The Dangers of Comparing Babies…

July 4, 2016

We had our first full NCT reunion since all of the babies had been born on Sunday. It was lovely to see everyone all together again, along with all of the babies. But it didn’t take long before the comparisons started…

How long does Alice* sleep for?

Do you find William prefers the boob to expressed?

Oh you must try (the extortionate) baby massage classes, Archie loves them!

How did Jemima get on with the cranial osteopath?

How much do you find Henry generally takes in a feed?

We’ve had a couple of times where Ava has been difficult to settle, but generally she’s fine (cue rocking in the corner from Jemima’s mum whose baby wailed for eight hours straight in her second week, hence the trip to the cranial osteopath…)

And this is where it gets tricky, isn’t it? Because we immediately think that there’s something wrong with our baby if it does sleep or feed or settle as well/in the same way as someone else’s.

Even hubby, who often voices his disdain over my what’sapp chat with the other mums and the feelings of inadequacy comparisons that naturally arise from it, found himself saying when we got home, “Little M was definitely the smallest there, wasn’t she? And did you notice Little M was the only one in a sleep suit? All of the other babies had outfits on.”

Well yes, thank you husband. I’m the only one too lazy to present my child in a cute little outfit at a gathering. But actually I’ve seen a good three-quarters of those babies in the past week and they were all in easy-to-prepare sleep suits then…

This is the point I’m trying to make (sorry if you’ve been left wondering up to now!). Once we start comparing ourselves and our babies with others it only leads to second-guessing and feeling like we’re not doing the right thing.

But all babies are different. Little M might hate extortionate baby massage classes (she’s not going to get the chance to find out; I’ve seen some cheaper ones elsewhere) and while she might have a quiet squeak when you see me in Costa, that doesn’t mean she can’t crank up the intensity at 3am.

The important thing to remember is we’re all doing our best to respond to the needs of our child, and the sooner we stop worrying about what everyone else’s is doing, the better.**

Comparing babies, NCT

*All names have been changed to other, suitably middle-class names to protect anonymity. 

**Teacher note: the same logic can also be applied to reading scheme book bands. *Those* Mums at the school gate, take note. And stop boasting that your child is on Stage 6 while Billy is only on purple. They’re in different bloody schemes of books and bear no relation to each other anyway. 

14 responses to “The Dangers of Comparing Babies…”

  1. This is so true! It’s so hard not to compare your child and parenting to others. For instance my toddler is a walking dictionary but is behind others his age when it comes to his picky eating. It’s so hard to be confident in what your doing after seeing other people’s kids. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jules says:

      I think we just have to remember that children are mini people and we are all different; that’s what makes us special!

  2. I love this, you’re so right! It’s so complete pointless to compare babies and children as they are all so different, developmentally and character wise. Besides, everything can and does change so quickly and unpredictably anyway! Emily

  3. Absolutely agree with you! You can be doing ok, feeling quite confident in your mummy skills and then you hear about someone else’s baby and the worries all come back! It gets better the older they get though, you do learn to stop worrying what other people’s kids can do! #MarvMondays

    • Jules says:

      I think I feel it’s more that I just want to hear someone else is having some small difficulty so I don’t feel so alone in it!

  4. Savannah says:

    I think this is so important to remember. Every child is different and, while it feels good to find company during your struggles, it is so vital to keep in mind that your baby is different. I’ve sometimes found myself comparing my son to others. He didn’t walk until he was 13 months old, when many of his peers were walking before their first birthday. I felt silly when I realized I was worrying over nothing. Great share! <3 #MarvMondays

  5. Abi says:

    Such a good post, and so important to remember but sometimes hard to do! Alfie was the last to crawl out of our group of babies, but I tend to forget he is the youngest because he’s so big for his age – something I also worry hugely about because people think he is older than he is so therefore should be hitting his “milestones” earlier. I try hard not to compare but feel everyone else does that for me! #marvmondays

    • Jules says:

      It’s so difficult not to care what others think or let what they say niggle, isn’t it? Perhaps Little M will benefit from being so tiny then – people won’t have such expectations for her!

  6. Kim says:

    Yes! I didn’t realize how much I did this with my first born and it ended up making me feel like I was doing something wrong as a Mom. This second time around I am changing my game and taking your approach- accepting, doing the best I can, and rolling with the punches! By the way, I would so be the Mom with the baby in a sleep suit. Waaay easier and practical! Nice post #MarvMondays

    • Jules says:

      Thank you! I am by no means immune to making comparisons – I do it all the time! I just try to remind myself not to worry when I do x

  7. Kaye says:

    It’s such a tricky one not to compare babies (especially with sleep – we’re always envious when a baby sleeps through the night immediately and ours doesn’t) but as you said, we have to remember they’re all human and completely different and wonderful in their own ways. Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo

    • Jules says:

      Oh yes, sleep is always the hot topic! But I’ve heard lots of mums of non-sleeping(!) children say that once they stopped comparing and relaxed about their baby’s sleep, it all felt more manageable. I try to remember that every time the conversation turns that way! x

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