Mellow Mummy: The 9-Month Check: A Moment of Realisation : Taking life as it comes...

Monday, 5 April 2010

The 9-Month Check: A Moment of Realisation

I read a great post last week at Bumbling Along about the realisation that your baby is an individual and that when it comes to their development and their behaviour, no one child is the same and that it really doesn't matter if they don't conform to the 'norm', in fact, it makes them all the more loveable.

Last week Lara had her 9-month check at the baby clinic. Sitting in a room full of babies all within 5 weeks of each other in age really brought this home to me. Some of the babies were crawling all over the shop while others could barely sit up unaided. Some had a mouth full of teeth, others had none, and no sign of them. There were babies who were still on a diet of 100% breast milk, and others who, like Lara, are well on their way to eating a full, unrestricted diet of 'real' foods.

In the current age of online motherhood communities and self-help books, you can be bombarded with information about what your baby “should” be doing or eating at their current stage in life. As a first time mum it's helpful to have such a wealth of information available to me to help answer my questions about bringing up a baby and to demystify the world of motherhood but they can also be misleading and can build unreasonable expectations.

Although I have shunned all of the self-help parenting books, I do subscribe to email newsletters from all the big mummy networks and many of the big brand baby product suppliers; I have done right from the beginning of my pregnancy. During pregnancy I would receive about 3 emails each week telling me what to expect at the current stage of proceedings. Most weeks they were shockingly accurate... but then when an email didn't quite explain what I was feeling, or else told me about something I wasn't yet experiencing I began to worry – maybe the pregnancy wasn't progressing correctly? It is the same with child development emails.

When Lara was about 3 months old I started receiving emails about how my baby will soon start to roll. After a few weeks I began to worry and then when all Lara's peers started to roll I felt a little left out! Lara still doesn't roll (which seemed to surprise the health visitor at the 9-month check) – she doesn't need to. Lara can get about just fine without rolling. But now I realise that it really doesn't matter whether she's the only one who doesn't roll over. Maybe she'll do so in her own time, maybe she'll never bother. There are things Lara does which nobody else's babies do yet but hey, who really cares?

I strongly feel that the sooner you accept that your baby is unique and will do things at their own pace, the sooner you can relax as a parent and grow in your own confidence. Celebrate the things they can do, deal with the ways they do behave, feed them the things they will eat. Do it your way – its the best way.
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