*Authors Note: This post was originally featured on my old personal blog, Sew Thus is Life. Find it here.
6/12/18: I wrote this post over a week ago. I sat on it, started writing a completely different and unrelated post because I initially felt this was just too silly and nobody would take me seriously, or worse yet, further agree that my feelings were ridiculous and be dismissive. However after rereading my own words I felt a therapeutic release to get my feelings and thoughts out to the world (and I'm sure my therapist would agree.) There is absolutely another mom out there who thinks like I did, a simple Google search of "my baby is ____ months old and still not____" or "my baby is doing xyz, is this normal?" shows this. We all want the best for our babies, and I want moms to know that YOUR BABY IS FINE, 99% of the time. If you have serious concerns that something IS NOT right with your baby, or they are not meeting milestones at all/ well after their peers, please consult your pediatrician or reach out to your state/ county Early Intervention Program. These services can put you in touch with occupational therapists, speech pathologists, and other specialists that can more accurately determine if your child needs extra help. I'll list a few local contacts below.
Have you ever played Taboo?
Its a favorite of my family's, and ultimately people hate playing against us because we can
get incredibly competitive. Our strategy is to really know your partner and give clues you know only THEY will get, even if they're the ONLY person who will get it. It always works, we always win. But this isn't about the game, its about something moms do to ourselves that's incredibly damaging, taboo, and counterproductive; yet I think we've all fallen prey to it at some point, and that's milestone jealousy, baby jealousy, whatever you want to call it. My husband thinks I'm crazy for it, but my very real anxiety sometimes causes me to doubt if I'm doing the right things to encourage my baby's development. The proverbial green- eyed monster makes me consciously and subconsciously pit my princess to all the other cute lil babies all over my timelines (social media definitely is a root cause of this,) and even with me celebrating her accomplishments I wonder "Is she on track?" "Should I consider her ADJUSTED age since she was early? It was barely 3 weeks, does that even MATTER?" "Am I being as ridiculous as my husband says I am?" Am I? Yes. Maybe. Are these thoughts unfounded? Most likely. Is my baby where she needs to be? Again, more than likely.
Being a new mom makes life a lot like the game of Taboo. A lot of guessing from a partner (your little one) who cant say much, with people all in your ear also making terrible guesses. But ultimately, you gotta trust your partner will give you the right clues to get it right. My daughter is happy and healthy. She's laid back and even tempered. Most parents would be pleased. I was reading the blog for Can Do Kiddo (a YouTube channel I occasionally watch) and the mom talks about her own insecurities with her baby- and she's an occupational therapist. She also gave smaller, but equally important milestones to look for and clue you that the big, Facebook post worthy milestone is coming. Reading this eased my overactive mind and reassured I'm doing the best for my baby girl, and she'll do what she wants when she's good and ready. Babies are not one age fits all, and there's such a wide range of normal. My 8 month old sleeps through the night beautifully, but I'm sure there's a mama tearing her hair out because her 14 month old is up every 2.5 hours. So she can't crawl yet, but she's well on her way. Jealousy, be gone.
[Nugget literally started doing a very funky, Lieutenant Dan- style Army crawl the DAY AFTER I originally wrote this post. As most babies do, she needs a little incentive to start, which is usually my phone or the remote control. Now I have to constantly watch her because she's liable to launch herself off the bed.]
I'm a mom of two amazing little girls. The oldest who was a baby when I wrote the original post is a daredevil who thinks she can be a dancer, gymnast, and aerial stunt person all at the same damn time. My 21 month old is the kid who doesn't sleep and wakes up for boob every 2.5 hours (I jinxed myself). As a parent of multiple kids its easy to WANT to compare your kids, but the reality is they are two complete individuals, and comparing when they did things truly just sets you up for frustration and possibly resentment. If you're concerned about your little one's development, the best thing you can do is request and advocate for them to be screened by the appropriate service or be referred to a developmental pediatrician.
You can also check out my new course, "Teethers, Cruisers, Walkers, and Talkers" exclusive to the Lactation Private Practice Essentials Course: Clinical Complexities in Private Practice, which covers the role of the lactation consultant in infant developmental milestones.
Have you worried about your baby's development? Did you ever feel the green- eyed monster of milestone jealousy? How did you overcome it? Leave your comments and lets chat about it!
Further local resources:
Prince George's County Infants and Toddlers 301-925-6627
Montgomery County (MD) Infants and Toddlers 240-777-3997
State of Maryland (Links to all 23 MD counties and the City of Baltimore)
District of Columbia- Strong Start DC
Outside of the DMV consult your local public school system or social services department to learn about Early Intervention in your area.