10 things new parents brag about when maybe they shouldn't
Parental one-upmanship about tots sleeping through the night or being 'really advanced' can cause annoyance and anxiety. Lisa Salmon reports
ALL new parents are proud of their babies - but that pride can soon annoy other parents if it slides into bragging.
Understandable delight when little ones reach an important milestone like sleeping through the night can easily be perceived as boasting, especially if it's raised repeatedly.
Indeed, new research suggests almost half (44 per cent) of new parents polled found parental one-upmanship irritating, and nearly a third (32 per cent) admitted it made them worry they were failing as a parent themselves.
"Being a new parent can be very challenging, but we shouldn't treat parenting as a competition," warns clinical psychologist Dr Genevieve von Lob, author of Happy Parent, Happy Child.
"Don't listen to baby bragging - it will only make you doubt yourself. Focus instead on finding supportive mums and dads who can share the highs and lows of parenting."
It's worth remembering that parents are sometimes unaware of how their bragging can appear to other people, says psychologist and family therapist Dr Kalanit Ben-Ari. However, she points out the response might also reflect how the listener is feeling, as the claims could also be interpreted as understandable pride and/or a reaction to social media pressure to produce the perfect baby.
"We can interpret a statement from a parent in many ways," she explains.
"Experiencing a parent's sharing of something as 'baby bragging' might be more about us than it is about them."
And parenting expert Tiffany Norris, aka The Mummy Concierge, adds: "We can all relate to knowing a baby bragger who just loves sharing any slight update on their child's development.
"But it's important not to compare your little one to anyone else. Every child's progress and development path is unique, so although many of us like to boast about our newborn's progression, remember that others may not be having the same experience and it can cause anxiety among new parents."
These are the top 10 annoying baby brags identified in the poll of new parents by smart baby monitor brand Cubo Ai - and our experts' thoughts on each.
1. MY BABY SLEEPS THROUGH THE NIGHT (50 per cent found it annoying)
It's no surprise that this is the most annoying brag, says Norris, who points out that sleep, or lack of it, is one of the most stressful things new parents have to deal with.
"This sort of statement could be really damaging if heard by a mother whose baby might not be sleeping through the night," she says. "Try not to compare - every baby is different."
Von Lob points out that it's biologically normal for babies to wake up during the night and need help to go back to sleep. "The idea that all babies should sleep through the night is a myth and creates a lot of anxiety among new parents, but they shouldn't blame themselves if their baby doesn't sleep through the night."
And she continues: "It's worrying that sleeping through the night has come to be seen as a badge of honour when it's normal for babies to wake up. Babies' sleeping patterns vary widely - some may sleep through the night, while others are frequent wakers. One pattern isn't better than the other."
2. MY BABY IS ALREADY SAYING 'MAMA' (44 per cent)
Norris suggests that this brag is perhaps understandable, pointing out: "There's so much pressure on mothers to be seen to be achieving in motherhood, so to be able to reveal their baby's excelling at an early age is proof they're doing a good job. It also makes us feel good if our little one is meeting their milestones - so why not shout it from the rooftop?"
3. MY BABY NEVER CRIES (43 per cent)
This is one that needs to be treated with a great degree of scepticism. "Getting through a day without a baby crying is near impossible," stresses Norris. "Crying is how little ones communicate."
4. THE HEALTH VISITOR SAYS MY CHILD IS REALLY ADVANCED (41 per cent)
A statement like this can make other mothers worry about why their health visitor hasn't said the same about their child. "Don't give other mothers the opportunity to worry about their little ones," warns Norris.
5. MY BABY LEARNED TO WALK AT 10 MONTHS (40 per cent)
Babies develop and reach milestones at very different rates. "Sure, one baby might walk earlier than another, but you might find the other baby talks first," says Norris. "Don't compare your baby to anyone else's."
6. MY BABY IS GORGEOUS ENOUGH TO BE A BABY MODEL (36 per cent)
Every parent thinks their baby is gorgeous, Norris points out. "Why? Because they are," she says.
7. I HAVE TO WAKE MY BABY IN THE MORNING (33 per cent)
What a lucky parent if this is true, but Norris points out that saying something like this can make other exhausted mums and dads feel as though they're failing because their baby wakes at 5am - which is perfectly normal.
8. MY BABY NEVER MAKES A MESS WHEN WEANING (28 per cent)
Comparisons of babies is never recommended, says Norris - and one parent's 'mess' is another parent's 'clean' anyway.
9. MY BABY NAPS FOR TWO HOURS A DAY (24 per cent)
If you're worried your baby isn't napping for long enough during the day, then talk to an expert rather than asking a friend's advice, Norris says.
"Every baby is different and some routines that work for one family won't work for another."
10. MY BABY UNDERSTANDS EVERYTHING I SAY (23 per cent)
"This is a ridiculous brag," insists Norris. "How can anyone know what a baby's thinking?
"While some babies might be able to understand instruction at a certain age, understanding everything is probably a bit of an exaggeration."