From the moment we find out we’re pregnant most of us suddenly become totally preoccupied with ‘normal’. We want to know if our symptoms are normal. We worry about what a ‘normal’ delivery is like. Maybe we’re wondering what weight gain is normal. If we’re supposed to lose sight of our feet so quickly. Or what ‘normal’ things we can expect once baby is out.
And it doesn’t stop when we have the baby. No. It suddenly intensifies. We can spend literally hours wondering how our baby measures up to other babies. Is our baby feeding ‘normally’. Is the way our baby sleeps ‘normal’. Do other babies sleep more? Or less. Is the number of night feeds ‘normal’? Should we worry about whether or not our baby’s poo is ‘normal’.
Is everything fucking normal???
But here’s the secret.
There is no normal!
Literally, every single baby is different. They’ll sleep differently. Eat differently and yes, even shit differently.
So stop comparing. Stop trying to work out where your baby fits compared with other babies.
I know it’s not easy. I fell foul of this this week and it nearly sent me over the edge.
We had a good run with baby when he was three months old. He started to sleep from around 7pm to 5am – brilliant, I thought. I’ve nailed this, I thought. Totally rocking motherhood, I thought.
4-6 month sleep regression happened and bang, just like that he’s back to waking 2 or 3 times a night and has been for the last few months.
Naturally I did what any self respecting mother would do. I googled it.
Without really thinking about it I clicked on the first site that offered me a ‘sleep schedule’. And instantly regretted it.
‘It’s a habit’
According to the site, most babies sleep through at 6 months and if they don’t, they are waking from habit and you have created a monster (might be paraphrasing a little there). And naturally, you need to break this habit or your baby will be totally dysfunctional from this day forward.
I should know better. I should know that these sites, whilst sometimes helpful, are usually just one persons opinion. They don’t know me and they certainly don’t know my baby so why do I suddenly assume that they are the authority.
Luckily my panic and guilt ridden emotional turmoil that I’d some how buggered my baby up because he wakes up in the night didn’t last long. I was able to recognise that if it was habit it would happen at the same time every night. It doesn’t. If it was habit not hunger then he wouldn’t be interested in food. He downs a whole bottle in a matter of minutes. So I know it’s because he’s hungry and I know it’s not because he’s in a pattern of waking up at the same time.
But for a while there I fell into the trap of trying to work out if my baby was ‘normal’. Primarily because he was doing something that I didn’t want him to do.
Alas, I have to recognise that there is no normal. That my baby may just be a baby who does wake in the night. And do you know what, that’s not so bad. If I forget that there are people out there who would tell me this is wrong, unusual or shouldn’t be happening then I don’t really care. After all, sometimes it’s quite nice to cuddle in the wee hours of the morning. When no one else is up and it’s just the two of you. In fact I even wrote a post a few months ago on 3 reasons why I love the 4am feeds (which I will reread to remind myself!).
So forget normal. Who cares. All that matters is that you find the ways that work for you and your baby. If you’re both happy then that’s all that is important.
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