When you have a little one, it’s really easy to get fixated on baby milestones. We worry about whether our little ones are rolling over at the right time, whether they’re walking when they “should” be, whether they’re holding their head up at the right time. Is that really a smile or is it just wind? But every child is different, and there are no hard and fast rules.
We’ve all seen the photos on Instagram. The perfectly cute child with the perfect photo celebrating the perfect baby milestone. The combination of social media and the rise in popularity of milestone cards mean every parent’s feed is littered with these images. And we love baby milestone cards as much as the next parent. They’re a great way to share with family what our little one is getting up to – how they’re growing and what type of humans they’re turning into. But sometimes, these milestone moments can create a pressure parents don’t need.
Whether you’re raising a kid with SEN, or maybe your babe is more of a bumshuffler than a crawler. Perhaps you’re struggling with post-natal depression and are feeling guilty for missing the “big” baby milestones. Sometimes, we feel like baby milestone moments are just another opportunity for parental guilt to seep in and pit “good” babies against “bad” babies. But there’s no such thing. Babies are babies and they’ll do their own thing at their own pace. Neither you or they are failing if they don’t hit the milestones when they “should”.
While it’s important to keep an eye out for certain developmental markers which might indicate if your little one needs a bit more support, closely watching a checklist or calendar of developmental milestones can be really stressful if your child is perfectly healthy but isn’t developing at the same rate as others of a similar age.
So we got to thinking about the baby milestones we can “celebrate” that don’t focus on development. The tiny moments that every parent can mark without feeling like they’re falling behind or pulling ahead, because raising a child isn’t a race. It’s a collection of moments laced with bodily fluids, sleepless nights, snotty noses, highs, lows, tears and laughs. These milestone moments are real parenthood in all their gory glory and we think they’re just as important to recognise as when our bambinos stand up for the first time or hit their six month old mark.
We’ll still be taking the insta-worthy shot to shout about the first time our baby sleeps through the night. We’ll probably still rave about Baby’s first tooth and we’ll definitely be snapping away the first time they sit up. But we’ll be marking the more mundane too.
Because life isn’t always Instagram ready.