“Is she a good baby?”
Five simple words. What could be so bad about five simple words? It’s a simple question, asked to mums many times over. “Is she a good baby?”. If you’re a mum I can almost guarantee that you’ve been asked this question. When the streams of visitors are pouring in after you’ve given birth, I’m sure that more than one of them will make this simple enquiry.
So, what’s so bad about it?
To me, it’s because of how people define a good baby. A good baby sleeps through the night. A good baby doesn’t cry. A good baby will sit and happily entertain herself without the need for your undivided attention. A good baby goes down in the cot awake and naps for over an hour, on a strict time schedule. A good baby only feeds every three hours (and of course doesn’t feed at all through the night). A good baby is happy to be left in a bouncy chair/ in a jumperoo/ on a play mat.
Well my baby doesn’t sleep through the night. My baby cries when she’s hungry, when she’s tired, when she falls over, when she’s frustrated, when she wants a toy out of reach, when I walk out of the room, when her dad walks out of the room, when we get her dressed and when I’m putting her in her buggy. My baby will sit and happily play with her toys but only if I am sat with her and playing too. My baby needs to be cuddled/ fed/ rocked/ pushed in the buggy/ driven in the car to go to sleep for a nap. My baby generally only naps for half an hour and only when she’s tired, not on a set routine. My baby feeds whenever she likes, sometimes half an hour after the last feed, sometimes she will go the whole daytime without my milk. My baby still has a feed in the night, most nights. My baby wanted to be held ALL of the time (she is now a year old and has since found her feet and quite enjoys exploring- as long as one of us is in the room with her of course!).
So, if my baby doesn’t do all the things a good baby does, then that must mean she is a bad baby, right? NO! My baby is incredible. She is feisty. She is clever. She has the chubbiest, most edible thighs. She has the silkiest head of gorgeous, dark hair. She has big, beautiful, hazel eyes. She has soft, olive skin. She has a great sense of humour and knows how to make us laugh. She is a girl that knows what she wants and every night before putting her to bed I hold her just a little bit tighter, knowing that she is growing up so fast and very soon she’ll be sleeping so much I’ll have to kick her out of bed every morning, she won’t want to be seen with me in public, let alone be wanting to play with me, she’ll be off out with her friends and certainly not wanting hugs 24 hours a day.
My point is, if like me, you feel a little pang of shame when having to answer the question “is she a good baby?”. You’re not alone. I honestly don’t believe that there even is such a thing as a good baby (not as I described above, anyway). I also KNOW there is no such a thing as a bad baby. All babies are amazing, incredible little beings. All babies need the unlimited love and attention of their parents and all babies will need this in varying forms over those first few years. However much your baby shows this, your baby is awesome and is probably one of the best people you’ll ever meet.
Chloe teaches our Upminster group courses at The Old Chapel. She’s a working midwife and mum to Freya. #doitlikeamother #hypnobirthinginupminster