13 Month Boy with Possibly Delays?!

Updated on January 13, 2011
J.T. asks from Statesville, NC
23 answers

Hello to my fellow moms,

I need some help and advice. I have a wonderful and amazing baby boy who just turned 13 months On Jan 1, but what is worrying me is his inability to talk or do certain things that I think he's supposed to do by now. He has been crawling for awhile now and cruising. He will walk with the help of my fingers/hands. He says "da-da", babbles, screams, etc but doesn't say "ma-ma" at all or any other words. Let me also say that he doesn't have any brothers or sisters and has not been around children or babies since he was born. The Dr. doesnt seem as concerned. I know that by 15 months is the average age to start walking by himself. He plays very well by himself, loves animals, loves people, and is an all around happy baby. Am I wrong for assuming he has developmental delays? I need help because if there is something wrong, I want to seek help for him. Please help if you can! Oh and I'm also a first time mom. My son means the world to me. Thanks to everyone who responds. Your answers are much appreciated! :)

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answers from Nashville on

Give him more time, all children do things at different ages and if the doc says he is fine then trust him. If at two yrs old he can't walk ,etc then I would worry.



answers from Memphis on

Sounds fairly normal to me. My older son was pulling up and "cruising" since he was 7 m/o, and I thought he'd be an early walker, but instead he didn't walk until he was fully 13 m/o. [He took one step when he was about 11 m/o, promptly fell down, and I think decided it was ridiculous to try to walk and then fall, when he could crawl so well!] And, he didn't say "mama" or talk much either. Now he's a big talker and says "mommy" so much it drives me nuts.

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answers from New York on

I like the book What to Expect the Toddler Years. it tells what the average child does each month and what is within the range of normal and what should be a concern.
not walking or talking sounds very normal for 13 months. Can he pick up toys and throw them and drop them? can he pick up some finger foods and put them in his mouth? does he point with his pointer finger? Does he respond to your voice?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

No, your son is perfect! My kids didn't say Mama until they were about 15 months old, but by 18 months old were saying two word phrases, and by two years old were talking in sentences... like 7 word sentences! If you were to take him to a physical therapist about the walking they would tell you they won't even consider him for therapy until he is 18 months and not walking. The "normal range" for learning to walk is 9-18 months, that is a HUGE age range; and if he is cruising and crawling, then walking is just around the corner, I promise! If you want to excercise his little "talking" muscles then play noise games with him; blow rasberries, sing "lalalala, bababa, mamama, dododo, sososo..." and see if he'll repeat, let him suck on his fingers when he is eating, and use his own spoon (this helps them really makes sense of what is going on in their mouths), have him drink from a straw not a sippy (this may take a couple months for him to figure out). Play play play! Go for walks with him on your hip so he can follow your finger and gaze when you point and talk to him about what he sees. Read simple books before bed (or any time) and let him REALLY explore the book (pointing to pictures, looking at one page for two whole minutes and then closing the book, carrying the book instead of "reading" it). Just be with him and let him soak it all in - he sounds like he is right on target and there is NOTHING to worry about. There really seems to be too much information out there about what and when is normal, but usually that information is too restricted - I've worked with a lot of toddlers and I will tell you that when there is a true delay, it's pretty obvious.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

My nephew was 1 on Dec. 3--so he's basically the same age. He does not walk independently and only babbles. I think your son is developing appropriately--cruising, crawling, babbling.

My oldest (now 5) did not say much when he was 18 months. He was fine in every other area except speech. His ped suggested we have his hearing checked. I did not think there was a problem because he would "listen"--he would respond when I called his name, go get things I asked for, etc. Sure enough, he has complete fluid blockage in 1 ear and 50% in the other. The ENT said he couldn't hear much and what he did hear it was like having his head underwater. So, they put in tubes and we started speech (free in all states for kids under 3). Now at 5 he won't shut up--ha, ha.

The doctor was amazed that he had not had one ear infection. Usually, kids with that much fluid have tons of ear infections and that's how the doctors know to do tubes. But, my son was and only child (at the time) and home all day with me, so had very little exposure to other children.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Sounds like he is right on track to me momma. My oldest didnt walk until 16 months and was only saying a few words at 13 months. If he is babbling and making noise I wouldnt worry about his speech yet. Just relax and enjoy your last few months of non running boy, he will give you a run for your money soon.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Memphis on

I don't think you have anything to worry about. He sounds like he's a very happy, content baby. My 23yo son did not even put together a 2 word sentence till the month before he turned 3!! He would say the basic, mama, dada, dink, etc. but not so much as a sentence. The doctors weren't concerned as testing for hearing problems is difficult at that age. They said if he's not put together a simple sentence by 3, we'll explore. Well he did and then went on from there quickly. He did need some speech therapy following a head injury, he would put his tongue between his teeth to say S's so they came out like eth's and his R's sounded like he was from Boston (no offense Boston). But that went away with some therapy.

So I think he's fine!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Deep breath! You are doing great! My daughter didn't walk on her own until 14 months and also talked very late. Now she is a very bossy, opinionated, SMART and active 4 1/2 year old! I worried a lot more with my first too- I think we all do, it's part of being a Mom. I say if the doctor is not worried then you shouldn't be either- if you don't trust that your pediatrician knows what he/she is talking about then you need to look for another one. I say that seriously- if you have concerns and you don't feel like your Pedi takes you seriously and takes the time to answer your questions then you should look for a new one- this will be a long relationship and an important one. But to me, it sounds like your son is doing great!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Well first thank goodness your son has an involved parent who loves him :)

everyone will tell you children develop at their own rate, I didnt start walking till I was almost 18months! :) but i walk fine now :)

He sounds right on track! If you'd like to encourage his vocabulary talk to him alot! and about everything! Tell him what your doing, ask him questions and give him time to respond. Even if he doesn't babble back at you, your teaching him how conversations work. I thought my son was going to be a late talker but we just kept on talking to him and then almost over night he just started saying all kinds of words! When he was 15 months we had to put him daycare, and his vocabulary did shoot thru the roof! he was the youngest in his class and was with kids up to 3yrs. So I think it encouraged him.

Keep up the good work mom!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I was a complete mental case with my first born son! I had him diagnosed with everything. I was in constant fear that there was something wrong with him. I should preface with the fact that before he was born I was a mental health therapist. So, I was constantly second guessing everything he did or didn't do. Now, fast-forward, he is now an extremely bright 6 year old, reading on a second grade level, tons of friends, just an all around awesome kid. And I have another son who is 3 that I have rarely had a worry about. Being a new mom is scary. Your little boy is probably fine. Relax and enjoy him. Too soon he will be talking so much and running around your house and you will miss the days of peace and quiet!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

Nothing to worry about. Let him develop at his own pace for now. You'll be surprised how fast he'll go to walking, then running and jumping, and the baby talk will be a full vocabulary before you know it. With the first, it's hard not to sit there and check off the milestones, only to panic if they don't follow the exact route in the baby books and magazines. Speaking from experience, when the focus is on pushing them to the next milestone, it is very easy to lose the enjoyment of the stage they are in now due to concern over where they "should" be.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

have thedoctor check his ears for infection or fluid. but most likely he is fine. only reason I say check his ears is the screaming. my son does that and he is hard of hearing. I am talking about screaming so he can hear himself. not just screaming to be screaming. babbleing is the first form of language and it wouldnt hurt to call eci to ease your mind. but remeber mama is a hard word for them to say. he actually to me sounds pretty normal but eci can put your mind at ease it is based on income mine is free and it is through the school system. so call your local school and ask for him to be evaluated. niether of mine walked till 14 months. but he sounds happy and healthy to me. being a first time mom dont be afraid to ask. even second time moms have to ask from time to time. and 3rd time moms etc. its a learning experience and most first time moms dont know what to expect and are very nervous so that makes you normal along with him. :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

my son, who is now 4, didn't start talking til he was 2. he was able to say da-da and a few other words but not much. we were around other kids all the time on playdates and at storytimes and most of them were talking much better than him but his dr wasn't worried and also my mother in law works in daycare and wasn't worried. once he started talking he didn't stop, and still doesn't LOL so try not to worry and give him a little more time. it will come



answers from Pittsburgh on

I don't see a problem - if you look at the Mayo clinic website it looks like at about a year they usually have da-da and maybe a few more words, by 18 months 8-10 words. DS (currently 5 with the vocabulary of a strong high school student) said his first word (fish) at 13 months. Walking sounds fine also. If you are worried, discuss it with your pediatrician, asking specifically when you should worry.


answers from Williamsport on

My son said no words by 2 1/2 (I mean ya, mama, dada, but not much)!! Way past all the "delay" markers which I ignored because he had great comprehension and many other boys I knew didn't talk until almost 3. He is now almost 3 and speaks VERY well with sophisticated thoughts and phrases. My youngest daughter didn't walk until 14 or 15 months. Don't worry, kids do all different things a different times. It's too soon to worry -he's not late on anything. Your mama's instinct will sense if something is wrong. The fact that he is happy and playing well is a excellent sign.



answers from Memphis on

Sounds right on track developmentally.



answers from Louisville on

hes right on track! keep up the good work momma



answers from Columbus on

He sounds like he is just fine as far as motor skills go, the walking is not even a concern, that is right on target.

The speech may be a little late, he should have a couple of words, but you should not assume that one of them will be mama, that does not mean anything. At the most, he is a month late in having a couple more words than Dada, especially if he is really putting Dada with his dad, then he may just be a little on the late end.

Everything else you are talking about sounds right on and terrific.

If it would ease your mind, call ECI and have an evaluation done. It is free, and they can probably put your mind at rest, if not, you are catching a delay very, very early, and nothing could be better, which ever outcome.




answers from Huntington on

I don't see anything you are saying that sounds concerning.

I have a 13 mo old right now and she just started walking (my son didn't walk until 14 months-he's 7 now and perfectly fine). She babbles - doesn't really talk, but I know she understands more than she says. I am not at all concerned about her and I used to work with developmentally delayed kids, so I fit the profile of someone who could be paranoid!!!

The best thing you can do for you son at this point is not let your anxiety bleed over into him. There will be plenty of milestones to worry about along the way...follow your gut, but keep things in perspective.

Best of luck to you!!



answers from Greensboro on

My son said very little until he was 2. But after that we could not stop him. Like you, I was concerned, but he has grown into a very nice young teenager and oh so smart. All children are different and develop at different rates. I know it is hard to be patient sometimes. Motherhood is one of the toughest jobs. Sometimes we put our children through tests that are not really necessary, if we can just wait a bit. May God bless you and your family.



answers from Jacksonville on

With so many moms out there bragging about how their children do things like walk and talk earlier than others, it can be easy to think that your child is behind when he is actually right on track. Think about it this way....if 15 months is the average age that most children are walking by, it means that there are still a lot of children that are not walking by then.
And while the talking sounds pretty normal to me, he might be saying things that you can't understand yet. For the longest time, my oldest son would say something like "ta-tu" when I would give him something and I finally realized that he was saying "thank-you."
Everything you said sounds pretty normal to me. Hope that helps.


answers from Chicago on

My 3 yo son didn't start walking till he was 15 months and he's a little monkey now. However, I always worried about his speech. He didn't babble and only said one word at 12 mos - dog; about 3 words when he was 18 mos. Pediatrician wasn't worried but I knew something wasn't right. I got a lot of advice to wait, boys are slow, etc. but instead I called Early Intervention in my state and had a evaluation done. He has mild Developmental Delays and qualified for Speech and Occupational Therapies. He had them for a year, is now in Pre-School and is doing very well. Your son may be fine but experts say that if your child is under 3 years old and you have serious concerns about his speech delay, run don't walk to Early Intervention Services. A 6 month wait is a long time in his life developmentally. Follow your instincts because a parent's gut feeling often proves to be right. Good luck.



answers from Bismarck on

I'm answering from my own situations with my son (only child) who is 21 months old. My son has always hit the most of the milestones a bit behind the "scheduled" time except he started walking just before he turned 13 months old. I've had many days when I just worry about him and if he has any delays. I heard about this program that runs in my area that is called "Birth to 3 Connections". A lady came out to our house and did a screening on him to see where he was at with things. His first screening was when he turned a year and she said everything was fine. He was a bit delayed in area's but still in the "normal" range. Since then he has had a few other screenings (they come back at 15 months and again at 20 months). We had them come back again at 21 months (a few weeks ago) because although at his 18 month check up he was saying the amount of words they wanted him to be saying now at 21 months he had lost those words and was only saying a few. All this to say, we went through a few more screenings in the past few weeks and he will begin speech therapy soon. I tell you this not to make you worry but just to let you know that it is not abnormal for a child to not being saying a bunch of words at 13 months. Every child is different and every child progresses at their own time. Our son, like yours is an only child and rarely around other children (we farm and live in the middle of nowhere). I try as much as I can to soak up any attempts I do have to get him around other children. Not only does he love it but I believe it is good for him. I pray all goes well for you and your son. If you are really worried I would just look for something like the "Birth to 3 Connections" and see if there is one in your area. It's free for us and so will his speech therapy because it is all done through the county.

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