Why you shouldn’t compare your baby’s development to others

Why you shouldn’t compare your baby’s development to others

You open Facebook to see your cousin’s baby taking her first steps. Your own baby, who is months younger, hasn’t started walking. Now you’re worried your child may be behind in their development. But should you be concerned?

“Thanks to social media, it’s easy for parents to share updates about their children. While that can be a really great thing, it also makes it extremely easy to compare milestones and achievements. But keep in mind that every child develops at their own pace,” says Cari Roestel, a Learn the Signs. Act Early. ambassador for the state of Illinois and nurse case manager and ECHO autism coordinator at Advocate Health Care and Advocate Children’s Hospital.

She urges parents to do their best not to compare their child to others and instead to learn about developmental milestones from places like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s milestone tracker.

“You can turn to these resources for reliable information about milestones and advice about how to help your child reach their developmental milestones,” says Roestel. “When a child misses their milestones, many parents wonder if they should wait to see if their child catches up. Do not wait to act. Your child’s brain grows very quickly in the first few years, and an extra boost early on goes extra far in their development. Ultimately, one in six children in the U.S. has a developmental delay, and recognizing those delays early can fundamentally change a child’s life.”

And just because your cousin’s kid is walking and yours isn’t doesn’t mean your child is not meeting developmental milestones.

“Remember there are many factors that may contribute to meeting developmental milestones,” she says. “If you have concerns, bring them up with your child’s pediatrician. This is the best person to have these discussions with. When in doubt, consider the saying, ‘comparison is the thief of joy.’ No matter where your child is at developmentally, enjoy the journey. We will be here to support you along the way.”

Are you trying to find a pediatrician? Look here if you live in Illinois. Look here if you live in Wisconsin. 

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About the Author

Holly Brenza
Holly Brenza

Holly Brenza, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator on the content team at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading, watching the White Sox and Blackhawks, playing with her dog, Bear and running her cats' Instagram account, @strangefurthings.