Don't Let Milestone Expectations Panic You

baby on sideWhile I was pregnant, I heard many times that twins were always just a smidge behind other kids when it came to hitting their milestones. Knowing this, I swore that I wouldn't let it make me crazy, that I would be totally cool if they were the last of their friends to roll or crawl or walk.

And then, there I was in my twins' group, watching as all of these twosomes who were the same age as my boys -- many preemies -- were rolling all over the place, pushing up their chests, and even showing signs that they were ready to crawl. Meanwhile, my boys would only occasionally roll in one direction (different directions, I should add) and seemed to show no interest in moving at all. Of course, I couldn't help but panic a little. Were my boys just lazy? Was something wrong with them? Should I be concerned?


As if that wasn't enough, I had started one of my little babies in physical therapy again for torticollis, a condition in which the neck muscle is a little tight on one side, creating a head tilt. It's common in twins and not a big deal, if you do the physical therapy and are diligent about doing the stretching exercises at home. But, our physical therapist, as physical therapists often do, was quick to remind me of all of the things my 6-month-old wasn't doing. He's not as strong as he should be, he should be rolling to the right more, he should be pushing up, he should be sitting unassisted. Should be, should be, should be. When you sit there listening to all of the things your baby isn't doing that he "should be," you can't help but let the panic set in. Why isn't he stronger? Is it because he's chubby? I thought he was getting enough tummy time, but maybe he should have gotten more. What does it all meaaaaaaaaan?!

Well, as I found out, literally, just a few days after that appointment, it all meant a whole lotta nothing. Within the last few weeks, both of my twins have started rolling both ways with ease, and one can even sit up unassisted. Boo-ya! Sure, maybe it's a little later than a lot of their peers, but so what, they got there!

Still, I'm going to have to remember this over the next several months, and maybe for the years to come. My babies may crawl and stand and walk later than their peers as well. Their large heads and chubby bodies certainly aren't going to help with that either. But I'm going to have to have faith that they'll ultimately hit their milestones.

What I'm realizing as a first-time Mom, and especially one with two babies, is that you can't help but compare your little ones to their peers. It's not so much that you want them to be "better" -- you just want them to be normal, on track. What I'm also realizing now though is how quickly things change. Like, they change every day! One minute I was thinking my lazy baby was never going to roll, and now he's flipping and flopping all over like a man-baby on a mission.

A friend of mine told me a story about how she was so anxious for her daughter's 6-month pediatrician visit because the baby hadn't rolled in either direction yet, mostly because she absolutely hated tummy time. So, as my Mom friend is standing there, telling the doctor that her little girl hadn't started rolling yet, her doctor interrupted her and said, "Oh, you mean, like that?" My friend turned around to see her daughter rolling all the way across the table (don't worry, the nurse was with her).

My point being that things change really quickly with babies and they learn quickly, one skill building on the next in record time. So, try not to panic if your baby isn't doing what he or she is "supposed to be doing" at 6 months or 8 months or a year, whatever those magic ages are. Your doctor will let you know if there's really cause for concern, but come tomorrow, your baby will likely be doing things you never thought he or she would do.

Have you let milestone panic get you down?

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