When people ask “Is she a good baby”, I think most of the time they are just being conversational and not really thinking about what they are saying. But really, it’s just not a very good question to ask parents.
Sure some babies are easier than others: some sleep better, cry less, are content more. That seems to be what people are getting at when they are asking the question. But it seems to implies that babies that have more difficulty, are bad babies. And there are no bad babies. Some babies do struggle more in the early stages of life, they cry a lot, they sleep like garbage, they find life pretty darn distressing. They don’t have an easy time, and neither do their parents. So why do people want to push this in their face?
My son was a terrible sleeper and I hated it when people asked me that question. Seriously what was I supposed to say? “No. he’s not. He’s kind of crap. I’m thinking of sending him back”? Instead, I’d usually say something like “yes, he’s a good baby. Not a great sleeper, but he’s a good baby.”
I had kind of forgotten about this until I had my daughter. People still ask this question all the time. For a small baby, she is a pretty good sleeper, she is pretty content and she doesn’t cry much. Overall, she’s been a pretty easy baby. But I refuse to support people in suggesting that defines whether she is a good baby. Because all babies are good, they are doing the best they can to deal with the world. What else can you expect of them? They are babies! So I tell people that “She’s a pretty easy baby.” And she is. But both my kids were really good babies.
Did you get this question with your babies? How did you handle it?.
The Tompkins Family says
Thank you. I can so relate! I got this question so many times. And, like you, my first was very high maintenance and challenging. My second was more easy going. They are both good girls. I dealt with it the same way as you, I’d acknowledge the trouble/success we were having and say they were good.
I would like to go back in time and try your sarcastic comment though…oh, we’re sending her back…just to see what people would say!
I completely agree with everything you said! I hated that question almost as much as “Is she sleeping through the night?” My stock answer was always “She’s amazing, but she doesn’t sleep”, but depending on my lack of sleep and level of snarkiness I did occasionally say “no, not really”. I also loathe the sleep-goodness association that everyone seems to have with babies. Mine didn’t sleep, but she also didn’t cry, so was she “good” or bad”?
Jenny Hill says
Hmmm, I am pretty sure I ask that question all the time. I have never looked at it that way, I will re-think what I ask new Moms.
The question I hated, was “do you like being a Mom?” I remember being asked this right after i had my daughter – I think she was maybe 2 weeks old and I remember thinking – there is no way I can answer that honestly – what else can I say besides – yes – I love it.
When in fact – I was in pain – my stitches (tearing) were bothering me, my boobs were sore and leaking and my baby made me cry everytime she fed or pretty much breathed.
But yes, I love being a Mom.
Now I can admit – that I do love being a Mom – but there are lots of things I did not like about it – however no brand new Mom can admit those things.
I know sarcasm is the lowest form of wit but my usual response (when I was awake enough to think of a response) was, “well, she hasn’t started smoking down at the corner store yet.” If I was in a better mood I would say “there are no bad babies”. Obviously, I hated that question too. I hate the sleep question. My first was tough, my second way easier – each baby has it’s own adjustment period. I hate that Moira was branded a bad sleeper which made people think she was a ‘bad baby’.