Coping With Milestone Anxiety

From your baby's first smile to his first steps, there are so many exciting milestones to look forward to. But sometimes, keeping track of them all can be a little overwhelming. And what if your baby’s not rolling by the time your friend’s baby did? Or what if she’s a late talker or walker? At what point should you actually seek help?

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Episode Transcript

Natalie Gross 0:06
Sitting. Solids. Cooing. Crawling. There are so many exciting milestones to look forward to in your baby's first year. But sometimes keeping track of them all can be a little overwhelming. And what if your baby's not rolling by the time your friend's baby did? Or what if she's a late talker or walker? At what point should you actually seek help? If you've experienced anxiety over your baby not meeting certain milestones, you are not alone. I've been there as have the moms you're going to hear from today. This is Newbies.

Natalie Gross 1:10
Welcome to Newbies. Newbies is your online on the go support group guiding new mothers through their baby's first year. I'm Natalie Gross, mom to a three year old boy and a baby girl. We've got a great show today talking about baby milestones and the anxiety that can often come with them. Now if you haven't already, be sure to visit our website at and subscribe to our weekly newsletter, which keeps you updated on all the episodes we've released each week. Another great way to stay updated is to hit that subscribe button in your podcast app. And if you're looking for a way to get even more involved with our show, then check out our membership club called Mighty Moms. That's where we chat more about the topics discussed here on the show. And it's also an easy way to learn about our recording so that maybe you can join us live. I'd like to introduce our panel of mom guests who are with us today. We have Megan Husak and Rachael Brown. We will also be meeting our expert pediatrician and mom, Dr. Mona Amin, a little later in the show as well. So mamas thank you so much for being here. And let's kick it off with some introductions. Tell us about you, your family and where you're located. Megan, do you want to go first?

Rachael Brown 2:12
Sure. I'm Megan. I have a 20, almost 21 month old little boy, me and my husband's been married for almost five years. And we live in Newport News, Virginia.

Natalie Gross 2:25
Great. Well, it's nice to have you on. Rachael, what about you?

Rachael Brown 2:28
Hi everyone, I'm Rachael. My son, Luca is almost a year here in a couple of weeks. My boyfriend and I live in Springfield, Virginia.

Natalie Gross 2:38
Great, nice to have you as well. So what have been your experiences with your babyies meeting or not meeting, you know, these traditional milestones that we talked about?

Rachael Brown 2:47
Well, my son didn't even meet the milestone of fully gestated. My anxiety started five weeks before that was supposed to happen. And it's just feeling like a race ever since. You know, I'm part of some due date groups on Facebook one for March when he was due and one for February when he was born. And his milestones are meeting with his gestational age. But then I see all these February babies doing stuff. And I'm like, Wait, my son hasn't done that. Is he supposed to do that? Why is that one saying Mama, my mind can barely say Dad, dad. So it's just been anxiety from the beginning. We were also very anxious just with feeding milestones, just getting him to drink one ounce and then two ounces and which formula is right for him because he has acid reflux and then just trying to make sure he doesn't aspirate overnight. You know, it's just these little milestones, I think that a lot of people don't talk about were the most anxiety inducing for me, to where when he would reach like a physical milestone, like crawling, I'd be like, Okay, great. Like, I feel like I had less of reaction than other people. Because I had more anxiety for many milestones, almost.

Natalie Gross 4:04
Megan, what about you?

Rachael Brown 4:06
Just to piggyback on Rachel with we knew since Ethan was born so early that he was going to be behind on things. So we were already mentally preparing us. Like, you know, he's not going to crawl right away like his normal age would. He's not gonna walk and talk everything's gonna be behind.

Natalie Gross 4:27
How early was he born, Megan?

Rachael Brown 4:29
He was born 24 weeks. Adjusted, he should only be like 18 months. So we are kind of, you know, going back and forth, but we knew like, okay, just catch up when he can. But when those milestones came, it was still like disheartening. I remember one of the first one of his visits to his pediatrician. They had us fill out a form to see like a typical what you would add, you know, how's your baby developing and for his age, and he wasn't even on it, like I was in tears crying because I'm like, this is just another reminder that my baby is behind and, quote unquote, not normal. So it was really disheartening. I mean, he crawled, he just started like, fully walking consistently within the last two months. But prior to that, like we were still crawling, you know, other kids his age, even his age, like, adjusted, were way ahead of him. And it was very disheartening. And we were constantly like, Okay, what's the next thing that we have to do? What's the next thing and didn't really get to enjoy those moments of oh, you said your first word, or, Oh, you took your first steps, it was, you know, we have to catch up, we have to catch up. Um, and it really was, like, I felt like another thing that was taken away from us since he was born so early of enjoying these milestones, and when they hit it, and then feeling like your kid is different, because he's not like little Johnny, you know, next to him who is doing all this other stuff.

Natalie Gross 6:21
So did either of us seek help or support for your baby? Like whether that's physical therapy, or, you know, food therapy, things like this? Or did you seek help for yourself to try to, you know, get that anxiety under control?

Rachael Brown 6:35
For us, our pediatrician, she was a preemie herself. And she really liked working with preemie babies. So she always gave us all of the information. But she was always like, it's not time to get help yet give him a couple more weeks. And if he didn't meet it by his gestational age, his adjusted is gestational age, then she would have given us a referral. But he did ultimately smile when he was supposed to smile, which actually that was like the first major anxiety inducing big milestone for me because he was a potato for so long. And I mean, he was like, to almost 10, 12 weeks the first time he smiled, and it wasn't even at me it was at some random lady had never seen before. Even though we were open to seeking help from outside of just started pediatrician, we never actually needed to go there. And we've been really lucky with feeding once he started tasting solids. He's like a bottomless pit. So he'll eat anything.

Rachael Brown 7:37
That's good. Yeah, we did. We were actually again, because he was born so early, they had us involved in a like early intervention program, so that we could kind of catch Ethan up. So we've been in physical therapy, since he got home. Which we went through a couple of physical therapists till we found the right one that worked great with Ethan and then saw that he just, you know, thrived. And then we recently started speech therapy to kind of help with his talking in his words, which has been really helpful, but we're so thankful we have a pediatrician who kind of realize is my anxiety. And so just, you know, to alleviate some of that she would send referrals in. We saw early on a speech therapist for feeding because Ethan would not want to eat. He still was not an eater. So Rachel, if your little one can speak to my little one and let them know eating is fun. That, you know, even though he was still young, she's like, well, let's get him to see a feeding specialists and just see what their recommendations are. So we're really thankful that our pediatrician, kind of lets us dictate, like, when and who we want to see for catching him up on the milestones. But we also were thankful that Virginia has that program that allows, you know, easier access to services for a premature child, and even services we wouldn't even think of they have available and always checking in on us to make sure you know, we don't need anything.

Natalie Gross 9:23
Well, it sounds like a good pediatrician could really make all the difference here. So we are actually going to be meeting with our guest pediatrician today Dr. Mona Amin, so listeners, stay tuned.

Natalie Gross 9:42
Today on Newbies we're talking about baby milestones and some of the anxiety that we as moms can get when our baby isn't meeting milestones on time. Dr. Mona Amin is joining me for this conversation. She's a board certified pediatrician, a mom and founder of Peds Doc Talk. She recently authored an article for Yahoo's "In The Know" about millennial parents feeling what we're talking about today, this milestone anxiety. Dr. Mona, in that article I just mentioned, you talked about comparison a lot, and how that can really fuel this anxiety. How can that be harmful?

Mona Amin 10:12
Yeah, so much of anxiety in parenting is when expectation doesn't meet reality. And a lot of the times with development, we have to respect the fact that children are going to meet milestones on their own trajectory across a range, right? We, we understand that in some situations, there is concerns. And what I mean by that is that a child may need intervention. But when we start to compare and example being going on a social media page, or Facebook, or you know, a mommy group, and starting to look at, well, my child is this age and another child is the same age, why are they doing everything better, quote, unquote, than my child, you can start to get into a cycle of looking at all the things that your child isn't doing, versus the things that your child is doing. And that can lead down a slippery slope of not being in the moment with your child. So I often find that most of this milestone anxiety is created from social media, circles of friends, people who just boast about their kids. And I don't blame families and parents wanting to share the things that their children are doing, right, like the when the child takes the first step, or child does X, Y, or Z. That's an awesome feeling for any parent. But when you're dealing with your child, maybe being on that lower end of the spectrum of not being able to meet that milestone early or on time, or maybe they're a little bit later, it can lead to you feeling well, why is my child not doing that? Am I not doing enough? What is wrong with us when in reality, we respect the fact that children are unique, that they may meet milestones a little bit later. And our role as parents is to look at the child in front of us say, here's what they are, or are not doing? Do I give this some time? What are the things I can do to foster this development and help them guide them to reach these milestones? Or is it something that I need to get external help from speech therapy, physical therapy, things like that. And so a lot of this anxiety is really recognizing that children are unique, we need to know the concerns that we should have for milestones, of course, but that we also can't control our child's story, you know, hearing the stories of premature delivery, I know, no, no parent of a premature child expected their child to be born premature. And with that comes a lot of mismatch of expectation and reality, you know, maybe you had an idea that your baby would be turned on. And now you're dealing with having someone tell you that there may be delays, and there may be this and it's really heavy, when you're already grieving, the loss of a term delivery or loss of expectation that you had. And so when we can't control our child's story, it may make us feel like a little anxious, right? Well, I want my child to walk early and look at all those kids that are doing that. And that's amazing. Or maybe we're afraid that you know, if they don't reach a milestone that they'll be labeled as behind. And that terminology, you know, advanced behind, it's such a stigmatizing terminology, because it's not like that, right? There's no data to support that an early talker is any smarter than a child who speaks later, you know, every child is on like I said, their own developmental trajectory. Our job as parents is to say, What am I going to do to give them their full potential on their genetics, their neurological development, and be in that moment with my child?

Natalie Gross 13:27
Hmm, yeah, that's such good advice. And I'm getting a little bit of perspective on that now with my daughter, my second child, whereas the first child I was a first time mom, I was full of anxiety. My son wasn't sitting by six months when you have you know, they asked you in the doctor's office as he's sitting and no, he decided not to sit until his nine month doctor's appointment, as the pediatrician is giving me a list of physical therapists to go see. And then now, you know, with my daughter, it's like, okay, I'm much more relaxed about it, because I have sort of this perspective that like all kids are different and my kids are not premature, so that's a different conversation, of course. But anyway, yes, that comparison can be can be so harmful. And I know that from personal experience. Do you have any personal experience with this as well? You're a mom.

Mona Amin 14:14
Yeah, so I have one child who's three and I'm actually pregnant with number two at the time, we're talking. And my three year old actually was born term, but he had a stroke and seizures in the first 24 hours of life. So we had -- just a disclaimer, trigger warning coming. We had a very traumatic delivery, and he had just temporary oxygen loss, suffered a stroke, ended up having a seizure 24 hours after he was born in the NICU. So we were a term family in the NICU. Funny enough. Most of them are, they're used to having preterm babies so they kept thinking my son was like this big baby. I'm like, he's just term and he has obviously medical issues. But when your child is born with any sort of neurological diagnoses, which in this situation was a stroke and seizures, they ought medically qualify for early intervention, which I believe some of the parents were talking about this is when you get an evaluation on all domains of development from social and emotional language communication motor, it is a very thorough assessment done at a office or at your home. And so at one and a half months, at six weeks, we had to do this assessment. And as a pediatrician who's very well versed on child development, it's actually my passion. I'm watching them do this assessment on my little six week old that can obviously barely hold his head up, you know, and they're doing a very nitty gritty assessment. And that kind of started the anxiety in terms of is he going to be okay, right? With strokes and seizures, you have no idea what the outcome is going to be, it's all hope. It's, hey, we have to see how the body responds. And when you don't have certainty, right, when if you have a diagnosis that can say, here's the data that tells you that the children are going to walk talk this and that, I had no idea in those early months, whether my child would speak, whether my child would walk, all I could do was focus on those milestones moment to moment and know, here's how I'm going to provide my child with the most enriching experience, provide him with that support, and utilize my resources. Like I mentioned, if I need it, we ended up not needing any services like speech or physical therapy. But there were many moments of anxiety where I thought he is going to have this life altering diagnoses, right, he's never going to walk, he's going to not be able to do certain things, he's not going to be able to chase after our dog, like, those thoughts went through my head of just the anxiety of a health issue. And then in terms of milestone anxiety, in that first year, I've talked about this a lot. With my platform, too. I was so obsessed with him meeting milestones, and him reaching that progress that I started to get frustrated during playtime, you know, during playtime, when I should be patient with him and guide him if he wasn't doing something in my brain, because I was so hyper focused on him meeting milestones, I was not being patient when I was trying to teach him language like for example, with language, ideally, you'd want to pause when you say something, I was so fixated on him speaking, that I wouldn't even give him time to process, right. And it's because of my own anxiety being like you need to speak and oh my gosh, if you don't speak, like I said, you're gonna be labeled. And I don't want you to have this label. And I dealt with that, you know, and it wasn't until I really looked at the situation stepped back and said, I really need to realize that he is going to meet the best outcomes for himself, not compared to other children. If I provide him with what I know to be true, I know exactly how to engage with children to meet the milestones, because I talk about it all the time. But I wasn't doing it because of my own fear my own well, what if what if, and when I started to step back a little bit is when I started to see more progress is when I started to let go of that control, I talk about and say, well, even if I try to do this, I can't force him to do these things. If it's not going to happen, I might need help, I might need a speech therapist, physical therapists and that is okay. You know, it's not something that I have to accomplish, or a checkbox that my child needs. I need to help him with this diagnoses, meet the best outcome that he's going to meet. And looking back, he's three, we're so grateful that he's off the seizure meds and you know, doing great developmentally. But there were many moments in those first 18 months with speech and initiative with motor and feeding that we would just tense up and get into those Well, what if what if scenarios, and it's when we stepped back that we started to feel more joy in parenthood to and say, he's our baby, this is what we're going to do? And we're going to give him the best life possible. Whatever happens?

Natalie Gross 18:38
Yeah, that's great. Well, you know, we're talking about milestones. So let's maybe lay out what the milestones are for babies under one that parents should be aware of.

Mona Amin 18:48
So I love to do this in a way if you don't mind talking about what to look out for if they're not doing something by a certain age. Should I do this is that because I already mentioned that milestones occur across a spectrum, right? So I'm going to use a quick example that doesn't have to do that kind of overlaps in the toddler years, but because we know the normal range of walking can be anywhere from seven months. Yes, that sounds really early to 18 months, rather than saying your baby should walk at 12 months, I'm going to kind of give you okay, here's what you're going to look out for these things are not happening in the first year. It is a conversation with a clinician, I have to be clear here because development is and should be a big picture approach. One of your parents had mentioned about not, you know, not sitting or not rolling, and you mentioned as well for your older son. These kind of things are in a spectrum. Like for example, if a child's not sitting but they're rolling, they're reaching for objects. This could be something reassuring, right? So when I say these things, I want you to kind of remember in the back of your head for all of you listening, that this is meant to be okay, if my kids not doing this, I need to talk to my clinician. It doesn't mean that something necessarily needs intervention, but the doctor or whoever's evaluating your child will want to look at all domains of Development social cognitive language and motor to see if this is something that needs further evaluation. So we'll take let's go through that first year, okay. And it's going to be kind of a rattling off of things just because there is a lot. But in the first two months, this is basically there's not many major milestones. But if your child is having any, if you're having any concerns with feeding, or sucking, your child just won't feed in those first two months, definitely something we want to know about, because that's their job in the first two months is to eat pea sleep. So if they're having us very light suck, if you feel like they're just not gaining weight, we want to know, if you have any concerns about their tone in the first two months, this means that they seem very, very floppy to you, they don't have any tone to their body, or their may be very rigid, like to tense like you can't even get their outfit on, you can't even get them relaxed to feed at the breast or feet at a bottle, we want to know, by three months, they don't smile at you. And you know, they'll kind of look in your face and smile, they don't respond to any sounds. What I mean by that is if something like a door slams, they won't even have any struggle reflex at all, by three months. They're not bringing a hand to their mouth, they feel floppy or stiff, like I mentioned, their eyes just seem crossed. And they don't follow things with their eyes. Like for example, if you take a rattle, and move it across their visual field, they don't at all care about it, they don't look for it, that's something we'd want to know as well. Or that there's an inability to lift up their head in tummy time at all, meaning you put them on their belly, and they're just laying there, there is no desire to lift that head up even ever so slightly. By three months, we'd want to know, by four months that it continues on from what I said they're not watching things as they move, bringing objects to their mouth. They're not queueing or making any sounds, they can't hold their head steady while sitting. So in a seated position, they just are continuously like a bobblehead doll like you can't get any sort of head control at all, we'd also want to know and including in tummy time, and then at six months, there is no desire for affection, they don't consider they don't console at all. Like if they're upset, you can't ever get them in that first six months to calm down with you carrying them in a carrier rocking them, there's just a inability to console your child by six months, we'd want to know, their eyes are still crossed, they're not reaching for any objects, they're not laughing or squealing by six months. They're not sitting with assistance. Remember sitting independently can happen as late as nine months, like you were saying with your your son, but they should be able to sit with some assistance by six months, meaning holding their back for support. And they also may not, if by six months, they're not rolling over at all, or showing any sign we'd want to know. And this again is not a huge red flag like oh my gosh, you need to see someone but it's a big picture. Right? If they're not rolling, if there is no neck support, if there's no head control at all, then we'd want to evaluate that too. But again, conversations, and then we're getting close to the end here in that first year by nine months. They don't recognize familiar people like you. Or if you have a partner or a nanny or grandparent, they just don't recognize you. They don't light up at all. There's no There's no reaction to familiar people. They don't share enjoyment with others using eye contact or facial expressions. So if you make a face, and they just kind of stare blankly at you, and there's just no interaction or no attempt to kind of move their face a little bit to mimic you, we'd want to know there is zero babbling. So the only thing that they're doing is squealing. There is no bop bop, my mom my happening by nine months, again, a conversation to just discuss what's going on. And then I already mentioned this briefly already, if by nine months, they're not sitting on their own, you're still having to support them. They're flopping over in a seated position. We'd also want to know this and then going on into motor as well. Not using only using one hand. So really just isolating on one side of their extremity only using the left versus the right, we'd want to know this as well. And then one year, you know, there's a lot of development that happens between nine months and 18 months, but one year, they don't play any back and forth games like no Peekaboo, they don't. They're not going to search for things if you hide it. This is something called object permanence. If you hide a ball behind your back, at one year, a child should be like, Wait, where did Mommy put that ball? And so they would want to go look for it. So they're going to search for hidden objects, because by nine months, their cognitive development is understanding that, oh, things exist when they're out of my visual field. Also, why children developed separation anxiety around this age is that they realize that when you go, you're not gone forever. You left and they miss you. By one year, we would like to see that they're looking where you point. If they're not responding to their name. At one year, we'd also want to know again as a big picture. Is there any concern here? There's zero gestures like no waving, no head shaking or pointing? Literally nothing, no indication of pre verbal communication, which is gestures we'd like To know that as well, if they're not seeing a single word by 12 months, not an automatic red flag, but something that again, we would want to just know, okay, well, what are they doing? Are they pointing are they babbling, things like that. And by one for feeding aspect, not eating anything besides purees, we'd obviously by one Love A Child eating more textured foods, another thing would be at one, we'd expect them to start to stand with support, like at least cruising, they may not be walking by one year, like I mentioned, walking can happen as late as 18 months, but they should be able to stand against like a couch, and maybe take some steps against it. But they should be able to support their body weight on their legs by one year, and maybe start to show signs of of a step or wanting to cruise against an object. And finally, and again, these are in no particular order, they should be using a pincer grasp, which of course, your listeners can't see me do this, but it's when you use your thumb and forefinger. And you for example, you're picking up like a cheerio or a little pea or something like that. It's a pincer grasp versus a Palmer, which is you're using your whole fist, they should have that by by latest one year of age. So as you can see, I go through it this way, because I feel there are so many milestones that do occur, like obviously sitting all of that, but because it's a range. I also want to say okay, here's the latest, your child should be doing these things. And if it's a concern that way, then we should obviously, discuss and evaluate. But this provides a little frame of reference so that you know, okay, this is the latest, my child should do this. And if they're not, I'm going to talk to my clinician, and they are going to determine with me if further assessments unnecessary, again, all for the best interest of the family and the child.

Natalie Gross 26:34
Thank you so much for sharing this important information. Dr. Mona, we are going to take another quick break and then bring our moms Megan and Rachael back into the conversation

Natalie Gross 26:50
All right. Welcome back, everyone. Dr. Mona, before we kind of get into the larger conversation, I want to know these milestones that you just discussed. We have some preemie moms on the call. How does this apply to preemie? Should they be using the adjusted age for that?

Mona Amin 27:05
Yes. So I love this conversation. And I'm happy that we I'm happy to have two moms who do have premature babies because it is different. So yes, we do adjust for age, and we adjust for age up until two years of age and two years chronologically meaning from the time that they're out of the body to two years. And the reason we do this is because we understand that because they were born early, and we'll go over how to calculate this. Because they were born early, we do allow them a little bit of leeway to say, okay, because of their prematurity and makes sense that they may not be doing a certain milestone at the same age as a child who is termed Okay, so let's do an example. So, technically, the old recommendation was using 40 weeks as the Bing term. Now they're saying 39, but I'm going to keep it as 40. Okay, so knowing that 40 weeks is considered a term baby. So if your baby was born at 32 weeks, so that is premature, and prematurity is anything before the 37th week. And then of course, you have like different rates of early versus early, early, early preterm versus just late preterm, but 32, weaker, and 40 weeks knowing that's term. So that's a baby who's eight weeks early, 40 minus 32 is eight weeks early. So what this means is that if at four months old, you know that your baby is four months out of the womb, but they were born at 32 weeks. So your four month old, because they were born eight weeks early, is likely going to be doing milestones that a two month old should do because they were born early. So when we look at the milestones, I'm using this, as an example, a four month old should be sitting like I said, with a little bit of head control, in tummy, you know, in in tummy time sitting up, they should be grasping things and putting into the object, but a two month old would not be doing those things, right. So when we look at the development of a 32, weaker at four months of age, I would expect him or her at the minimum to be doing what a two month old would do, right. So at that age, I would expect that that four month old born premature should be putting their head up a little bit in tummy time, they should be starting to smile, they should be starting to maybe track some objects. Obviously, they should maybe start to make some cooing sounds. So that's kind of how we look at that. And we do see a lot of great development in children and including premature babies that by two years of age, we start to see this correct itself. Of course, there is some reality that there is going to be some interventions that are needed, maybe some speech or physical therapy. But many, many premature babies don't need the correction for a while. So for example, if I'm evaluating a baby who's born at 32 weeks and the baby six months and meeting all the milestones that another six month old would meet, I don't necessarily need to keep correcting that baby because they're meeting the milestones. The child's brain and I can tell you from personal experience having a kid with a stroke it is very plastic, which means there is a lot of development and neurons that are formed from just the experience and environment that they're in. This is why we're so big on early intervention and services if a child needs it is because we want to provide that child with all the resources to foster their brain development, if they're born early if they have a neurological deficit, like my son had the stroke, to provide the best outcomes again for that child's trajectory.

Natalie Gross 30:26
Great. Megan and Rachael, any thoughts on everything we've just learned from Dr. Mona?

Rachael Brown 30:33
I really enjoyed listening to Dr. Mona go over the milestone ranges. Maybe I missed it. But did you mention crawling?

Mona Amin 30:44
Yes. So crawling, sorry, you're right. Crawling would be latest one year. But crawling as its own entity is not a required milestone. Like it's okay. If your babies doesn't crawl,

Rachael Brown 30:54
That's what I've been hearing lately.

Natalie Gross 30:56
Like if they if they skip to walking? Is that right?

Mona Amin 30:59
Yes, so if a child is not crawling, this is also a big source of contention, I guess, in the social media space. But crawling is not a red flag on its own. Of course, we want to see other motor milestones. So for example, crawling typically should happen. If it does happen, it's going to happen between six months and a year. So if a child is not crawling at one year, definitely I agree, I apologize for laying that out. It's a good idea to bring that up to your clinician. But the sole absence of crawling alone is not concerning if the child is either meeting other motor milestones that one, for example, that child is sitting on its own, the child is pulling up on the couch or on an object cruising, those are all great motor milestones. So crawling is not a Oh, my gosh, the lack of crawling as an isolated thing is a concern. But it is a big picture situation that yes, if they're not crawling, if they're not, if they're only using one hand, right things that I mentioned already, if they're not sitting up, and they need support to sit up at nine months, those are all things that I'm like, well, their core is a concern. They're not using both of their hands like those are all things that I'd be wanting to evaluate as well. But some kids do bypass crawling and go straight to walking, and some kids do an army crawl, and then go to walking. So that's a reality as well,

Rachael Brown 32:13
It is a contentious issue in my moms group lately, where if somebody's child isn't crawling, there's a plethora of moms commenting, it's not technically a milestone anymore. And it's just, it's nice to hear, you know, from an expert.

Mona Amin 32:28
I love I love that you brought it up, because even a lot of developmental specialists on social media, you know, it's like you have to crawl if you crawl on like, if you don't crawl Oh my gosh. And I love that we discussed that because it is there is some nuance to it, right? It's not like if it's that plus other things. 100%. But it's not like that alone is like Wow, your child is not going to meet all the milestones that they need to meet. So I love I love that clarification.

Rachael Brown 32:50
I do want to also say that the social media aspect of being a new mom, has definitely been a stressor. And I have to like mute Facebook groups for 30 days sometimes, or just take a breather from Facebook, just because other moms anxiety get to me. And then they make me think about things that I had never thought about before. And why am I thinking about these things? I don't think they actually matter. So I just that's such such a great point, not just for being a mom, just I think for life. Social media just has too much influence on us.

Mona Amin 33:24
I feel like I feel like I used to be on mommy groups before I had my son meaning when I was pregnant, I was on a physician, mommy group, and the amount of anxiety I agree with you that that caused me as a pediatrician, because there's so much misinformation, and so much like worry. And there was never there was little sharing of good things. It was all bad, like things are not going great. And I'm like man, I just need some hope in my life. So I muted it, I got off. And then I created my own Facebook group with moms and my rule is is that we're not allowed to share certain things like you can only ask for advice if you're going through a situation and you need the connection. Like I love Facebook groups for connection. Like if you if you have a child who's not crawling, I want you to reach out and say, Hey, if you have if you had this issue, what did you do versus Hey, I'm just looking like open ended suggestions, diagnoses because those people don't know your child, those people don't know what the situation is. They're not asking you all the questions I'm going to ask, which is what else is your child doing? They're gonna say, Oh, bad or good. They, you know, there's not a lot of nuance because they're not trained to be clinicians should be trained to be not everybody. But that's our job to say, let's look at the big picture. And most people on social media have tunnel vision. They're not looking at the big picture. They're just looking at their own personal experience. And that is very one sided right? So we need that unbiased, nuanced perspective, which, oh, I completely agree with you. And that adds, like I said, to that anxiety of what is going on and you just said it perfectly. Is there something I should be worried about? And I wasn't even thinking about and Oh, my that's not a fun place to be.

Natalie Gross 34:56
Yeah, totally. Megan, any thoughts from you?

Megan Husak 34:59
Oh, I'm kind of piggyback on the social media. I know, when Ethan was in the NICU, I kind of joined various like NICU, surviving NICU, Vicky, moms, stuff like that. And it was a good thing and a bad thing at the same time. Even now, as people are like, Oh, my baby's, you know, two years old, but not doing this, and it makes you stop and go Wait, is, is Ethan doing that? Like, I don't even know. Um, and then seeing the trends on you know, social media tick tock, you know, of what you should and should not be doing for your kid where your, you know, child should be and it is very overwhelming and sometimes can cause some increased anxiety. But on the other hand, there is some out there that it's like, I didn't even think about that. Like, especially with our issues with feeding. We've gotten a couple tips off of how to convince our little one that, you know, feeding is fun, eating is good, you know, all of that fun stuff. But it definitely can be especially for a new mom, and this being my first as well. Overwhelming. And all the advice that is sometimes unsolicited. Because people just know versus Are you? Are you a medical person? Are you familiar? Are you a clinician that this is what you specialize in? So it can sometimes be very overwhelming.

Natalie Gross 36:35
Yeah. Well, Dr. Mona, I'll let you have the last word here. You know, any last thoughts about this topic of milestone anxiety as we wrap up?

Mona Amin 36:44
Yeah, I think this is such a healthy and important conversation. And sometimes even just talking about the realities helps our anxiety, right? When we're like feeling like, Am I alone in this? We're not alone. I mean, I wrote that article that you alluded to, at the beginning of this conversation. Because I see it, I see it as a reality. And I'll be frank, I see it more with my platform, you know, I do have a social media presence. And in my day to day job, I noticed that the families who are not heavily on social media have less anxiety in general, okay. And I, I'm trying to protect families from the anxiety because the anxiety can really, like I said, rob us of our mindful moments with our children, right? When we're so focused on what is going to happen and what I'm not doing. We're not literally literally looking at that child smiling up at you or staring at you sitting and screaming internally, hey, I'm here, mom, like I want to spend time with you. And we're going to do this thing together. And we want to have a little bit more grace for ourselves, right? I think we put too much pressure on being perfect. And it goes back to comparison. And it goes back to you know, if my child meets these checkboxes, then I am the perfect mom. But there's no such thing as perfection in motherhood, because it isn't an ever evolving role. So we have to remember that we are focusing on the child in front of us, we are focusing on if my child is not meeting the milestone, because it is important to recognize it yes, if they are getting into that later at range of not walking by 18 months. It's not panic, red flag, everything's wrong. It's we want to support you. And that may mean again, physical therapy or an evaluation to provide the resources for you to guide your child because this is what parenting is all about. We're going to go through so much in our parenting journey, not even just in that first year, I'm talking like teenagehood all the all the times they grow, they grow up. And our role is how am I going to be the guide for my child, right? Whether it's dealing with milestone, whether they are struggling with being bullied, whether they're struggling with this, and I want that sort of growth mindset for us so that we can teach our children that we're gonna get through this together and if I can't help you alone, because I don't know how or maybe I need more information from a specialist. I have the insight and humility to understand that I get that opportunity to have someone else help me help you whether it is a physical therapist, speech therapist, whether it's a therapist, like a psychological psychologists later on, right? I want for your parents to feel supported, and not judged and not feel like they're alone in this journey because there's just so much beauty in being a parent and I believe this having gone through what I've had with my son, I know the anxiety is really real. But I also know that there is those moments when he finally did start to talk because he was a late talker when he finally did walk and I just cried and I you know that that joy that's felt and I just want parents to feel more joy and anxiety just takes that away from us and I hope this conversation helps so many today.

Natalie Gross 39:33
Well, thank you so much to you Dr. Mona and Megan and Rachael for joining us for this episode today. Listeners you can find out more about Dr. Mona at and her social media links will be on our website with the episode. Also check out new mommy That's where you can find the episode and all of our other podcasts episodes plus videos and more.

Natalie Gross 40:00
Well that wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to Newbies. Don't forget to check out our sister shows Preggie Pals for expecting parents, Parent Savers for moms and dads with toddlers, the Boob Group for moms who get breast milk to their babies, and Twin Talks for parents of multiples. Thanks for listening to Newbies your go to source for new moms and new babies.

Disclaimer 40:29
This is been a New Mommy Media production, information and material contained in this episode I presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of new mommy media and should not be considered facts. While such information and materials are believed to be accurate. It is not intended to replace or substitute for professional medical adviser care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medication. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health, or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.

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