ADHD in Children: Birth Through 12 Months

By Eileen Bailey

ADHD doesn’t suddenly develop when a child reaches school age, but instead, most research shows a high correlation between genetics and ADHD. We must assume, therefore, that a child with ADHD was born with Attention Deficit Disorder.


Most children, however, are not diagnosed with ADHD until past the age of 6 (although younger children can be diagnosed), once they reach school age and there are demands to pay attention and complete tasks. Even so, some parents of a child with ADHD have noticed differences in their child from birth. 


According to ADDResources, some of the signs are:

  • More squirmy
  • Less able to cuddle
  • More impatient
  • More easily frustrated
  • Require more attention
  • Have more colic
  • Have a more difficult temperament

 It is important to remember that babies with some or all of these signs do not necessarily have ADHD. Many children are fussier and require a great deal of attention but show no signs of ADHD in later years. Additionally, many children that are later diagnosed with ADHD do not have any problems early in life.


In previous support groups for parents, some also indicated their children, later diagnosed with ADHD, slept less or took only short catnaps in comparison to children that were not diagnosed with ADHD.


Newborns and babies cannot be diagnosed with ADHD. They are not capable of the behaviors listed in the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual). This manual lists the symptoms of ADHD, such as impulsiveness or forgetfulness, which doctors use to diagnose ADHD.


If your baby seems extremely fussy or cries often and for long periods, contact your pediatrician to determine if there are any medical reasons or problems that could be causing your baby pain.


Some common medical reasons for colic, or crying for extended periods) are:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux (GER)
  • Food sensitivities
  • Cow milk sensitivity (this can occur in breastfed babies when the mother ingests cow milk)
  • Sensitivities or allergic reactions to formula

Parents can begin by eliminating foods to determine if the fussiness is being caused by a sensitivity or allergy to certain foods.

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