Step Away from the Baby Center Emails

I can’t be the only one who at some point signed up to get weekly emails from baby center? I don’t even remember signing up but each week I get an email telling me exactly what developmental milestones my child should be hitting.  At first I thought the emails were cute, you know, in the baby stages when you learn about the different stuff your tiny little baby is doing. But now I have a toddler and find that instead of being cute, these weekly emails just cause me unnecessary stress.

Recently I got an email that said this:


My immediate reaction was, ‘Oh shit! My kid isn’t wielding a fork like a pro and she sure as heck isn’t drinking from a cup without spilling.’ Heck we haven’t even really tried to teach her to drink from a cup yet because she still manages to spill milk out of her “spill-proof” sippy cups.

I get it people, I do. On some level I suppose it’s important to generally be aware of developmental milestones so that if there’s a problem it can be addressed sooner rather than later. But do I really need weekly emails taunting me with messages about what my kid should be doing? Is this really helpful?

I can’t help but think of my fellow blogger Randi’s recent piece about expectations. When I choose to not read the baby center emails I don’t really worry about anything regarding my kids development but as soon as I see their expectations for what she should be doing I question myself for a few minutes. I come around pretty quickly to the realization that all kids are different, everyone hits milestones at different times and I know my daughter is developing wonderfully (even if she doesn’t drink out of a cup yet). But it gets me, at least for a few moments.

So from this point on I vow to take these emails with a grain of salt. Perhaps I’ll just unsubscribe or maybe, just maybe, I will be able to accept these emails for what they are – suggestions from an outside source that I can choose to take or leave.


8 thoughts on “Step Away from the Baby Center Emails

  1. I unsubscribed recently too – I just couldn’t take it anymore!! If it doesn’t help or make you smile – get rid of it! (at least as far as emails are concerned…) 🙂 Thanks for this great post!


  2. Thanks for the nod, Michelle. I continue to be amazed at how better my life is without expectations. I hadn’t thought about how much outside forces cause us our expectations to grow exponentially — I was too focused on my own internal rule book (and learning how to throw it out). Maybe it is the tone of great certainty that Baby Center uses, instead of saying “Some toddlers may be wielding a spoon and fork like a pro,” or “Whether your toddler is wielding a fork like a pro or still flinging her food willy-nilly….” I think they need me to edit their prose! Or you could write to them and tell them that they are alienating you with that tone.

    But I’m thinking that all of babyhood is about expectations, isn’t it? With my 10.5 month old grandson, we are all about measuring his progress inch by inch, word by word. “Did he just say ‘Dada’? I distinctly heard it, did you?” “Oh look, he’s walking with the baby walker!” Isn’t measuring “milestones” just another way of having expectations? Many of the milestones are developmental stages and as you said, you want to be sure you’re not missing any signs of a problem. But many of them are arbitrary notions of when a kid should be doing something and it can be very painful to the parents when they feel their kid is lagging behind.

    So I will tell you and the world that neither of my sons were diaper-free until age 4. Peeing was not a problem — it was the poo they seemed to cling to like it was a treasured blanket. I was not sanguine when MYS-27 would say, “Mother, may I please have a diaper? I feel the urge to have a bowel movement.” Well, maybe not quite that eruditely, but he could certainly talk very clearly at that age, I was crazed by this and probably f***ed them both up for life, but I am pretty certain that they both use the toilet ably now. Later in life, no one will ask your daughter, “Hey, Lillian, when did you stop using the sippy cup?”


    1. Ahhh such wise words as always Randi. I try to not get crazy about milestones. I use to compare Lillian’s development to other kids her age and then be worried when she wasn’t doing something they can do. Now I just figure that it’s OK she gets her colors right only 40-50% of the time – some day she will know red from blue. And she excels in other areas like letters and verbal skills so I just reassure myself that the other stuff (like colors etc.) will eventually come. Thank you for your comment!


  3. Time to unsubscribe!! And truth be told, even though Jake uses little dixie cups to drink from at daycare, i take no chances at home- i do enough cleaning up to want to worry about soaking up a full cup of spilled milk at every meal. Sippy cups and straws rule. end of story!


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