Comparisons and Questioning
Parents put so much stock into baby books and websites telling them when their baby should be hitting developmental milestones. With my first, I was definitely guilty of this too. We compare our child to other children their age. We compare them to friends, cousins and babies from the internet. Everywhere you look there is more information about “normal” infant development and when your baby should be doing these new and exciting things.
When my daughter was a baby I had all the books, visited all the websites and was on google constantly. “When should my baby be sitting up?” “How old is a baby when they say their first word?” The questions were endless and it seems like a lot of times the answers seemed down to the month or even week! The more I searched for answers, the more I worried. My daughter wasn’t hitting those milestones when she “should” be; not even close. My friends babies were progressing and the endless searching led me to think, is something wrong with my baby? Am I doing something wrong to prevent her from progressing? The answer is no!
Realizing There is No “Normal”
There are a few things that first time parents don’t realize. There really is no normal timeline for your baby’s development. Every child develops at their own pace because they are not robots! They are little people with their own minds, personalities and strengths. Your baby is unique and special (but you knew that).
Sometimes babies are really strong in one area and that puts off learning in other areas for a while. My daughter was always on point with her cognitive milestones. She explored with her hands and voice quickly and enthusiastically. Her physical milestones on the other hand, are what always had me concerned. I remember wondering if she was ever going to roll over. She was always so content to lay in her swing with a toy and would instantly protest when she was placed on the floor on her belly. She sat up, crawled and walked “late”, but eventually she caught up and there is no difference between her and her peers at all. Just make sure you are giving your baby the opportunity to learn and leave the rest up to them.
If you are truly concerned about whether your baby is where he should be physically, cognitively or socially rest assured you can ask his pediatrician about it. When they go to their well baby visits the doctor is already assessing and will let you know if they think your child is getting behind the (very wide) curve.
Infant Milestones: Your Unique Baby
Now that we are on our second baby, I have relaxed a lot. I no longer stress over timelines and exact progression. It’s just not realistic to think your baby will be just like your best friends baby. Even siblings are going to be completely different. My son has sat up and started crawling relatively fast, but he is hardly ever vocal and not nearly as social as my daughter was at his age, and that is totally fine!
I hope this can help you to see a little sooner than I did that milestones are not quite as definitive as they are made out to be. I love how I can already tell how our kids are becoming such unique little people. It’s going to be amazing to see what they grow to be with their own individual strengths and distinct personalities and talents.