This is another that has been mulling around in my brain for a while.
What is normal? Is there ever even a normal when it comes to human beings? No, there really isn’t! The beauty of humans is that we are all wonderfully different, my normal is not your normal. However when it comes to babies and kids, we seem obsessed with finding “normal’.
Baby boards are full of “my baby does this…is it normal?” and although I guess it is pretty normal to try and find normal, it can be detrimental.
I think as a society we have a pretty warped view of what is “normal”. An abundance of baby books and so called experts out there telling us what is normal and what isn't, when there really isn’t such a thing.
Why could this be dangerous? Maybe dangerous is an over exaggeration, however, it can have a massively negative impact. We have seen a huge increase in babies being treated for reflux & colic. A lot of this is the sale of over the counter medicine designed to “help”. Not that Reflux or Colic is normal, it isn’t, but Reflux & Colic are a series of symptoms of something that could be relatively normal.
Over stimulation for example. This is very rarely talked about, but an over stimulated baby will show very similar signs to a baby with reflux/colic. It is very normal to have an overstimulated baby, it is learning how to read it and how to deal with it that is important. Some babies are hyper sensitive to stimulation, just as some adults and children are. If we are sold that babies behave in a certain way, and anything other than this way is not “normal” we will be looking to fix whatever problem that doesn’t really exist.
Breastfeeding is another example. There are expectations that breastfeeding is natural and easy, and it really isn’t for everyone. And when it isn’t normal or natural, we doubt ourselves, are we doing it right? Should it hurt? Should my baby be wanting to latch again when they only came off 45mins ago? All of things things ARE normal, but equally CAN be a sign that something isn’t quiet right.
So how do we help mums? We empower them to trust their instincts. I totally get that is almost impossible with a new baby, but you will have them and the way to find them is to relax and step back and stop trying to find normal.
Mums trust that the boundaries to “normal” are huge! Surround yourself with good quality advice. If it doesn't feel right don’t do it. If someone is telling you something isn’t normal, check out their motives, are they trying to sell a product or service? We live in a massively commercial world, and the motherhood cash cow is real sadly!
Lastly give yourself time Mummas, you cannot give birth to a uniquely different human being and expect to know every ounce of their personality within the first few weeks! It takes time, Motherhood is a huge learning curve for you, it is also a huge learning curve for your baby, one which cannot be rushed.