To the mama stressing about her baby hitting milestones—I see you

We enjoy the moments with our little ones and let them develop on their own time.

To the mama stressing about her baby hitting milestones—I see you

When will they start smiling?
When will they start laughing?
When will they finally roll over?
Are they reaching all their milestones?

It's so easy as first-time parents to become fixated on all the things your baby needs to do or "should" be doing by a certain age. Especially if we see that other babies their age are already doing it. We ask ourselves things like, "Their baby is grabbing his feet, why isn't mine?"In fact, we get so caught up on things like that, that sometimes we forget to just enjoy the moments.

Like the first moment I ever heard my daughter laugh.

She was in her sit-me-up and I was making faces at her, enjoying some time while my husband was working on his music. I didn't do anything out of the ordinary and yet she laughed. Even my husband heard it from across the room at his desk. I was overjoyed, and my husband even came over to see for himself. She was smiling afterward and I tried to get her to do it again but instead, she just kept smiling. Her laugh was the most beautiful thing I'd ever heard and I couldn't wait to hear it again.

Only, I have yet to hear it again and it's been weeks.

I tried everything, including tickling her and making silly faces but all she did was smile. I was desperate to check it off her list of milestones but I didn't know if I could or not because it had only happened once. She hasn't done it again since that day.

So, I stared at that marker on the milestone checklist and debated. Had she really accomplished it? Should I check it off of my list or should I wait? To make matters even more confusing, a few of my friends had babies around my daughter's age and they were already socially laughing. Which meant I had a choice to make, should I stress about it or should I just check off the milestone list and wait?

I checked it off and chose to enjoy the social smiles while I waited for her to laugh again.

The same thing happened again when she rolled over for the first time. It was during her usual tummy time routine. She, of course, was getting frustrated and wanted to be placed on her back.

I saw that she was trying to maneuver herself into a position where she could roll over without assistance. I brought it to my husband's attention and we just watched and waited. She got to her side with no problem but to go all the way to her back was proving more difficult than she had anticipated. All she had to do was throw her leg back and, hopefully, her body would follow. She kept swiveling her hips and leg back so that she could, hopefully, roll over. I resisted the urge to help her, she was so close. It took a little while but, several attempts later, she finally did it.

I could have wept with joy; my baby was officially rolling over by herself. A milestone that I had been waiting for her to accomplish and kind of stressing over prior to this point. I knew that was the end of productive tummy times but the beginning of a new stage. The rolling stage, segue, of course, to the crawling stage.

There was just one problem. Much like with the laughing milestone, she has yet to do it again. Instead, we're back to tummy time where she just decides to give up and cries until I pick her up. I find myself saying to her "You can roll over" or "Instead of just lying there, why don't you just roll over?" To say it's frustrating would be an understatement. It's downright disappointing.

We've all heard the saying "One step forward and two steps back." Well, it's no different when it comes to babies' milestones. Yes, she's reached some new ones recently, but that's not stopping her from acting like she has no idea how to accomplish them again.

So, what do we do as parents?
Do we stress out and count it an unchecked milestone?
Do we check it off and obsess over when it will happen again?
Do we worry that our babies are not developing as they should?
The answer is actually simple, we check off the milestone because, believe it or not, they've accomplished it, even if it was only once. Then we wait.

We enjoy the moments in between while they're smiling or cuddling with us before bed. We don't let our friends' babies discourage us or convince us that our baby "Should have accomplished that by now." Most importantly we don't let the milestone calendar stress us out.

We enjoy the moments with our little ones and let them develop on their own time.

You might also like:

My village lives far away—but my Target baby registry helped them support me from afar

Virtual support was the next best thing to in-person hugs

They say you shouldn't make too many major life transitions at once. But when I was becoming a mama for the first time nearly five years ago, my husband and I also moved to a new town where we didn't know a soul, bought our first house and changed jobs.

To put it mildly, we didn't heed that advice. Luckily, our family and friends still made it feel like such a magical time for us by supporting our every move (literal and otherwise) from afar. They showered us with love through a virtual baby shower (expectant parents nowadays can relate!) featuring the unwrapping of gifts they were able to ship straight to me from my Target registry.

Here's one piece of advice I did take: I registered at Target so I could take advantage of the retailer's benefits for registrants, which include a welcome kit valued over $100, a universal registry function and more. Fast-forward a few years and Target has made the registration perks even better for expectant parents: As of August 2020, they've added a Year of Exclusive Deals, which gives users who also sign up for Target Circle a full year of savings after baby is born on all those new mama essentials, from formula to diapers and beyond.

Honestly, even without the significant perks of a free welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons, additional 15% off coupons to complete the registry and a full year of free returns, registering at Target wasn't a hard sell for me: Even though the experience of shopping for baby items was new, shopping with Target felt like returning home to me… and the comfort of that was such a gift.

And of course, Target's registry plays a vital role right now, as expectant parents everywhere are being forced to cancel in-person baby showers and navigate early parenthood without the help of a hands-on village. A registry like this represents a safe way for communities to come through for new parents. If you're anything like me (or any of the other mamas here at Motherly), you certainly have emotional ties and fond memories associated with Target.

What to register for at Target was also an easy talking point as I began to connect with moms in my new community. I will always remember going on a registry-building spree with my next door neighbor, who had young children of her own. As we walked the aisles of Target back in 2015, she suggested items to add… and we laid the foundation for what has since become one of my most cherished friendships.

Even as I made connections in my new hometown, I was nervous that expecting my first baby wouldn't feel as special as if I were near family and friends. But my loved ones exceeded all expectations by adding the most thoughtful notes to gifts. They hosted a beautiful virtual baby shower and even encouraged me to keep the registry going after my baby made his debut and new needs arose.

In the years since, "community" has taken on a wonderfully complex new meaning for me… and, in these times of social distancing, for the rest of the world. I've come to cherish my newfound friends in our local community alongside those long-time friends who are scattered around the county and my virtual mama friends.

Now, as my friends' families grow, I'm so grateful that I can show them the same love and support I felt during my first pregnancy. I sing the praises of Target's baby registry—especially in light of the pandemic, since I know mamas can do everything from a distance thanks to Target's website and the added benefit of getting trusted reviews and helpful registry checklists.

And now that I'm on the gift-buying side of the equation, I've found new joy in picking thoughtful gifts for my friends. (Because goodness knows Target has something for everyone!)

For my friend who is a fellow runner, I teamed up with a few others to give the jogging stroller she had on her registry.

For my friend who is a bookworm, I helped her start her baby's library with a few books that are also well-loved in our home.

For other friends, I've bundled together complete "sets" with everything they need for bathing or feeding their children.

I know from my own experience that, yes, the registry purchases are so appreciated, but the thoughtfulness and the support they represent means even more. Because although my village may have been distant, the support they showed me was the next best thing to in-person hugs.

Start your own Target Baby Registry here to experience a Year of Benefits including a Year of Exclusive Deals through Target Circle to enjoy for a full year following your baby's arrival, a year of free returns, two 15% off completion coupons and a free welcome kit ($100 value).

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

Sorry, you can’t meet our baby yet

Thank you for understanding. ❤️

In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

Keep reading Show less

10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

Keep reading Show less