Potential Signs of Cerebral Palsy in 3-4-Month-Olds

Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis, Child Development

brown teddy bear holding cardboard sign that reads 3-4 in green type

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a disorder that affects brain development and typically results in movement issues and abnormal muscle tone that can affect a child’s motor and normal developmental skills. CP is often caused by complications during labor and delivery, or circumstances immediately after birth. While it’s possible for a child to receive a CP diagnosis in the first few months after birth, most children are diagnosed one or more years later as developmental milestones are delayed or missed entirely.

Without a proper diagnosis, essential early treatments and therapies may be delayed, which can worsen symptoms later on. It’s important to be aware of the symptoms of cerebral palsy in a 3-month-old and the possible signs of cerebral palsy in 4-month-old babies so you can speak with your child’s pediatrician about any concerns.

Normal Stages of Development for 3-4-Month-Olds

This is a large stage of development for babies, and there are a number of milestones your baby may reach during this time in their life, including:

  • Rolling over
  • Bearing weight on their legs
  • Babbling
  • Responding appropriately to stimuli, both environmental and social
  • Tracking items with their eyes
  • Holding head steady while unsupported
  • Pushing up to elbows when laying on stomach
  • Holding and shaking toys
  • Reaching for objects
  • Crying in different ways to signal different needs
  • Copying movements and facial expressions
  • Starting to army crawl or scoot toward objects they are interested in

Remember that your baby may not exhibit some or all of these developmental milestones in relation to their peers and, sometimes, this does not have to be cause for concern. However, if you feel that your child is abnormally behind, don’t hesitate to mention your concerns to their pediatrician. The doctor is there to perform a more thorough developmental exam to see if there are delays that are profound enough to look into a disability diagnosis.

Potential Signs of CP in 7-8-Month-Olds

Some signs of cerebral palsy in a baby that’s 7 to 8 months of age include:

  • Difficulty controlling their head when you’re picking them up
  • Low muscle tone that presents with stiff or shaky arms or legs
  • Legs that cross or scissor when being picked up
  • Trouble with sucking, feeding, and other oral motor difficulties
  • An arched back when you’re picking them up as if they are pushing away from you

Your child may also fail to make any language sounds, seem restless, not respond to loud noises, dislike being touched, have trouble grasping objects, or not cry when they are upset about something like a dirty diaper, being hungry, or needing to sleep.

These potential signs are not indicative of cerebral palsy, and just because your child may showcase some of these signs does not mean that they actually have a developmental brain injury. These should serve as warning signs that you can communicate the instances to your child’s doctor for further evaluation and potential treatment.

An Important Note about Developmental Milestones

It’s possible that a pediatrician may not screen for developmental milestones in your child for months after birth, usually because at such a young age, it’s normal for children to develop their basic skills at different times. However, up to 80% of all childhood disabilities are diagnosed after a parent has expressed their concern to their child’s doctor.

While the developmental milestones that are in place for your child’s age are only guidelines, it’s important to consider that you know your child best, and how you feel about their progress is not something to take lightly. Keep in mind that children develop at different rates. If your child experiences a delay in reaching milestones or hasn’t developed one or more milestones for this time, it does not automatically mean they have cerebral palsy. Instead, they could be early warning signs that your child’s doctor can look into more.

It’s true that cerebral palsy takes a major emotional and financial toll on families who receive the diagnosis. Unfortunately, many cerebral palsy cases are preventable and usually occur because of mismanagement or misdiagnosis before birth or during labor or delivery. The Cerebral Palsy Family Lawyers at Janet, Janet & Suggs, LLC, have helped more than 30,000 families with their cases, answering their questions, offering support, and helping them decide if they have a case for medical malpractice.



Claire Surles, RN
Reviewed by:
Claire Surles, RN
Registered Nurse

Claire comes to JJS after a 10-year career as a labor and delivery nurse. She dedicated her hospital efforts to advocating for families, providing the safest birthing environment possible as Newborn Admission Nurse at UMMC St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, Maryland. Her passion for helping those who experienced losses at any stage of gestation led to her appointment as Coordinator of the hospital’s ROOTS perinatal loss program. READ FULL BIO

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