Friday, April 21, 2017

Why I Stopped Obsessing About Baby Milestones

I stopped obsessing with hitting milestones and it has helped with my anxiety... a lot. New moms like myself see milestones as a form of assurance that baby is thriving. To some degree, yes, absolutely. However, each child is different and they grow and learn new things in their own time - all we can do is guide and help them along the way.

Aside from measuring baby’s development with every milestone, there’s also this unsaid connection of hitting milestones as mom’s (and dad’s) personal gauge of success that they’re doing parenthood correctly.

Honestly, I beat myself too much for every little thing. I work a full-time job as a digital marketing professional and being in a demanding, fast-paced industry, I have a lot in my mind but I obviously prioritize my role as a mother. When St. Patrick’s Day came rolling in, I didn’t think much of it and brought Mikey to daycare only to realize that everyone else was wearing green in honor of the holiday…. All except my son. Thankfully, we accidentally took the bright green binky with us. Must have been our lucky day. And, as you can imagine, I was relentless on myself and was bummed about forgetting to dress him up according to the occasion. I know he does not care at all. But still. How could I have allowed him to be the only one not dressed in green?

The luck of the Non-Irish: Forgetting to dress up my baby in green on St. Patrick’s Day but picking up the right colored pacifier. 

If little things like forgetting to dress him up for St. Patrick’s Day already gets into my mom guilt (and we’re not even Irish), what more a "delayed" milestone?

I am fortunate enough to have mommy friends who gave birth around the same time as I did. Having this support system allows us to share relatable moments (sleep deprivation, tummy time woes) and assure us that what we are experiencing is normal in this journey called parenthood. However, the downside is that we all secretly measure our own child against each other’s kids – not to compete, but more to assure that we’re doing things right.

Have you caught yourself think of things like, "Her daughter is sitting and crawling at 5 months while my son is barely rolling over. Is there something wrong with him? Is there something that I’m not doing?"

I know I have and it has led to endless (unnecessary) googling on when babies normally start to sit up.

One day, I just decided to let it go and let him grow the way he wants to. We all know he is growing fine and it’s just a matter of time before he sits without assistance. So, instead of sweating about it, we just took it a day at a time, guided him as needed with the help of the Bumbo chair.

Then one day, he just decided to sit. And sit he did. He got so into it that sometimes, he would whine when he is not sitting.

Our big boy!

According to Dr. Google (and our own Pediatrician), babies sit up around the 5 ~ 8-month mark. Some babies do it earlier and some, later. So, Mikey fell into what’s statistically normal. Mikey is not hyperactive and temperament wise, he’s easygoing, rarely cries and is more an observer than a doer. So, taking his growing personality into consideration, he is perfectly fine.

In my opinion, it does not matter when a baby hits his milestones for as long as he hits them. At the end of the day, they will all grow up and sitting up and walking won’t be such big deals and we will all feel funny about worrying in the first place.

On a proud note, Mikey started sleeping through the night at 3 months, a milestone that has helped us SO MUCH!

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