Is my baby “good”?

Is a “good” baby one who sleeps a lot and doesn’t cry much? Most people say “yes”, and their answer is understandable. “Good” and “bad” are judgmental terms people often use to describe the behavior and temperament of a baby. A “good” baby is a quiet one, and a “bad” baby is fussy.

Parents often believe that their child is a reflection on them. They want a contented baby who’s easy to care for and who gives them a feeling of success. And many parents feel bad if their baby cries or has colic. Yet, the fussing baby is not “bad” and the quiet one is not “good”. All babies are different. Labeling and judging them for their behavior is inappropriate because they’re only expressing their needs in the best way they can. When they cry and fuss, they’re telling their parents that something’s wrong. They’re tired, hurt, uncomfortable, hungry, wet, scared, or needing to be held.

Labeling babies begins very early. One new mother was told by a maternity nurse that her hungry infant had been crying in the nursery. “What a bad baby you have!” Out in public, a well-meaning person will approach a mother and infant and say, “What a good baby. Is he always like this?” Such a question can put the mother in a bind. Although she may answer “yes”, she may also remember that the previous week he cried all during a shopping trip.

One of the hardest times to deal with a crying infant is at night, when a wakeful baby may truly seem “bad”. If you’ve been giving to your child all day, you may feel drained and resentful when you have to give again at night. You may grit your teeth when awakened at 3 A.M. and feel overwhelmed. But if you can think of your baby as expressing needs rather than being “bad”, you may feel more accepting.

Once you understand that his crying is a kind of communication, you may find yourself responding differently, trying to understand why he cries or why he doesn’t sleep as much as you think he should, or as you would like. And you may also feel less harassed when he fusses in public. It’s easier to be comfortable with him when you no longer feel pressured to have a “good” baby.

Picture Credit : Google