As your baby grows and develops, they achieve countless milestones that are incredibly special to witness, especially for first-time parents. Unfortunately, being around to see each and every milestone can be nearly impossible, and for working parents, there are many that will be missed. This can cause extreme guilt, sadness, and anxiety for parents. It may even make you feel like a bad parent. The good news is, that you are not alone. The truth of the matter is that most parents will inevitably miss out on some of their baby’s milestones and because of that, we have compiled some tips and tricks to help alleviate this feeling of guilt and keep moving forward.
What Are The Milestones?
As we mentioned, your baby will experience a wide range of milestones in the first year or two of their life. These milestones occur most often during specific age ranges, although there is always variance based on individual babies. Some of the most exciting and prominent milestones are:
- By 4 months, babies will have had their first smile and laugh. They may also be able to roll over to their back and begin to babble.
- By 6 months, they may be able to respond to their own name, support their own leg weight, and feed themselves.
- By 9 months, they might be able to crawl, use their fingers to point at objects, recognize their parents quickly, and understand the words yes and no.
- By 1 year, babies will likely have said their first whole word, taken their first steps, drank from a cup by themselves, and waved goodbye.
Remember, not all babies will hit these milestones at the exact time frames you see above. These guidelines are a generalization based on average development. If you have any concerns, it is suggested to consult your pediatrician.
Understand That It Happens
One of the most important things to remember is that these things happen. Between working, exercising, socializing, and taking much needed mental health breaks, you simply can not be by your baby’s side every second of the day. It is crucial to remember that you are only human and that your baby will continue to achieve milestones over the next few years. Parenting guilt is a very real phenomenon, and unfortunately, it does not benefit anyone to feel this negativity. Guilt is an emotion that is designed to stem from causing harm. The reality is that missing out on a milestone causes absolutely no harm to your baby. Though it can be challenging, it is essential to remember this for your own mental health.
How To Compensate For Missing Out
Because there is no way to go back in time, the best way to compensate for missing out on milestones is by remaining positive and continuing to move forward. Choosing to focus on what you are able to witness and letting go of what you missed is the best way to achieve a sense of peace.
For example, you may be busy doing essential upkeep of the home and miss your baby stringing together their first couple syllables. While this may seem monumental at the moment, you should remind yourself that you were occupied doing things that benefit the whole family. Choosing to shift negative, unkind thoughts into positive, gentle thoughts will make you happier, which is crucial for a developing baby to observe. This lesson alone will help compensate for any missed moments you experience.
Also, doing your best to ensure your baby is happy and comfortable is your most important job as a parent. One great way to achieve this is by investing in high-quality products for your baby. Often, diapers and wipes can contain harsh ingredients that can cause irritation and discomfort. Shopping for your baby essentials like cotton diapers and sensitive baby wipes should be done with trustworthy companies to ensure the safety and quality of the products. Using top-notch items like these ensure your baby is cozy, clean, and comfortable. This small but vital step can allow you to make the most of your time with your little one.
The most important aspect to remember is that you are doing your very best and that guilt is not benefiting you or your baby. Making informed choices about the products you are using, focusing on the positives, making the most of your time together, and giving yourself grace are the best ways to ensure you are present and soaking up each moment. It is normal to feel like you could always be doing better, and this is what truly makes a great parent.