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Milestone Anxiety

Managing Milestone Anxiety

Although you've probably heard it over and over again, we think it's worth repeating: Each baby develops at his or her own pace, so don't compare your baby with anyone else's. This can be incredibly difficult, if not impossible. Instead of comparing babies, focus on similarities, and remind yourself of the wonderful things your baby can do.
Remember that averages are just that: averages. We wouldn't expect every baby to weigh the same average amount; we shouldn't expect babies to reach milestones at exactly the same time, either. Also realize that depending on where you look (for instance, which Web site, which book, or which pediatrician), you'll find vastly different averages for most milestones. Don't pick the very earliest one (or the very latest one, either), but rather something in the middle.
If baby development e-mails cause you anxiety, consider unsubscribing. After all, the e-mails won't speed up your baby's development; they'll just cause you more worry. If you're worried about an upcoming doctor visit, remind yourself that if a doctor is concerned about an aspect of your baby's development, this does not imply you've failed as a parent or that you are doing something wrong.
Remember that additional testing or special services (like physical therapy or developmental assessments) can help rule out problems and provide reassurance if nothing is wrong or can help identify and treat the condition if there is a problem.
Some parents find the following exercise useful: Imagine another child having the same developmental issue, and imagine what you would think and say to the parents. For instance, if you're worried that your baby isn't speaking well yet, imagine a friend coming to you with the same concern about his or her own child. Most likely, you will think that the parent is simply being overly anxious and that everything will be fine. Or, imagine what you will say about the missed milestone in 10 or 20 years, and how it most likely will be just a unique quirk, not something that turned out to be a serious problem.
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