Why you shouldn’t compare your baby to others

compare popple

1. Your baby probably isn’t the cutest baby ever.

Sorry, but it’s true. You know when you’re at baby groups and you look around the room and think, “Wow, how come all these other babies are so weird-looking when mine is freaking beautiful?” The other mums are thinking the same thing about YOUR BABY.

Your baby is probably cute. Most babies are. That doesn’t make them objectively the most adorable little person in existence. If you happen to have a weird-looking baby you’ll never know it, because no one will ever tell you that they’re weird-looking too your face, and when you look at them, all you’ll see is squishy baby loveliness.

2. Your baby probably isn’t a genius, either.

We’ve all done it – watched our baby do something mundane and taken it as a sign that they’re smarter than all the other babies around. I remember changing the Popple when she was only a few weeks old and noticing that she lifted up her legs when I opened her nappy.

“She’s realised that I lift up her legs to wipe her butt, so she’s doing it for me. I’M RAISING A BABY EINSTEIN,” I said to myself.

The Popple may indeed be of above-average intelligence (her father has a PhD, after all, so there’s hope), but she’s probably not a genius. And that’s fine. What’s important is that she’s happy and healthy and a nice person.

3. Not every baby is sleeping through the night.

If you’re the parent of a sleepless baby, it may seem like every other baby is sleeping well but yours. Mums at your baby groups will tell you that their wee ones started sleeping through the night at 8 weeks – actually, they’re concerned that they might be sleeping a bit TOO much, and you’ll want to claw your exhausted, puffy eyes out.

But you’re not alone, I promise. There is a healthy contingent of sleep-deprived parents out there, frantically Googling “why won’t my baby sleep?” on their phones at 4am and knocking back pints of coffee just to get through the day.

I have been that parent. Some days I still am. I’m with you, buddy.

4. Babies reach milestones at their own pace.

There are general guidelines about when a baby will roll over, sit up on their own, say their first word, etc. That doesn’t mean that you need to panic if your baby doesn’t hit a milestone exactly when you’d expect them to.

There will always be that friend whose baby seems to be way ahead of yours. She will be speaking in full sentences before yours utters a single coherent word. She’ll have a full set of teeth while yours is still sporting a gummy grin. You won’t want to admit it to yourself, but you’ll kind of resent this baby. You’ll be waiting for her to f*** up because you want your baby to be the best, and right now, she’s not.

There are times where a delayed milestone may be cause for concern, but usually it’s because your baby just can’t be a**ed doing it yet. Babies do things at their own pace. The Popple started trying to walk really early and her walking skills always impress people, mostly because she’s so small that they think she’s 5-6 months old and is therefore some sort of super baby. They’re probably comparing their less-mobile offspring to mine and feeling bad about it. But what they don’t know is that the Popple has never crawled. She’s never even attempted to. She also can’t pull herself up to standing like most babies her age.

I see crawling babies and think they’re amazing. I think the Popple would be so much happier if she could crawl, because then she could move around without my help.

I’ve tried to get her to do it. “Crawling is fun!” I say brightly, putting her on her tummy.

She kicks her legs and wails. I pull her up onto her feet and she’s off, ready to tackle the world her own way.

29 Comment

  1. Very wise words. It’s so easy to get caught up in the whole milestone contest at playgroups. I’m sure that one day they will issue badges for milestones achieved so that tots can crawl around displaying their achievements proudly (passed the sobbing mother who’s badgeless offspring is laid trying to eat his own foot – probably me! 😉 ) I worried incessantly about my eldest speech as she was quite a late talker. She got there in the end though and soon caught up. My youngest is the same way and just makes noises whilst one of his friends is practically spouting poetry. I’m a bit more chilled out this time though. I know he understands everything and I know he’ll do it when he’s ready.

    Great post x
    #justanotherlinky

    1. It’s so hard to remind yourself that babies will do things in their own time when you see other babies doing them first. This lack of crawling thing has really bothered me, but I just have to figure that she’s not interested in doing it (at least not yet), so I just need to let her develop at her own pace.

  2. twotinyhands says: Reply

    It still doesn’t stop you though does it! You just have to remind yourself of this every now and then. The Milestones is the hardest to take though as I’ve got a non crawler, people keep asking is he yet, I have to answer he really wants too! Lol!

    1. I’m with you – it’s hard to have a non-crawler!

  3. Such wise words, especially that your baby isn’t the cuter. When I had oldest I was convinced that she was but now I look back at photos and I realise that this really wasn’t the case!! 🙂

    1. I kind of hate it when I see a really cute baby, because I have to stop and think, “Wait…is that baby actually cuter than mine?”

  4. Very wise indeed – it’s so difficult in those early days to remember that every baby is different and it’s best not to compare. My baby didn’t roll over until about 8 months and I was really worried about it, but now at 11 months, she’s crawling everywhere and has certainly caught up! Great post x #marvmondays

    1. They do catch up eventually, don’t they? The Popple learned how to roll over and then once she’d mastered that skill, she just stopped doing it and never really rolls now. I used to worry about that too, but now I figure she’ll do it again if she needs to.

      1. Oh totally the same with Emma – once in a music class, at the end when the do the quiet lullaby – she decided just to roll continuously. Now she hardly ever rolls! I had forgotten about that til just now. I think you’re right, it must be the development stages and once they move to the next stage, they don’t really feel the need to do it anymore.

  5. I love this so much. It’s so true. We’re in the potty training age range (range being a wide and movable thing!) and I get little flutters sometimes of comparison nerves as his peers totter off to the toilet in ever increasing droves BUT I have definitely learnt over the two and a half years that my child will do things in his own time, just like every other child. He’s not ready…he can’t tell when he needs a wee yet…he will be able to one day and that’s just fine! Thanks for sharing this #marvmondays

    1. Oh God – potty training! It feels like a long way off, but I can only imagine what anxiety that will bring.

  6. So agree with this. I often think other kids aren’t that cute and then I remember Mother Nature is a clever old girl! Milestones can be the bane of your life! Worrying that yours hasn’t kept up with others but you soon find out they have done something else another hasn’t!! Xx #marvmondays

  7. This is so true. I hold my hand up to being that mum at baby group who’s wondering why all the other babies are so fat/thin/small/big/weird-looking when my baby is just the most perfect bundle of cuteness that ever crawled the earth. And that was definitely me wondering why your baby was walking around at a pre-naturally young age. Now we are at the stage where I am tearing my hair out that other people’s children appear to be speaking more or less in full sentences and mine can only say one word. #theBabyFormula

    1. Talking is going to be the next big milestone – I’m already trying to get the Popple to say words even though she mostly just goes “Ayayayaydadadada.”

  8. This is lovely and so true. People make me laugh when they get all competitive like ‘is he doing this yet?!’ Or they notice things that I don’t even think about, commenting on his hand-eye coordination and the like! I just let him go at his own pace and try not to focus on what he ‘should’ be doing. I definitely believe he’s very cute though!! But I find most babies cute. #TheBabyFormula

    1. Most babies definitely ARE cute – it has to do with evolution, apparently. Babies’ cuteness means that we want to take care of them, so the species keeps on going. Amazing stuff. 🙂

  9. Ooh I hate competitive parenting. And advice. Think I’m probably guilty of a bit of both though – oops! #TwinklyTuesday

  10. Great post and sums up that all babies are different, and shouldn’t be compared with others at all. I see all different stages of developmental progression among my NCT group some are crawling, some sitting, others are not rolling. The same applies to weaning too, all babies will eat food at their own pace. I say don’t worry what other babies are doing, they will get there eventually. Claire x #MarvMondays

    1. Agreed! I take the Popple to a class for 7-13 month olds, and you see all stages of development there. She’s always trying to steal toys from the bigger and more developed kids – I think she thinks she’s more advanced than she is!

  11. so funny and so well pit – though you obviously haven’t met my children!!! joking aside – I love this post. I’ve always been really laid back wth my 3 as I knew they would eventually start talking, they wouldn’t be in nappies at 10, they wouldn’t still be crawling at 5 (well my son did take 18 months but hey ho!) and well surely they will be sleeping in their own bed by the time their 11! A great post #twinklytuesday

    1. I keep trying to remind myself that the Popple will figure things out in her own time, especially when it comes to sleep. She’s not going to be 10 and still waking up every few hours, right? RIGHT?

  12. we’re terrible aren’t we?! It’s not like we are even projecting this pressure onto our babies… we are in fact putting pressure on OURSELVES to have the BEST babies!! Great post lovely

    #tribesters & #marvmondays

    1. True – we need to be a bit kinder to ourselves and relax a bit when it comes to our babies. They’ll be awesome no matter what. 🙂

  13. I completely agree with you. Every baby and child will develop and achieve milestones at their own pace and when they are ready to. The problem is that we always want our little ones to be best at everything! Shame on us!!!

    #Twinklytuesday and a fellow #tribester x

    1. I definitely want the Popple to be the best at everything even though I know that’s ridiculous – as parents, we can help it!

  14. Comparison is evil in the majority of situations! I do always look at other babies and think ‘do people think my adorable baby is ugly?’ haha. It’s a funny one, isn’t it? Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo

  15. High five to this! They and we as parents are all different. We need to concentrate on our lives and not others. Thanks for linking up to #justanotherlinky xx

  16. newmummyblogcom says: Reply

    Oh I so understand why we compare, and I know I shouldn’t… but it’s just instinct I think. At least that’s what I tell myself lol But, yes, every baby and every mummy for that matter is different, they”l all get there in the end, but each concentrates on different things at different times.
    Thanks for linking up #TheBabyFormula

Leave a Reply