Reminder To Self: Don’t Compare This Baby To The Others

Our life looks totally different in so many ways with our 4th baby than it did when we just had one.  The obvious difference is we are currently traveling full time, living in an RV as we make our way around the US this year. The less noticeable difference- one that I haven’t shared much about yet, is how different Wallace is from his siblings when it comes to milestones.

I’m excited to team up with Beech-Nut® Naturals™ for this sponsored post to tell you about one way I’m feeding my baby this year with their real food for babies™, inspired by homemade.

He’s developing a bit slower when it comes to speech, but we aren’t super concerned… yet. He’s probably got at least 15 solid words that we can understand, which is slightly above the minimum for hitting that milestone at this age, and he clearly knows exactly what we’re talking about and asking him. We could say, “Go pick up that blue ball under the red basket in the other room,” and he’d do exactly that.

But ask him to repeat something after you? Yeah, he’s not going to. Ask him what a dog says? Nope, not gonna try.

Beyond the slower and more stubborn speech, he’s also much slower to try new foods. My other children were adventurous eaters by this age, but Wallace will pick and nibble and then insist on nursing or drinking whole milk. He probably gets most of his calories from milk still. It’s honestly frustrating some days.

The only real way we can count on him getting some veggies and fruit is with purees, like Beech-Nut Naturals. He will suck them down. He’s been loving jarred purees mixed with steamed brown rice.

We mix that up and entice him to eat as much as he can at his own little table. He loves feeling like a big boy, and sitting at this table seems to trick him into eating more.

When my first was a baby, I made all of his baby food, and I’m glad I got to experience that. But, that’s not been a realistic endeavor for me with Wallace. So from the moment he showed he was ready to try solids, we’ve been stocking our pantry with Beech-Nut Naturals. They are 100% natural, nothing artificial, made with the same ingredients I used when I had time to make homemade baby food. They even have an organic line.

For those wondering, we dabble in baby-lead weaning, but it’s always been an unnecessary source of anxiety for me, and Wallace has never showed interest in it. He would rather eat purees from day one, and he obviously still loves them.

So I’m guilt-free feeding him what he will happily eat, and doing what I can to help him spark some new words, but also reminding myself that comparing him to the other kids isn’t necessary. He’s his own person. And while his language may be taking time to blossom, and his food preferences may be a bit maddening, his physical coordination is super impressive.

He has been scaling anything and everything since he could pull up, and his new favorite perch is atop that table so he can join us at the island.

We call him Danger Baby for a reason, y’all.

Of course, I’ll bring all of this up with his pediatrician. We hope to head back to Texas soon for a couple weeks just so we can get appointments in. Hopefully by then he’ll have a few more words and he’ll be branching out and enjoying some other Beech-Nut Naturals toddler meal hacks- like this sweet potato pasta: 

I would love to hear from you if your baby’s speech developed at a slower pace. I’m not sure what he’s experiencing is technically a speech delay at this point, but I do know if it comes to that there are early intervention resources to help us. Beyond that, though, do you have any tips for encouraging more words from a not quite 2 year old? Or, in your experience, has it been a wait and see situation? I’m kinda expecting he’ll wake up one day and start in on a monologue and surprise us all.

Thanks to Beech-Nut Naturals for sponsoring this, and for being a baby food I have felt good about feeding Wallace from the time he first tasted solids. You can find them in your nearest grocery store for your own babies- just look for the signature honey-pot shaped glass jars with the green lids.

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  1. Yes my 4th baby is almost the same age as Wallace and is not talking nearly at all. Especially if I compare him to his brother who was taking full sentences like an adult by this age. He is eating solids now that we’ve fully weaned from breast but he is very picky. He would prefer to drink his meals still wether that be chocolate milk or juice. We do limit it but at the end of the day I need him to have something so we are only up twice at night instead of every 2 hours?

    • Girl, soooooo much that. I do my best to limit the bottle, but when I know I can get him to suck down enough milk before bedtime so I can get a solid 6 hours of sleep in before he wakes and asks to nurse, it’s very hard to turn that down.

  2. I wouldn’t worry at all about his speech! In my experience as a toddler teacher, a LOT of boys wouldn’t start saying many words until they hit the two year mark. Of course there were outliers on either side-some not talking until even later but still being within the “normal” range for development. After having a daughter who started talking at age one (and not stopping since) and then having a son who didn’t start saying actual words until around two (who is now almost three and speaks in full sentences), I can understand the concern or wondering if Wallace has a speech delay, but I truly wouldn’t worry! If he’s got some words you guys can understand and is clearly comprehending things, his spoken language will catch up!

  3. My little man was speech delayed, albeit for probably other reasons. (He did not have as much understanding of what we said as what you describe.) But the feeding and speech could actually be related in your case–a slight oral motor issue could be to blame for both, and, the good news is that they make special utensils to help kids develop the muscles they need to eat and speak. It would be worth checking into an evaluation sooner rather than later, so that he doesn’t get frustrated.

    • So good to know about the utensils! I’ll look for those. Any you recommend? And yes, as soon as we settle back down from this road adventure early next year, I’m happy to get him signed up for EI if it appears he’ll need it. Thank you!

  4. My third talked later than her siblings and I was worried because I was constantly told girls talk sooner than boys. In the end the pediatrician agreed that she wasn’t talking because no made her, she had older siblings to do everything for her ?. I think you have the right mindset, every kid is different…hope you guys make your way through MA on the way back to Texas!

  5. Mine is almost 18 months. She was late in talking, but also walked at about 16 months and since then her speech has improved. We were told that would probably happen after the walking since they tend to focus on one big thing at a time. She also has a mild hearing loss, so we were told with any loss at all there WILL be a delay. Because of that, she is in Early Intervention. That being said, she has 2 cousins who are a year older (one on my husband’s side, one on my side). Both were not saying much at 2 and they hear fine. And from what you’ve said about Wallace, I dunno, maybe like mine and the walking… Maybe he’s more interested in gross motor skills than verbalizing? Just thoughts.

  6. That was my boys with speech. Just after two both of them just hit a speech explosion and “caught up”. Till then it seemed like they felt the words and signs they had were getting it done and they had better stuff to put their energy into learning.

  7. Dang, this is timely. I just showed my husband your recent Day in the Life video on Happy Loud Life to say ‘see, their big bouistrous climb anything toddler isn’t really talking a ton either’.

    My son is ~2 months younger than Wallace (but was 34&1 so should have been closer to 4 months younger) and struggling with speech too. He’s a first child so no older siblings explanation either. He’s been in ECI for a year now, but was originally placed for physical milestones. He made soo so so much progress with that (especially towards the end) and is now ahead of the curve there, without adjusting his age. I loved (and miss) our OT. Speech has been an entirely different story and we just can’t seem to make any real progress. If anything he’s regressed slightly here and there (but we’re hoping some of that was mastering walking and becoming a gogogo baby).

    I don’t really have any advice other than take the various advice with a grain of salt, because we’ve tried so many different things with no real luck. Most of them recommended to us by professionals. Super discouraging. We’ve also gotten very different stories on how bad the problem actually is. His three main speech focused evals came in with ~6 months difference in terms of his score.

    I wish I had better advice to offer or really anything other than ‘(pretty much) same’ but I don’t :c I wish you luck though and maybe you’ll have more luck with EI/ECI should you choose to go that route.

    • Oh darn. Hate to hear you’re struggling with this, too! I think I don’t really have a choice but to wait and see for another 6-ish months because that’s about how long we’re expecting to be on the road for still. I am super hoping by the time we settle it’s NBD, but if it’s still an issue, I am hoping that waiting just a bit longer to get EI going won’t be a problem. Thanks for chiming in! (And thanks for following us on HLL!)

  8. Our 2nd kid skreached from birth to age 3. Probably spoke 10 words, but like Wallace you could tell he heard you, understood, and was capable of following through.

    He also wasn’t a fan of solid foods but nursing kept his growth on target.

    At just over age 3 I took him to be screened for services by our school district. By then he was speaking a lot more and was found to be on par for his age.

    He’s now a know-it-all chatty 6 year old that is known to wolf down three servings at dinner.

  9. I’ve had two kiddos with speech delay and one with feeding issues, and I will say that a really good resource is the blog Your Kid’s Table. It’s written by a pediatric OT and she has a lot of helpful advice, especially with regard to transitioning to table food.

  10. My first kiddo tried so hard to produce speech, but just couldn’t shape his mouth the correct way. He started speech therapy at 2, but didn’t show any real gains until he hit 3 (he still needed speech therapy at that point, but he was actually making progress finally!). My second kiddo flat our refused to attempt to speak. I knew it was something she was doing on purpose (she’d occasionally try to say words if it was calm and nobody but me was around, but if she felt like she was being put on the spot she clammed up) so I gave her until age 3 (when I knew who to call and how the system worked to get her involved in speech therapy at our local elementary school). She did end up needing speech therapy to work on some sounds, but sure enough, at age 3 she went from not speaking to not stopping speaking (and now sometimes our biggest problem is getting her to BE QUIET AND LISTEN!) 😉 Our third has hit almost all of his milestones a bit later than average, and I decided that our kids just talk and potty train shortly after they turn 3, so I’ve given him the same deadline as the last one 😉 He talks up a storm but his articulation is poor, so when he turns 3 I’ll make ANOTHER appointment for an assessment (at least I know all the people involved in the process!) and I have a feeling he’ll end up in speech therapy as well. But just like Wallace, my kiddos all had FANTASTIC receptive language skills and never had any issues understanding how to use language (hahaha, they just don’t speak clearly enough that anybody understands them but me!) so as far as issues to go, I think cleaning up their expressive language has been one I’m okay with 😉

  11. Hey Jill! We also have four kiddos and you and I were pregnant at the same time with our littles. My second was a bit of a late talker and I freaked out over nothing. So when my third (our only girl) wasn’t talking at 18 months I was chill about it. Turns out she has Apraxia and a whole lot of other issues like sensory processing disorder. Not to freak you out, just to inform you, but look for signs of oral Apraxia now: trouble making kissy face, can’t blow bubbles or candles. I didn’t know this and it could have gotten us started with therapy sooner. Sensory issues with eating can also be related to low tone in their mouths. I sincerely hope that W is much like my second and not my third but having been through it I just wanted to reach out to you and I would be glad to share a million resources if you suspect this could be the case. I listed my blog in the website category and if you click on Apraxia category and go to the oldest post there are some great resources from when we were getting R diagnosed. The cool thing about traveling around the country is that you could take your pick of awesome specialists and just go straight to the experts versus wasting time with peds who literally know nothing about Apraxia and will almost certainly tell you not to freak out like mine did. Big hugs mama!

    • Melanie Finlay on

      My 2nd was slightly speech delayed but not enough to have therapy. But in his assessment, the speech therapist told me to have him practice bubbles and use straws for sippy cups to help strengthen the oral muscles.

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