Milestones for Your Baby

Do you find yourself wondering how you should be working with your baby and what you should be working on? I am not a big fan of setting hard and fast rules on what your baby should be able to do or know, but it is certainly helpful to have an idea of what your baby needs to know when as well as what you should be working on with your little one.

Too often, however, moms fret because their babies aren’t developing right along schedule with the “average” baby (I always wonder who decides this average anyway?). My encouragement to you is to work consistently with your baby toward these goals but not to stress if they don’t meet them right on time. There are many factors that come into play when it comes to your baby’s development, and these factors can impact different parts of their development.

Some development depends on your baby’s size. Skills that require physical strength can be a little harder for bigger babies because they have more body weight to move or stabilize when it comes to skills such as rolling over or sitting up. Babies also tend to develop at different rates in different areas. Some may develop physical skills faster, such as rolling over, sitting up, walking, crawling, etc., and others may develop verbal and other communication skills faster.

Keep in mind that it is rare that any baby develops at the same rate of an “average” baby. Unless your baby seems to be very delayed in an area, it should not cause for concern. Just concentrate on working with them in developing the skill in which they are behind. However, if your baby seems to be having difficulty achieving certain skills and is months behind the average baby, it is certainly worth having a conversation with your doctor at your baby’s next checkup.

Remember that each baby is unique. While average is a good guide, no one is truly “average,” including your baby. Don’t stress over making sure your little one meets milestones on time. Just work with them faithfully, and as in most cases where development is slightly delayed in an area, you will find that your baby will eventually achieve the milestone and no one will ever know there was a delay. Don’t give in to the temptation to compare your little one with others around you. Your baby is unique and made just the way he or she was meant to be.

5 Things You Can Do with Your Infant

As a new mom, when I had my first child, I sometimes found myself a bit bored. I had chosen to be a stay-at-home mom, which was a decision I did not regret, but there were definitely days that went very slowly before Carter was old enough to enjoy a trip to the park or a play date with his other little baby friends. I found myself struggling to fill the days at times, so I set out to find things that Carter and I could do together to help fill the time. Here are some of the things we did:

  1. We read. This may seem obvious to some of you, but it wasn’t to me at first. Now, I know that it really is never too early to read to your children. It is so good for their development! Not only do they see the picture and hear the words, but they learn to sit still in your lap for a period of time, which helps tremendously at church, restaurants, and other places where your little one will need to be still and quiet for a bit.
  2. We went for walks and bike rides. I needed the exercise, and I think we both needed the fresh air. Walks and bike rides helped me stay in shape, but they were also entertaining for Carter. It is definitely worth investing in a good jogging stroller and bike carrier at your local Babies R Us. Biking and walking allowed us to easily go exploring together throughout our town.
  3. We went for coffee dates. I have always loved small town coffee shops, so I decided to plan a “coffee date day” once a week. At first, Carter was too young to get anything, but as he got older, he looked forward to his coffee shop muffin each week. Our once a week coffee dates have continued as I have had more children, and it is by far the highlight of our week. So glad I started this tradition when Carter was tiny!
  4. We went to the park. Carter might have been too small to slide or swing, but we went to the park anyway. At the park, I was able to meet other moms. Some of them had babies Carter’s age and some had older babies, but I met some of my best friends at the local park. It wasn’t long before Carter was old enough to have fun playing at the park, but at first, he was just glad for the fresh air and change of scenery, but that’s okay too.
  5. We went shopping. Carter and I did all kinds of shopping when he was a baby. Sometimes it was Walmart for groceries, and other times it was Kohl’s for clothes. I am so glad I did this because as he got older, he was used to shopping with me. He still had his issues, but because he had been shopping with me since babyhood, he is still very easy to shop with today.

The main thing I learned was that even if a baby is too young to really participate in an activity, they can still tag along. It will not only help them to enjoy the activity later, but it also helps them grow and develop. If you’re a stay-at-home mom or even just home on maternity leave, don’t feel like you’re stuck inside with your little one. Incorporate them into everyday life things. It will be good for them, but it will be especially good for you.

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

Have you ever heard this saying? It really is true that comparison steals our joy. Whether we are comparing our possessions, our families, or even our own selves, comparison causes us to become discontent with what we have and who we are and prefer what someone else has. The problem with this is that we do not see the day in and day out of most other peoples’ lives.

Social media has compounded the comparison problem because it allows us to share only the parts of our lives that we want others to see. We tend to share our accomplishments and good days but be silent about our disappointments and bad days. While social media can be very good, we need to keep in perspective that peoples’ lives are only half as good as what they share on Facebook. Remember that you don’t fully know what’s going on behind the scenes in that friend’s life, but it is a guarantee that she has many of the same realities of life that you do.

I doubt that friend you are tempted to compare yourself to is what she appears to be on Facebook. That’s not necessarily due to any fault of her own. It’s just that Facebook is not the appropriate place to share the difficult things most of the time. That friend with the seemingly perfect life still has sleepless nights with her baby. She still has days when she doesn’t want to get out of bed or maybe doesn’t even shower or change out of her pajamas all day. And perhaps the most surprising thing to remember about that friend is that it is almost a guarantee that she has times when she feels insecure and inadequate when it comes to motherhood. She is also tempted to compare herself to others in stead of making the most of every moment with her family.

If you find yourself looking at others and wishing you were more like them, please do yourself a favor and remind yourself that they are human too. Remember also that your seemingly “perfect” friends are also tempted to compare themselves to others, maybe even you. Reach out to them, even if you feel unsure or insecure. Be willing to do life with them and to remind them that they are unique and that comparing themselves with other moms is like comparing apples and oranges.

The truth is that every woman is tempted to compare herself to other women. However, that is not how it should be. This is not to say that you can’t admire other women, but don’t model your life after anyone else’s. Your unique strengths are weaknesses are what make you yourself. If everyone were just alike, the world would be a boring place. This is not to say that you shouldn’t try to better yourself or learn from other women. You absolutely should, but look to keep a healthy balance between admiration and comparison.