Meeting her milestones – Is she walking yet?

Sophie is still not walking. Still not meeting one of those important milestones.

I say that in a rather sarcastic tone as it’s probably the question I am asked most often by friends and family. And strangers. And their dogs.

Jeez people like to know things don’t they.

Can you feel a rant coming on?

I suppose if my little cherub had pushed up onto her roly poly legs and set off round the room at nine months (I am constantly reminded that her brother did just this) then I might feel less touchy about the subject. But she didn’t and she hasn’t.

Sophie is, at the time of writing, 15 months old and not walking independently. She can trot round with her walker and those of you who have been following my Insta stories will know she can bum shuffle at a rate of knots!

Meeting milestones mum and baby

I’m ok with that and more importantly, so is she.

A quick poll of my friends and family shows that there is a very large range of “normal” for a baby’s first steps and she is well within that range.

But what I’m not ok with is the fact that babies are subjected to milestone achievements from the minute they pop (I had to cross my legs as I wrote that) into the world. Nobody is sent home with a book telling you how to raise your children and yet the rules are there hanging over your sleep deprived head right from the start.

Your baby should be feeding every two hours.

Your baby should be smiling by six weeks old.

Your baby should be able to bang two blocks together by six months.

Your baby should not eat a smidge of solids until they hit six months old at which point you must immediately introduce them to a full roast dinner (organic natch), which they must feed themselves.

Ok, I might have made that last one up but you get the point. Not only as babies but you find these fictional milestones continue right through childhood.

Your two year old must be able to copy you when you draw a circle (WTF!)

Your child should be dry at night by now.

Your child should not be using a pushchair – they’re TOO old.

Blah blah blah.

Obviously these milestones were originally designed to reassure anxious parents that their children were developing in a healthy manner and to make sure that children who need extra help or support don’t slip through the net. However, the reality is that the pressure to meet said milestones is actually creating extra anxiety and being cheerfully wielded by the Comparimummies as weapons of one uppmanship.

How many times have you been to a baby group *shudders* in a poky church hall and been greeted (if you’re lucky) with the opening gambit of “is he/she sleeping through the night yet?” or something similar? You then spend the next hour in a battle of polite comparisons in some sort of odd mummy mating dance. Comparethemummy.com and it’s really anything but simples. It’s complicated, it’s a minefield of saying or not saying the right thing and its often judgement filled.

If you aren’t as thick skinned as me (think rhino hide) then you might end up leaving feeling really anxious about the development of your cherub when the reality is, everything is totally fine. Similarly, when everywhere you go you are asked by friends, relations and countrymen whether your beloved baby has met said milestone, it can leave you second guessing whether in fact maybe there IS something wrong.

More often than not, there isn’t. Your instinct as a mother is extremely powerful so if you know everything is fine then it most likely is. Your GP is the place to go with real and relevant concerns but you know that already.

So I suppose my point to this post is to say that if you’re baby hasn’t met one of these fictional milestones and you know as their mother, that he/she is developing just fine – trust your gut, ignore the comparimummies and well meaning nosey parkers and don’t sweat it.

Your baby hasn’t read the rule book. And you know what? They probably never will.

 

 

 

 

 

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6 Comments

  1. April 26, 2017 / 9:03 pm

    You’re right honey, there’s no rule, and for goodness sake, will people just mind their own business? Do we ask chubby people why they’re so fat or skinny people why they don’t eat more? Nope! Babies are all different. My first walked at 18 months, the next 2 when they were barely 1 and my youngest was 17 months old when she started walking. I loved the fact she was taking her time, as I knew she was my baby, my last one (you have to stop having babies at some point, right?). I enjoyed every single milestone as I knew it would be the last time I’d have the privilege to witness firsts for one of my own babies. Everyone else was bothered though. My mum would hold her hands over her head and try to force her to walk (have you ever tried walking with your arms high up?), the health visitor was concerned and kept asking me to go back for check ups (really?) and the world and its neighbour kept asking whether she was walking… Ignore them, enjoy Sophie’s shuffling, going from A to B by pushing stuff and crawling. It would last long. They grow up too quickly! Those photos are absolutely gorgeous, so full of love.

    • April 26, 2017 / 9:08 pm

      Yes to this! It’s so annoying when people walk her round with her hands up in the air. WTF is that about?! Sophie is my last baby *sobs* and every first milestone is perfect and painful because I know it’s the last 🙁 You’re so right – she will do it in her own time xx

  2. April 26, 2017 / 9:45 pm

    Don’t worry too much Fi, I wrote a similar post when our daughter was 14 months old, and did a Twitter poll too as I was really paranoid that there was something wrong. But like your post says they all meet their milestones at different times. If she coasting around she can do it, she just needs to learn to let go. No doubt in a few weeks you’ll have a little tearaway and you’ll wish that she was still cruising the sofa. Claire x

  3. April 27, 2017 / 8:40 am

    I feel your pain / frustration / general annoyance with nosey parkers – mine didn’t take first steps til 20 and a half months and didn’t walk properly for another month after. We were sent to the hospital via our health visitor from 12 months because she wasn’t weight bearing til 15 months. So like you say, they are there to make sure people don’t slip through the net if there are concerns, but, they do cause ridiculous (unnecessary most of the time) anxiety. All I’ll say is our doctor actually said they don’t worry until children aren’t walking at 24 months, so you al least have 9 months to go hahaha! I’m sure she will get there when she’s good and ready. In the mean time, deep breaths and imagining punching annoying people in the face, works well 🙂
    Susie at This Is Me Now recently posted…#funseekingkids round-up week 4My Profile

  4. April 29, 2017 / 6:26 am

    I think it’s pretty daft of them to make comments about your kid’s milestones anyhow. The NHS is pretty clear that the range of these things happening is huge, and babies do them when they’re ready. Walking especially as bones and muscles need to be ready. 10 to 18 months, that’s a huge range so why bother comparing. Plus they tend to have stops and starts and make diff progress in diff areas anyway.

    Dads can be a bit competitive about this sometimes, like it’s a sport or a game, but there’s probably less pressure than on mums.
    Dave – Dad’s Turn recently posted…Milestones: the ones they don’t tell you aboutMy Profile

  5. Julia
    April 30, 2017 / 8:30 pm

    This is a very sensible post. I never walked till 18 months or so I was told & although my small mother found me a heavy baby to carry round ( The window cleaner assisted her by carrying me to the bus stop down the road on one occasion!) I did ( & still do haha) walk when I was ready…

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