Hi Is This Normal,

Is it normal that I worry so much about my baby meeting all the CDC milestones? Is it me or are all the other kids super advanced? Why does my neighbor’s son walk at eight months but my daughter hasn’t crawled yet?
 
Milestone Maker
 

Dear Milestone Maker,

It’s TOTALLY normal to compare your kid’s milestone markers to other babies. It’s human nature to compare our kids to other kids to see how ours are matching up!  We compare ourselves to others in so many aspects of our lives—career, appearance, finances—and measure our babies by the same standards. So, yes, it’s 100% normal to worry that your baby isn’t doing all the same stuff on the same timeline as her baby peers. The thing is, comparing your baby to someone else’s baby is like comparing apples to sushi. No two babies are alike—not even identical twins! This was never more evident to me than when I had my second daughter. I remember thinking, “Two girls, cool! I’ve done this before, second time around is going to be caaaaaake.” And my children literally could not have been more different if they’d tried. It was like I’d gone back to Parenting 101, except I was cockier so the failures and letdowns stung way more. Every time the baby did something later than her sister, I worried about her. Every time she did something earlier, I worried about her sister! Our pediatrician had to sit me down and tell me to stop worrying, because despite being born of the same parents and nurtured in the same household, my kids were their own separate beings, independent of one another. They’re 9 and 5 now, and I’m still learning this lesson, ha ha.

Now, I’m going to level with you: not all those other kids are super advanced. I’d wager a guess that most of them are just totally normal, developing babies. Because guess what? Parents don’t brag about the normal, ordinary stuff their kids do. That’s not going to win them any accolades at Tiny Gym. They brag about the one-off stuff, the seemingly extraordinary stuff that they can use to set their kids apart from the herd. And you know what else? They exaggerate about milestones … a lot. I’m sure you’ve done this, too. An excited, first-time mom can jump the gun and hear “MAMA” when really, all her 5-month-old was trying to do was poop. You really have to take every brag and boast from parents with a grain of salt, just keep that in mind.

But you may have very valid concerns about your little one’s developments, and I don’t want to downplay that at all! There’s nothing worse than having a genuine concern dismissed. If you need some reassurance, schedule a sit down with your pediatrician. The CDC milestone guidelines are just that: guidelines. They are not requirements, and they are not set in stone. Some kids sit up before they roll over. Others walk without crawling first (seriously). Every baby is different! I know the whole development-thing is an anxiety swamp full of murky what ifs to get bogged down by, but unless your pediatrician seems worried, I want to gently encourage you to not focus so much on the guidelines or what other babies are doing before yours. She’s working on her own timeline, which is exactly right for her. And don’t worry that your eight-month-old isn’t walking. Once she starts it’s a whole new (incredibly stressful) ballgame.

Doing Things On Her Own Time, And That’s Just Fine.

Is This Normal

 

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