight and hearing, motor development, vocalisation and general growth.
At the later visits, your child's eyes will be examined to detect if they have a squint and their speech and language development will be assessed. Children are generally no longer required to attend check-ups after they turn three unless the doctor finds cause for concern.
These development checks are provided free of charge at your local health centre. The public health nurse will check your baby's development against a series of "norms" for that age group. Your child may be early or late to these stages, but in either case, don't fret. All children are unique and will grow in their own time.
Your health nurse will remind you when your child is due to have a check-up. While these visits are not mandatory they are a great free service and will help you gauge your child's progress. They are also very useful in spotting if your child is having difficulties because the earlier difficulties are noticed the easier it will be for you to help your child overcome them.
For more information on developmental checks contact your local public health nurse or HSE website MyChild.