I think that as a new mum it's really difficult not to compare not only your progress along the path of parenthood, but also how your baby is doing compared to other children of their age. There's an unspoken pressure to make sure that your baby is keeping up. And with fellow mums, dads and relatives unabashedly sharing when their own little ones hit stages of development, it can be so easy to feel like your baby is falling behind.
When I heard about a campaign to celebrate the launch of the Baby Annabell Learns To Walk doll that aims to bust all those myths you hear about baby milestones I knew I had to share my experiences too. Because if I'm completely honest there are times when I am a bit concerned that Baby Ginger hasn't done certain things - even though I know it's a stage not age thing. When I see other babies of his age reaching milestones Eric hasn't, I do find myself thinking to myself 'Oh, I wish you could do that too'.
This was a big one for me, and one milestone that I definitely compared to others. I thought that by about 4 months or so, babies start to sleep through the night with a little bit of regression expected at 10 months. And when - at about 5 months - Eric started dropping the amount of time he was waking up in the early hours I was so happy. However my nights of a decent amount of kip were not to last. Now, at 8.5 months he has started waking up in the night again, usually at around 3.30am, which means that we frequently make an early morning rendezvous with The Teletubbies and the Tommee Tippee Prep Machine.
When I was born, there was a baby in the next bed who was born with two teeth. So when it comes to Baby Ginger getting his pegs I was pretty much convinced teeth would arrive sooner rather than later - I had heard that by 6 months babies should have at least one tooth. But 6 months came and 6 months went, and even though the signs were there (constant dribbling, rosy cheeks, a sore bottom etc....) there were no gnashers in sight. And there still aren't, nor is there any sign of them cutting any time soon. Which when you're going through the weaning process is incredibly frustrating. Combine that with the fact that I know quite a few fellow babies his age do have one, two or even four teeth now, I can't help but feel a little pang of jealously and just a little bit sad too.
The guidelines for weaning are that you shouldn't start until at least 6 months. Well - when your 5 month old decides on one Sunday morning to lunge at your plate of scrambled eggs, would you really think they can hold out? Ryan and I knew Eric was ready to start on solids early so we just went for it. And now we're 3 months in he absolutely loves mealtimes and has hardly rejected anything he's tried (except avocado - I can't get over that one). Sometimes you just have to go with your gut instinct and make these decisions. After all, nobody knows your baby better than you.
Even though going to baby classes are a lot of fun, it's impossible to avoid making comparisons to other children because it's pretty clear which milestones they have mastered. And when it came to sitting up, I couldn't help feel jealous when I looked at all the babies who could do it on their own. For me, it was a milestone I desperately needed Eric to reach because it would mean we could do so much more. I would Google this one over and over and nearly everywhere I looked, the words '5 months' kept popping up. However, Baby Ginger kept me waiting, and a week before he hit 7 months he finally got it, feeling very happy with himself, and making me one proud mama.
Crawling & Walking
These were the two milestones I was secretly so excited for Eric to hit. Crawling was one that I was keeping my fingers crossed for and I was already aware that the age babies do this could vary drastically. But I had both heard and read that by 12 or 13 months that babies should be walking so constantly had that in my head as the end point. However, forever keeping us on our toes, Eric started commando crawling at about 6 months, shuffling around the floor on his belly at what seemed like the speed of light. Fast forward to the present and he is pulling himself up on his own and cruising around the furniture constantly so it's pretty obvious walking isn't far off.
It can be really difficult not to get caught up in the fact that our babies are or are not hitting milestones at the age we are told they should be. But all little ones are different and achieve things at their own pace and when they are ready to do so. So forget the phrase "should be", shut out the boastings of others and focus on what your baby has done, enjoy each moment and take it all in your stride. This stage in theor lives goes so fast that you don't want to wish the time away and find you've missed out on something special.
*I was very kindly gifted a Baby Annabell Learns To Walk doll for writing this post. This does not affect my opinions. They are always 100% honest and guided by my own personal experiences.