Milestone Myths: what should babies do when?

From the moment we become parents we are met with comments from friends, family, professionals and random strangers regarding their views of our babies and their milestones.

my tribe

Little Johnny and Jemima should be smiling, sleeping through the night, rolling over, sitting up, eating solids, walking and talking by x weeks or months, otherwise it’s not NORMAL. On top of that we have all the written advice and guidance about baby milestones and what they should all be doing when.

dealing with postnatal bleeding

As a mum of four children who all developed at different rates I can certainly say that there are no real rules about this. All my children have done things at totally different times.

For example, where first teeth were concerned we saw them at 6 months, 8 months, 5 months and then the youngest had two teeth by the time he was 3 months (certainly made breastfeeding interesting!).

With regards to walking, the children were 10 months, 11 months, 12 months and 16 months. All different.

First words also differed. Whilst the first three children all had a few words by the age of one, our youngest had lots of words – but he was the one that walked the latest. All different.

Sleeping through the night, well I might just gloss over that, as we aren’t really there yet!

listening to the small stuff

Potty training, that was also a totally different experience with all four children. I was told that by two children should be potty trained, which led me to rush my first child through this stage. All that actually happened was it took longer and it was more stressful. With the other three I promised myself I wouldn’t do that, and I just went at their pace. They were potty trained at 2 1/2, just before their third birthday and then last at 2 years 10 months. The significant difference was that the whole thing took a couple of days each time. The go with the flow approach was certainly the way forward.

How did your child’s actual milestones differ from what the books and professionals said?

In line with our discussion about these milestone myths, the new Baby Annabell learns to Walk doll has been released. It’s available at both Smyths and Argos in time for Christmas.

learn to walk

This realistic doll comes in a pretty pink outfit, including a romper suit and matching beanie hat. The doll can crawl, sit, walk and babble leaving your little one with hours of fun.

The bottom line when it comes to milestones is that no two babies go through these milestones at exactly the same time. There is a range of time when a specific developmental milestone will be accomplished (for example, babies learn to walk independently between 9-16 months of age). Babies also spend different amounts of time at each stage before moving on to the next stage.

My view is that as long as you are aware of the rough range of time that these milestones occur in, then that is good enough and will take the pressure off (assuming you can switch off the noise of others that is). If you are ever concerned about your baby or child not meeting their developmental milestones, contact a health-care professional to discuss it with them.


  1. I’m so glad I came across your post. I often tell myself these things but it’s good to actually hear it from someone else. My twins were preemie and have a corrected age… I’m forever getting people saying ‘can they not crawl/walk/sit/hold their bottle etc yet?’ They’re learning in their own time and not at the stereotypical milestones!

    1. Aww that’s so nice thanks.

      Yes exactly that – it’s such an unnecessary pressure. All mine have done different things at different times, that’s just how it is. How boring life would be if we were all the same xx

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