Good baby? What does that even mean? I hear it all the time. Generally people are referring to temperament when they say this. Temperament is our nature, it is not something anyone has control over. So how could it be associated as “good” or “bad”? And if there is such as thing as “good babies”, are there also “bad babies”?
When people say a baby is “good”, they tend to mean that they don’t cry, they let anyone hold them, they go to sleep easily, they sleep through the night, and basically make their parents life as easy as possible. A “bad baby” therefore is a baby who is sensitive, who cries, who may be hard to console, who wakes throughout the night, and who maybe has reflux or other sources of discomfort.
All babies are different just like all humans are different. Can you imagine if we labeled adults as “bad” if they expressed their discomfort, asked to have their needs met, or had difficulty sleeping? If we wouldn’t put these labels on adults, why do we do this to babies and children?
Some babies are born with an easygoing temperament. It does happen! But this is not the norm.
New parents are often misled when it comes to normal newborn behavior. Our expectations regarding attachment needs and sleep are often far from the expectations of the baby.
Babies are wired to do what they can to survive (just like all humans!). And because they are so dependent on us for their survival, they have to make sure we are there caring for them quite often.
It is normal for babies to not want to be alone. It is super common that they cry or wake up immediately when put down. This is often a surprise to new parents and it can be a hard truth to accept.
There is nothing wrong with your baby if they want to be with you constantly! And there is nothing wrong with you if this is completely overwhelming. It’s extremely common to experience parental burnout at any stage, but especially in the newborn period! If you are experiencing this, we have some tips for how to cope!
The most important thing to remember is that whatever stage you are in is a phase! It won’t always be this hard. Your baby will continue to grow and develop and before you know it, you will look back and be happy you made it through! Hard to believe, but you may even miss it (well parts of it anyway…).
Of course if your baby is particularly fussy, it’s worth mentioning to your health care provider to make sure there is not an underlying medical reason. Babies with gastrointestinal issues, body tensions, and tongue tie are notorious for being on the fussier end of the spectrum. Tongue tie can affect so much more than just the tongue.
If you suspect there is something more going on with your baby, listen to your gut! If your health care provider makes you feel like you are crazy and tells you everything is fine, get a second opinion.
And if if there are no underlying medical issues, but your baby just wants to be held all the time, they are not “bad”. They are just a baby!
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