“Comparison is the thief of joy” ~ Theodore Roosevelt.
Now this is a famous quote you’ve probably seen circling around social media, and I couldn’t agree with it more.
Since Hugo was a few months old, I’d often have people (strangers) tell me how small he is for his age and compare him to other babies the same age.
Of course I knew he wasn’t small for his age, he’s a breastfed baby and breastfed babies are known to grow slower than those who are bottle fed by either expressed milk or formula as many people don’t know about paced feeding.
Although I knew he wasn’t small for his age, these comments would often make me feel defeated and leave me with a low self esteem. I don’t think people realise how hurtful their comments can be.
There are many other incidents where it seems people keep comparing my baby to theirs or their family members babies, and it’s so hard to know how to react in these situations, what can you say without coming across as the green eyed monster?
I could turn all technical and start blurting out all evidence based research on why my son isn’t as big as other babies or why he isn’t walking at 10 months old but I wouldn’t want to come across as a freak either, although I do feel some people really need educating before they start giving out their unsolicited opinions, because that’s all they are.. Opinions!
I often get asked if Hugo is a good baby. I mean how do I respond to that? Do I say “No, he’s a bad baby, he sells crack cocaince to all the other babies” because really, what do they mean by good baby?
Just because he isn’t sleeping at night, does that make him a bad baby? Bad is a strong word and really shouldn’t be used when referring to an infant.
Every single baby is different, and all babies grow and develop at different rates, it’s no indication on anyones parenting. All babies will reach their milestones in the end, some just take a little longer.
There’s always a normal range when a baby reaches a new milestone, some babies start walking as early as 8 months old or even earlier, but some don’t start walking until around 18 months old which is also considered normal.
Teddy was one of those babies who didn’t start walking until 18 months, but I wasn’t worried in the slightest, despite all the snide comments “Oh isn’t he walking yet” “he should be walking by now”
Trust that you know your baby better than anyone else! And ignore peoples comments unless you feel that you as a parent have something to worry about, and in that case, speak to your health visitor or do some of your own research, but make sure it’s accurate.
It’s so hard avoiding baby comparison traps.
In the meantime, here are a few tips to stop comparing your baby to other babies:
- Recognise your own babies achievements.
- Be honest about your feelings.
- Learn to accept differences.
I asked a few bloggers how they would handle anyone trying to compare their baby and here’s what they said:
Laura over at – Mummy Lauretta said – You’ve just got to try and block it out. My boys were twins and also 6 weeks premature so I knew they were going to be behind with things and I just had to trust my instinct that they were happy and healthy and that they would do things in their own time.
Beth over at Twinderlemo said – My son was a late walker and outside pressures of others made me think there was something wrong. He was my first so unfortunately as so many people seemed shocked he wasn’t walking, I really did worry. When I had my girls, I lost all my first time parent anxiety and trusted my gut and ignored outside comments and knew my girls better than any stranger.
Christy over at Welsh Mum Of One said – My son has been 99 percentile since birth and people were always commenting on his size and saying how much bigger than other babies his age were, which I found quite rude and frustrating. He was also speech delayed, and at 3 is still quite far behind his peers and although the speech therapist isn’t worried, I often get quite a lot of comments from other mums. I’ve learned to just say “The doctor isn’t worried” and “Well kids are all at different stages” and then just develop a thick skin, but it has definitely increased my worry.
Toni over at This Mama said – I’m coming at it from the other side. I KNEW my son was massively behind on his milestones & that there were issues there (autism runs in my family) but was constantly told not to worry, it was in my head, he’ll walk & talk in his own time etc etc. Even with speech & Lang he didn’t end up talking until he was 5 yrs old. I continued my fight to be listened to & to get the support in place (speech therapy etc). I managed to get him into a special school which has helped him massively. He’s now been diagnosed with autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder & sees orthopaedics for his legs & hips. I’d say to anyone, if you’re worried talk to your health visitor, they can either reassure you that it’s completely normal & there’s no signs to be worried about or will start the ball rolling if there are any issues.