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“…I don’t want my readers to enter into what I call the ‘developmental Olympics,’ comparing one child’s progress or problems with another child’s, or to become anxious if their little boy or girl doesn’t fit a particular age profile” (The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, page 12).
Hogg is urging readers to not compare their babies to the babies of others and to also not freak out when baby doesn’t reach a particular milestone that is listed in a book. This is an excellent topic for us all to be mindful of. I can’t count the number of times I have gotten a question similar to this:
“My baby is [8-11] weeks old and still not sleeping through the night. What am I doing wrong?”
First, Babywise points out that 15% of babies don’t STTN until 12 weeks of age. Second, from my interactions with parents, the numbers and ages of the STTN milestone are typically a lot older than those listed in the book.
As soon as baby doesn’t go by the book, parents start to worry what is wrong with themselves and/or their baby. Remember that the ages listed in books are “typical” or “averages,” not absolutes. Analyze your baby and do what is best for your baby. Compare your baby to his own abilities. Neither of my children STTN by 12 weeks, not even perfect-sleeper Kaitlyn. She wasn’t long after 12 weeks, but she had definite reflux issues that warranted no messing with what was happening at night. We started late with Brayden, so his late STTN is understandable there.
Avoiding developmental Olympics applies both to Babywise milestones as well as those physical milestones like walking, talking, etc. This doesn’t mean you don’t ever evaluate the reasons for these “lates.” But first understand what an average is. Very few fall into “average.” The fact that a number is an average means there were a lot who were doing it earlier and a lot doing it later. Percentages can be more helpful in evaluating where your baby is.
If your baby isn’t reaching a milestone when he “should,” think through reasons for it. If it is a Babywise milestone, have you been consistent? Are there medical reasons? Is your baby just hungry? If there is a reason you can fix, attend to it. Otherwise, don’t worry about it. If ever you are worrying, come to this blog and look at the poll results . You will see that there are babies who did things later, some earlier, and some at “normal” times. Then you will know your baby is not alone 🙂
The same applies to physical milestones. Gross motor skills are often recognized more than the fine motor skills and even verbal skills (until baby is about 18 months). If your baby isn’t sitting up at 6 months, is she extra attentive to her fine motor skills or verbal skills? Brayden was always very focused on his gross motor skills. Verbal skills were also high. Fine motor skills were low on his priority list. Once Kaitlyn reached 5 months old, she was more interested in fine motor skills and her verbal skills for quite some time. They did different things at different times.
Also, are you providing her with opportunity to practice? A baby who is strapped in and confined all day isn’t going to reach gross motor skills as early. This principle applies as the child gets older. A child who is never taught the names of colors isn’t going to just know them. You must teach your child the things you want her to know and provide opportunities for practice. If there is anything you are concerned about, always bring it to the attention of your pediatrician.
So please, try to remain calm and patient as you parent your little one.