Why do we ‘baby’ one child over another?

COLUMN – Danielle Galvin

At 15 months old this week, my littlest one finally decided to walk.

I remarked to my partner, “He’s too little to walk!”

To which he replied, “Every parent thinks that at first”.

But I disagree. I didn’t feel like that when my first born took her first steps bang on 12 months and walked confidently and cooly from then on. 

It felt like the right time, from when she properly transitioned from being a baby to a toddler. 

Sometimes I have a sneaking suspicion my youngest is the one I will always “baby”.

It’s in no way a case of favouritism – it’s just that I probably feel he needs me more. 

Perhaps I’m more protective of him?

Which is probably a VERY worrying prospect for him!

There are certainly stereotypes about the dynamics of any family. 

The eldest is the bossy and a leader, the middle child is forgotten about and ignored, the youngest babied and the favourite. 

As parents, it’s hard to not expect the world from your eldest child when your second or third comes along. 

It got me thinking, do you baby one of your children?

It might not even be your youngest, maybe you have one who’s particularly sensitive, more clingy to you, or more naturally anxious and in need of reassurance. 

Will I always look at him like he’s a baby? And will I tend to do more for him?

By his age, my eldest was probably doing more. She was fiery, independent. She’s a girl who knows her own mind, that’s for sure. 

By about 7 or 8 months old she refused to let me feed her and would only do it herself. 

She was already at childcare, she was spending days with grandparents while I trundled off to work, most days without a second glance or a worry in the world. 

But with my second, I felt more anxious to leave him for the first time. 

I feel more nervous about him doing all of those “firsts”.

I’m not in any way sad about him growing up or getting older, I don’t lament the future, I look forward to it. 

But I can’t shake the feeling that he is just a baby. Will that ever go away?