How babies are like pets

veterinarian examining dog's ear My dog Opoho can’t tell me that she has an ear infection.  Instead she relies on me to notice a problem.  Likewise, babies can’t explain their difficulties.  We adults must notice when things aren’t right. One way to notice is to watch for the appearance of milestones like rolling over or lifting the head.

Milestones are important because they are signposts for a baby’s rate of development.  If a baby grasps objects in a timely manner it is a sign of healthy progress.  But how do we decide what’s timely?

We have no gold standard for what is normal.  Instead, we compare an individual baby’s rate progress to the average from lots of babies.  The vet who took Opoho’s temperature was looking for a problem and compared Opoho’s temperature to what is known about the average temperature for dogs in general.

If babies are like pets, parents are like vets.  Parents and vets have to pay attention to signs.