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What is "normal" when it comes to our little people?

Parents often reach out to ask whether something their child is doing is "normal". They might have an overwhelming sense that something is wrong because society indicates that their little love should be doing something by now or have a view that they are creating "bad habits" by supporting their little one by doing XYZ.

Let me just get it out from the get go - your baby/toddler is unique. Their sleep, feed and emotional needs are different from their peers and siblings and these will change as they go through periods of developmental change, illness, growth spurts or teething.

Comparing your 4 month old baby to another 4 month old is like comparing two 35 year old woman. They are different. They will likely eat/feed differently, sleep at slightly different times and for different lengths and be in different stages developmentally. There is no right or wrong! It's not "normal" that your baby crawls on all fours whilst their little friend bum shuffles or commando crawls. Some kids don't crawl at all - they just stand up and run!

""Trying to achieve "normal" could mean asking your little one to do something they aren't quite ready for, and maybe as a parent you aren't quite ready either".

I'm often approached by parents wanting to normalise their child's behaviour and sleep patterns. Whilst I educate, support and empower you to understand where they are at and talk through their sleep and feeding and how these change, each baby is different. Your little love is not a robot. They won't have 2 hour lunchtime sleeps everyday, and that's okay! We can't physically control when they fall asleep or when they wake, so take the pressure off yourself. What we can provide is a safe sleep space, a good sleep environment, a great wind down routine and the support to settle and resettle to sleep if they need us.

Trying to achieve "normal" could mean asking your little one to do something they aren't quite ready for, and maybe as a parent you aren't quite ready either. It's not a realistic expectation that our little people sleep through the night without a feed when they are so young. Their little stomachs are so small and their milk feeds only sustain them for so long. Some families are fortunate to have big stretches of sleep overnight and others will be feeding 2-4 hourly in the first few months.

Likewise, when you are curious as to whether a behaviour or sleep pattern is "normal" think about what you are comparing it to. Has their sleep changed recently? Have they learned a new skill like crawling which might be affecting their sleep? Are they waking and you're feeding them but they aren't actually feeding? Most importantly the question is "Am I concerned about this behaviour/habit and is it something we want to change?".

You may have experienced a behavioural change like hitting or biting and be wondering if this is normal and how to deal with such incidents. Stop and look at how and why its triggering you. Why are you embarrassed or shocked that your little one is frustrated and showing that physically? Rather than approaching an outburst in behaviour from an adults perspective stop and think; it's not just the behaviour that might need to change, it's the reason and understanding behind the behaviour and your reaction to their big emotions as an adult. When we do this we can be more responsive to their needs and navigate through the behaviours. It's 'normal' that children throw toys, bite their siblings or lay down on the ground kicking and screaming in the supermarket. Little kids have BIG emotions just like we do!

You have also no doubt come to learn that what works for you and your family may not be supported by what other parents think is "normal". You know what, who cares! If its working for YOUR child and YOU are happy rocking, patting, feeding them to sleep then go for it! Throw the book back at "normal" and create your own norm. Nobody gets to school and asks if you slept through the night at 4 months or 2 years old, whether you were breastfed or bottle fed and whether or not you walked before your first birthday or decided to stay put until you were closer to 18 months old.

If you are unsure about any aspect of your child's sleep and settling and want to feel empowered to make changes, understand their needs and navigate day and night sleep then reach out for some support. Let's work together to achieve realistic goals that work for your baby and for you as a family.

Disclaimer: If you are concerned about anything in relation to your child's medical or developmental stages I highly recommended you seek your own support and guidance from a health care provider.

If you need any additional information or support please feel free to contact me at to book in a FREE 15 minute phone consultation to talk about what is happening for your little one and how we can help.

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