Comparing babies

As a postnatal practitioner it is not lost on me that many parents compare their babies with a mythical baby who sleeps and naps well, eats well, is settled, has a schedule, who is an absolute delight, leaving mums rested, happy and fulfilled. Through the decades, parents have been sold a bit of lie, leaving many of them tired, frustrated, unsupported and feeling they are getting it wrong.

Babies are neither robots nor dogs to be trained, they are in a constant state of growth and development and, as such, their needs vary greatly, making them unpredictable. It is this that is normal.

Biologically, babies are designed to be needy – they physically need looking after and they only have one verbal way of communicating their basic needs for food, comfort, sleep and reassurance. There are subtle body language cues but they are not always obvious and a baby’s needs can vary so much from day to day, especially in those early days and weeks.

There are no easy answers or quick fixes where babies are concerned, even though there are hundreds of books & websites trying to tell parents otherwise.

If you have a baby, please take a deep breath, tell yourself you are doing a brilliant job and continue doing what works for you and your baby. It isn’t easy, it is probably way more challenging than you ever imagined, more isolating and, with the weight of responsibility, more overwhelming.

And if you know someone with a baby, tell them how brilliant they are doing. Give them chocolate. And listen.