What is “normal”?

We all knew parenting wouldn’t be easy when we signed up to it – but we all had this teeny tiny (okay, huge) feeling it would be so worth it.

What has surprised me is how hard it is to know if you’re doing the right thing. And especially if your baby is.

I have friends with babies Clara’s age and they just don’t sleep well. WHY?! Why do they want to see 1am? 3am? 5am? Why won’t they nap during the day?

For us, it’s the opposite. Clara sleeps incredibly well (and this isn’t something I’m talking about to make my friends feel even worse.) But is it possible to sleep too much? Is sleeping 12 hours a night, plus at least 2 hours in the day, normal aged 14 months? Should I be requesting a test for iron deficiency? She fell asleep three bites into lunch today having yawned most of the morning but refused to nap.

Having a medical baby makes this tendency to question even harder.

You relate every “normal” first time parent worry with a medical challenge or side effect.

Does the way she pulls herself up to standing look normal to you? Does she drag one ankle? Walk normally? (This is the next step on from the original worries of whether she’d be able to walk or crawl at all).

Is her frustrated shouting a sign of the neurological damage they spoke about, and inline with other newborn reflexes she hadn’t lost, are we to expect behavioural or learning difficulties going forward? Is it autism? (When your brain gets started, it’s impossible to stop).

Is she eating enough? Too much? Drinking enough? Putting on weight? Is it enough?

It seems there’s no right or wrong answer. You can read every baby book or blog article (this one included), or listen to as many podcasts as you like.

But you’ll never find THE answer.

The answer is there in front of you – you just have to find what works for your little person over time – that’s their normal.

I’m regularly reminding myself (with help from my wonderful friend Bryony), that over thinking gets you nowhere. It certainly doesn’t invent the answers, it just triggers the worry.

What will be will be. And Clara? Who knows what she’ll be like, but we love her all the same.

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