On the face of it, comparing babies sounds like something that superficial moms do to try and make themselves feel better about their parenting. But in reality, comparing babies is common, especially with nervous new moms who aren’t sure that they’re doing things “the right way.”
Even among moms who have two or more kids, comparison is a way to figure out what works and what doesn’t, what’s normal and what’s not, and what is personality versus outside influences.
Sometimes moms purposely compare babies to figure things out, but other times, it’s a subconscious behavior that we rarely pick up on.
Not many moms are pitting their babies against one another for a “best sleeper award” or “least likely to bite while nursing certificate”, but that doesn’t mean we don’t notice what sets our tots apart from all the others. Plus, comparing some baby traits can help moms identify behavioral traits or developmental issues that they may not have noticed otherwise.
That might mean that you set up a playdate with a baby (and hopefully mom) with a similar personality or the same interests as yours, or that you address worrisome behavior with an intervention that worked for another mom. Essentially, we all make these comparisons, but the key is to use the information for good and not for judging others.
20 Bald Beginnings
How many moms go through an entire pregnancy waiting to see their gorgeous baby, only to feel slightly disappointed when said baby arrives with a bare noggin? That’s not to say any mom is actually disappointed in her baby’s looks, but we all hope that our little ones are born with a gorgeous mane, particularly if they’re girls. After all, most moms of baby girls are familiar with strangers assuming their littles ones are boys because of their lack of hair or hair accessories.
This is one area where no one can blame anyone else whether the child has a ton of hair or very little,
but it is something that moms notice when meeting new babies.
It’s human nature to compare, after all, and it’s understandable to be jealous of another baby’s flowing locks when yours doesn’t have enough strands to brush.
19 Toothless Tots
Another milestone that moms notice, although who really cares when baby’s first teeth sprout? But plenty of moms like to discuss teething and its side effects, because it can be thoroughly frustrating. That said, most babies tend to sprout teeth around the same time, making it hard on moms when their babies lag behind.
That said, there’s no magical tooth-growing potion- and most moms wouldn’t want it anyway, since those little chompers can make biting more common. Especially for moms who are nursing, avoiding the teething process might even make life easier. Ultimately, though, babies’ teeth will pop up when they’re good and ready, and we promise they’ll come in by the time your tot is truly ready for table food. On that same note, just because a baby has teeth doesn’t mean she’s ready to gnaw on your meal, either.
18 Noteworthy Noses
We all expect that our babes will have cute little button noses, but genetics are genetics, after all. Personally, I find my babies to be the most beautiful creatures on Earth- like most other moms tend to. But we’re a bit self-centered when it comes to appraising other babies’ looks. It’s hard to find an “ugly” baby, but when their tiny noses are not so tiny, it’s hard not to notice.
Some babies seem to have larger than normal ears, or particularly hairy foreheads or any number of small oddities.
The good news is, most kiddos grow up and into their noses or ears or other appendages. And the hair? Most little ones keep their fine baby hairs- called lanugo- for a few weeks after birth. Others, like my kids, stay hairy for longer than that. Either way, at least mom finds them beautiful!
17 Flattened Forms
There are a handful of medical conditions that create odd shapes out of babies’ skulls, but there are also outside factors that influence the roundness of their noggins. Babies can develop flat head syndrome, technically called positional plagiocephaly, from the way mom positions them. The backs of babies’ heads become flattened when they spend too much time lying on their backs or strapped into their car seats.
Medical causes aside, many moms compare the roundness of their babies’ heads to judge whether they’re getting enough tummy time. Unfortunately, some moms judge others based on whether the tot has a flat spot on their head. Although it’s usually unfair of these mamas to do so, comparing the littles’ head shapes might make them feel better about their own parenting and its visible consequences.
16 Chubby Bubs
How many moms have gone to a pediatrician’s appointment only to be told their baby is too skinny? Some babies even receive a “failure to thrive” diagnosis, which is devastating for any mama to hear. On the other hand, some babies get put on diets because a doctor or family member thinks he’s too chubby. And while each mom may have her own internal struggles on the subject, comparing our bubs’ chub- or lack thereof- is another way moms relate to one another.
Lots of moms lament the fact that they just make skinny babies, and no amount of food will make them fuller.
Other moms only produce round babies with rolls for miles. Either way, as long as baby is eating right and doesn’t have an underlying health condition, moms can rest assured that their tot is completely normal- chub or not.
15 Crawling Cuties
With the masses of early childhood development issues today, along with the surprisingly early diagnosis of those issues, it’s common for moms to compare their kiddo’s developmental milestones to other babies. If your baby hasn’t begun crawling by the time he or she is eight months old, you might begin to panic. But if you see that other babies your child’s age haven’t crawled yet either, it can help relieve that stress that your baby is behind.
Conversely, watching every other infant in your mommy group start to crawl at age five months is hard to deal with. But the truth is, all babies develop at a different rate. Sure, there are averages and “targets” for each month, but they’re not precise indicators of your baby’s development. It’s better to look at the overall picture rather than focusing on one skill- and odds are, your baby is just fine.
14 Early Walkers
Walking is another huge milestone that moms tend to compare on. Apparently, if babies walk before 10 months, they’re destined to be geniuses- at least according to some moms. The average little one starts walking sometime around their first birthday, but that’s not set in stone either.
And some babies may walk early, but begin talking later, and vice versa.
Still, moms often judge other moms based on whether their infant is walking yet by age one. Some moms assume that if an infant isn’t walking yet, it’s because mom carries them too much, uses a stroller too often, or somehow inhibits them from meeting milestones. The reality, however, is that babies walk when they’re ready, not when we (or potentially judgmental mom friends) want them to. Besides, the later they walk, the less running we have to do.
13 Gift Of Gab
Have you seen those viral YouTube videos of four-month-old babies “talking”? Some parents suggest that babies that young can even learn sign language to communicate their needs. Even if you spend hours talking at your baby or signing for them, there’s no guarantee they’ll pick it up- at four months or even a year or older. Sure, there are general guidelines for these milestones too, but babies are all different.
There’s also the fact that babies who are more mobile earlier often speak later, because learning these tough new tasks takes a lot of brain power. Plus, some kids don’t speak much until their toddler years, when all of a sudden, their vocabularies jump to hundreds of words seemingly overnight. Obviously, some kids don’t speak because of an underlying condition, but most wind up following their own timeline without a problem.
12 Cadillac Of Car Seats
Am I the only mom who compares my kids’ car seats to other kids’ car seats? It’s not so much about whether other parents purchased the Cadillac of the car seat world, but more about whether they’re using the seat the right way. This one isn’t so much on the babies as it is on the parents,
but plenty of moms compare car seat use and misuse when gauging their own parenting abilities.
And because babies come in all shapes and sizes, there will be toddlers who still fit in a rear-facing infant seat with a carrying handle, and others that have to ride in a behemoth of a rear facing seat that makes the front passenger ride with their knees around their ears. And despite laws and guidelines in support of extended rear facing, many moms still celebrate moving to “big kid” seats prematurely.
11 Miniature Models
Miniature fashion is delightful, sure, but we all know that the frilly photo op outfits don’t stand a chance against daily life that involves spit up, diaper blowouts, and dirt- among other things. So while it’s cute that so many babies are wearing expensive brand-name clothes, the rest of us are over here trying not to pinch baby bellies with zippers and snaps and trying to keep socks on itty bitty feet.
I wish my kids looked like tiny models every time we left the house, but like most moms, I struggle to keep them fully clothed and clean regardless of what’s hanging in their closets. Then there’s the issue of tiny baby shoes for little ones who aren’t even walking yet. Did you know most shoes are actually bad for beginning walkers’ feet? Soft, barely-there soles are optimal for foot development- and yet new moms are eyeballing Nikes.
10 Baby Bonding
If you’ve ever been to a new mom meetup, a nursing support group, or just gone on a playdate with other moms and their babies, you’ve probably watched those moms with their little ones. Some seem so full of energy, you wonder how they do it. They seem completely focused on their babies, responding to their every need, and yet they can carry on an adult conversation while changing a poopy diaper or burping a colicky infant.
Meanwhile, the rest of us are trying not to cry while we attempt to nurse our little ones, or cringe when their little cries start up.
We’re told we should be bonded with our infants from day one, but sometimes the hormonal overload coupled with the stresses of daily life with a newborn makes us shut down. Unfortunately, lots of moms judge each other based on how well bonding appears to be going.
9 Nursing Or Not
Another comparison moms make comes with whether babies nurse or not. We know that growth charts for formula fed babies are different than ones for breastfed babies, but beyond that, society has taught us to look for differences between our little ones based on how they’re fed. You might notice that breastfed babies sleep for shorter periods of time, so it may be surprising to find out that your friend’s little breastfed babe sleeps through the night.
Similarly, your baby might be drinking a few ounces of formula every few hours, while another infant takes bigger bottles less frequently.
In general, these kinds of comparisons don’t seem harmful, because how and when baby eats depends on more factors than just breast or bottle. That said, as long as your baby is making wet and dirty diapers and not crying in hunger, everything is likely just fine- no comparisons needed.
8 Feeding Frenzy
Another topic that comes up often in mom groups is feeding infants solid foods. Despite the popularity of baby led weaning- when parents wait until babies start grabbing and chewing food on their own- there’s still a ton of discussion about what to feed and when. Many moms see starting solid food, whether it’s pureed or table food, as a major milestone in their babies’ development.
But again, this is an area where guidelines only help so much. Some babies might sit up on their own at six months old, have sprouted a few teeth, and begun gnawing on steamed veggies at the dinner table. Other babies might not want solid food and refuse a single bite until well after their first birthdays. Either way, if baby’s eating enough, there’s no need for competitions over who’s having what and when.
7 Feeling Feverish
Especially with the raging debate over vaccine safety, it’s becoming more common for moms to compare their babies’ shot records. Some moms fear that unvaccinated kids will spread to disease to their babies, and although you can’t give someone a disease you don’t have, society has created enough fear in today’s parents that you may not be able to get a playdate without proof of vaccination.
Apart from vaccines, however, moms often compare how often their children get sick and how severe their illnesses are.
Many moms are proud to say their tots have never been sick, and they might credit breastfeeding with that record. Moms whose babies drink formula can join in on this too- discussing how their bottle-fed babies haven’t ever had a sniffle, either. It’s just another way moms compare their parenting experiences with those around them.
6 Binky Battles
Do babies who take a pacifier cry less? Do they have more trouble breastfeeding? Do they eat less frequently since they’re soothed by a binky? Do they sleep through the night with the pacifier in place? These are the types of things moms look for when comparing babies, especially if they’ve received criticism for letting their infant or even an older baby keep their pacifier.
Some babies don’t care for binkies at all, while others have to have one or they scream their heads off. It’s likely more about babies’ personalities than it is parenting skills or the presence of an artificial nipple, but parents tend to compare binky status often. It may also be due to the fact that use of a pacifier is one of few visible traits babies can have that says something about their personalities.
5 Spoiled Rotten
Starting with baby’s earliest days, people tend to think it’s possible to spoil them. That means that moms compare their babies’ temperaments and whether a baby appears to be spoiled. This means judging babies’ behavior, from how often they cry to how quickly mom picks them up when they do. Moms might think a baby is spoiled if mom wears them in a carrier or responds right away when they begin babbling.
While it’s technically impossible to spoil a young baby- after all, they need human interaction to learn how to “behave”-
moms nonetheless deal with comparisons between babies. One baby might be quiet and not cry much, while another might cry often and look around frantically for mom when something is wrong. Neither scenario is necessarily bad, but it is something else moms notice.
4 Letting Sleeping Babies Lie
Sleep habits are another common mom comparison. In general, the older a baby is, the more consistent their sleep schedule. Another generality is that formula fed babies tend to sleep deeper or longer. Still, moms often overanalyze babies’ sleeping habits to try and decide what’s best and most effective for getting the grownups in the house more sleep, too.
If your friend’s baby sleeps better on a specific schedule, you might want to try it for your tot, too. If another baby sleeps through the night at four months old, you might expect your baby to do the same. It’s in an innate instinct for moms to run these comparisons and try to figure out what they’re doing wrong- but often, they’re not doing anything wrong, they’re just doing things differently.
3 Cloth Diaper Club
When you’re a new or veteran mom who has just started cloth diapering, it’s kind of exciting. There are endless styles and types of diapers to try, including cute prints and easy-to-use types that are even dad-friendly. It almost seems like cloth diapering is a movement all its own, and it’s easy to spot babies who wear cloth diapers with their impossibly fluffy tushies.
While the fact that a baby is wearing cloth diapers doesn’t necessarily mean anything other than a parental preference for reusable versus throwaway poo catchers,
cloth diapering can also go along with other lifestyle choices.
Sometimes babies wear cloth because of sensitivities to plastics or the absorbent material in disposable diapers, and sometimes it’s a money-saving maneuver by mom and dad. Often, cloth diapering families are more “crunchy” than families who use disposables by choice.
2 The Daycare Dilemma
Although many moms feel guilty over working outside the home, each family has their own reasons or needs that dictate whether their little ones attend daycare or not. And it seems like society places a high value on toddlers and even infants “socializing” with same-age peers. That means that today, it’s almost frowned upon not to put your tot or preschooler in a daycare or preschool program.
Moms might compare babies’ development based on whether they’re enrolled in a program or not, since many kids start potty training, talking, and even walking when they see others doing so. But that doesn’t mean babies who stay home with mom or another caregiver will be stinted somehow, even if that is what moms worry about when comparing their babies to other moms’.
1 Bad Baby Biting
Another behavioral trait of babies that moms tend to compare is the biting phase. Some babies skip this entirely, while others hang in the nibbling stage all the way into the preschool years. Moms might compare their babies’ tendencies to gnaw on things (or people) to see if the behavior they’re seeing is normal. Especially for moms who are nursing,
it’s reassuring to see that other babies sometimes bite and often get past it relatively quickly.
Moms often compare biting habits to reassure themselves that they’re not the worst moms in the world for not being able to convince baby to stop using their teeth. That said, just because a baby bites doesn’t mean there isn’t an underlying issue. Sometimes teething causes biting behaviors, but less often it’s a habit introduced to tots by their older siblings (often those preschoolers who see lots more biting than babies do).