It’s so funny to me when I hear some Mom talking about what her baby should or should not be doing. After all, it says so right here in THE BOOK. You know the types of book – these are books written by experts. They tell you when you can expect your baby to focus for the first time. They tell you when your baby will begin to hold up her head.
They tell you when your baby will be ready for rice cereal. They tell you about the shots they will be receiving, the physical changes they will experience, the dietary requirements – frankly, I’m surprised they don’t tell you what your baby will dream on any given day given a certain set of circumstances.
Now before you think I am ridiculing these books, I’m not. I have several of them. I devoured them when my daughter was a baby. I read them now because they fascinate me and because we are considering having another baby. But upon occasion, when I think of these books as THE BOOK, I am reminded of a very old Looney Tunes cartoon where one of the characters is left babysitting this wholly terror of a baby that just goes everywhere and does everything.
I think it was Bugs, but it could have been Daffy or Sylvester, it’s been a few years. Anyway, the point was – they were told to use THE BOOK if anything came up with the baby. By the end of the reel, of course, the babysitter Toon has been through the ringer though they have frenetically consulted the sage advice contained within THE BOOK. At the end, the parent comes back and uses THE BOOK to paddle the baby that was being uncooperative and difficult. And of course, that’s the joke, this poor character was at their wits end trying to deal with this child, all because they were consulting THE BOOK and the answers never did mesh up with the baby’s behavior.
And that’s why I get so amused by Moms who say; well their baby isn’t ready yet because the book says they aren’t. Or the book says to wait until they are six months. The book said to not feed rice cereal until 4 months. They cannot have solid foods until 7 months.
The problem with basing your judgment calls on a book that spins advice and taking it so literally is that YOUR BABY DOESN”T READ THAT BOOK! I know mine certainly didn’t. I think there was only one time that the book’s suggested development and my daughter’s did mesh.
Baby advice books are great. Bright and caring people usually write them. They are written based on their studies or their experiences – but the key to getting past putting so much faith in every word they write is that they are talking about the ‘average’ baby. Average is a mathematical equation that factors all of the babies in their studies from one end of the spectrum to the other and goes right to the middle ground with all of them.
But when it comes to your baby — your baby is not an average – your baby is unique. Babies have their own personal calendar and while a baby advice book can offer you some suggestions, don’t take it as set in stone. Your baby isn’t going to read the book and no matter how often you tell yourself they aren’t supposed to be ready for some new stage of development or they should be at a stage of development by now – your baby is going to get there when they are ready – no matter what THE BOOK says.