The excitement -- and angst -- over milestonesWatching other babies hit milestones can be both encouraging and frustrating. "It's great to see another child reach a milestone because it can give you insight into helping your child," says Kristy. "But it's tough to see a younger baby do something your child hasn't mastered yet. Right now there's a little one who's two weeks younger than Ryan, and he's rolling over. Ryan is so close but can't seem to push over just yet. I know he'll get it, but I have to remind myself to relax."
Keri Bongey, mom of Jake, now 9 months, and who's expecting her second baby, agrees: "If a baby is older than my son and reaches a milestone, I get excited thinking that Jake will be doing that soon. But if the baby is the same age or younger, I sometimes feel a little envious and wonder if there's something wrong with him." And for many new moms, that can ignite feelings of guilt.
"It's so easy to blame yourself for everything," says Keri. "I read a book that said babies could have a couple of syllables by the time they're six months old and I thought, 'Gosh, Jake is eight months and he hasn't even uttered a consonant!' My next thought was, 'Am I not talking to him enough when we're together during the day?' "
The group's consensus: Try to see other babies' milestones as a sneak preview of what's ahead for your child -- even if it's taking him a little longer to reach them. And be sure to remind yourself that there's a huge age range in what doctors consider "normal" development. If you have any concerns, you can talk to your baby's doctor. And when it's your baby who starts sitting up or crawling first, you'll be able to share what the earliest signs were and how you helped your little one along.
"As my daughter gets older, it's nice to be able to answer questions other moms have," says Holly Werra, mom of Lydia, 5 months. "It helps you feel like you're not clueless anymore -- like you actually know what you're doing. And that feels great."