Tips to Track Milestones
by Janay from Tennessee
Whether you are anticipating your baby’s first ‘nothing but gums’ smile or anxiously waiting for him to take his first step, some baby milestones can bring overwhelming joy while others can drive you completely insane. And if you have a career in early childhood like me, you probably are as hypervigilant about your baby reaching every milestone “on-time.” One would think I would be a lot more level-headed about my own child, but the truth is, no matter how much you study or how many times you call the pediatrician, it’s completely normal to worry about your baby. In fact, it would be stranger if you didn’t worry at all.
When we first brought Junior home, all I wanted in the world was for my son to latch without any problems. The thing is, we had spent the last three days in the hospital for observation, so I guess you can say I was spoiled by all the support from the on-duty lactation specialist. Once we got home, and the lactation specialist was no longer there, I panicked. “How did she say to hold him?” “Why won’t he just latch?!” “I will never get this right.”
In hindsight, I realize that both me and my sweet baby boy weren’t doing anything wrong, we were just working up to achieving our first milestone together; accomplishing a good latch with no help.
You see, the beauty in achieving milestones is everyone can get in on it. If it were not for the lactation specialist, I wouldn’t have known where to start. If it weren’t for my amazing boyfriend’s encouragement, I would have given up. And if it were not for my son’s sweet face, I would have never even tried. From that point on, I realized that putting pressure on my son to achieve certain goals was counterproductive. Instead, I teach him how to do it, I encourage him to keep trying, and I make sure I am right there to motivate him with enthusiasm and love.
Here are five tips on tracking your baby’s milestones:
Be Patient. Often, parents are more in a hurry for our children to do things than they are. They will reach the goal when they are fully ready.
Be Encouraging. Even adults tend to get frustrated when we can’t seem to get it right. A little encouragement goes a long way.
Be Realistic. Too high expectations are a formula for disaster for you and your child. It may help to research an age-appropriate milestone timeline.
Be Creative. The best way to help children reach milestones is by utilizing their favorite things. If you want to help your child eat better, try having dinner with her favorite toy as a guest. Say things like, “Wow, Mr. Bear loves his spaghetti! He wants you to try yours, too!”
Be Open-Minded. If you feel you have tried everything to help your child reach a certain milestone, try talking to your child’s primary care provider about intervention options.
This blog was written by one of our guest bloggers, Janay.
I’m from Memphis, TN. My son is 10 months old, and we’ve been with WIC since he was about 3 months. I work for Tennessee Early Intervention System, so I know milestones all too well - so this was the perfect blog. I hope you enjoy!
Want more information on this topic? wichealth.org has a free online lesson series called Milestones Matter. Find all 5 lessons in this series on wichealth.org in the Understanding Developmental Milestones category!