Thursday, 11 April 2013

The Ages of Baby

I've been asked quite a lot recently what the most enjoyable age is for babies and children. The answer is always that there are pros and cons to every stage of babyhood so, as ever, here's what I think:


Pros: they don't move, they only eat one thing and generally like it, they sleep a lot (they do! I know it doesn't feel like it, but they do!), you tend to get lots of visitors who offer to do your ironing, they are portable and can easily live in their pram for an entire day, they are awfully cute and smell delicious, if you only pick them up when absolutely necessary it's quite similar to looking after a plant.

Cons: you pretty much have no idea what you're doing, you may be in pain from a caesarean or assisted birth, newborns are fairly dull company, you are constantly worried about breaking them.

3 months

Pros:  you now know what you are doing, a feeding routine is established, you may even be getting a night's sleep! They smile and look at you as if they understand who you are, but are still happy to be passed around at family gathering. They don't move and they are still only drinking milk, which is straight-forward and portable.

Cons: they will have their first vaccinations and may get their first cold, they are still a bit boring and you often have to work your socks off to get any kind of reaction.
6 months

Pros: food is much more interesting than milk and you can experiment with different tastes and textures, they will start sitting up and holding toys, which is a lot more interesting than lying on their back. They are generally a bit more robust at this age, easier to handle and more reactive to tickling and pulling funny faces.

Cons: they want to be on the go and get involved, but can't move yet, which can be quite frustrating (for you and the baby), weaning starts and feeding becomes a lot more complicated, they may get more picky about who they are happy to be passed to.

(just a note on this age: this is when my twins started sleeping consistantly through the night, from the "dream feed" at 10:30pm until around 6:45am. Words cannot describe the joy!)

9 months

Pros: they are crawling! Happier to be left to play and move around on their own, enjoying their new-found independance, they start to entertain you with their noises and faces. Solid are established and they can do a lot of their own finger-feeding.

Cons: they are crawling! You need to keep an eye on them constantly, install stairgates and move everything in your house up to eye-level. They may not be as content to sit in their pushchair as they want to be on the floor moving around. If they can pull themselves up to standing they will do this in their cot if they wake in the night. Persuading them to lie down again can be a challenge.

12 months

Pros: they are starting to become real little people, clothes are really cute at this age, you get to buy little shoes and take endless videos of their first steps. Walking with your child holding your hand is really special, and you might get away with occasionally leaving your pushchair at home. They could be on just two milk feeds a day, which can mean a lot more independence if you are breastfeeding.

Cons: They are into everything and have no idea of their own limitations. Children this age are often totally fearless and think they can run, jump and throw themselves around like bigger children. The number of injuries my twins got went up massively after their first birthday.