Is She a Good Baby?

Is She a Good Baby?

After four kids I have heard the question “is she a good baby?” more times than I can count. Sometimes it makes me want to reply sarcastically, ‘No, she’s terrible! Put her back in!’

Of course she’s a good baby! I know what this question really means though…

Does she sleep well?

Does she cry much?

Is she easy to look after?

Is she happy?

Is she fussy?

Basically, does she disrupt your life as little as possible? Is she GOOD?

Is She a Good Baby?

Now I am sure that people mean this question in the nicest possible way. They’re just trying to make conversation, be friendly, show an interest. They want to know how you’re going and if everything is ok. All good intentions! However, it still gets on my nerves. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I can’t help it.

To me, the question ‘is she a good baby?’ just reiterates the way our society often views children these days. Good children are quiet, do what they’re told, don’t make a fuss, sleep all night, are independent and not clingy, eat all their dinner, follow the rules, are polite, don’t make a mess, are happy and no trouble. So what if your children aren’t like that? What if, God forbid, they don’t sleep through the night? What if they’re the loud and energetic type? What if they aren’t so keen on instant obedience? Does that make them bad children?

No. Of course not.

Is She a Good Baby?

All children are good. All of them. No matter their temperament, no matter how they behave. They are all wonderful individuals. And they were certainly not made simply to please us. They were not made to disrupt our lives as little as possible. On the contrary, I feel like my children are here to change my life completely. To teach me so much about myself and life. It is wonderful to let that happen.

Most people aren’t meaning to come across this way with their simple question of ‘is he/she a good baby?’ But, the language we use certainly has an impact and we should choose our words wisely. Let’s not start putting these expectations on babies the minute they’re born. Or new sleep deprived mothers for that matter. Let’s think about what we’re saying. Let’s think about how we view children and choose words to empower, encourage, and support. Let’s choose words that show we value children as the individuals they are! Let’s just be a bit more mindful. Attitudes are hard to change, but we can make a difference, starting with the small things like this simple question.

Is She a Good Baby?

“Children are more than their ability to sleep through the night. They are more than their willingness to instantly obey. They are more than a grade. They are more than a mood. They are more than they display at any given moment, more than what we see on the surface. They are human beings. Messy and beautiful, wild and compassionate, and worth getting to know, not just getting to mind.” – Rebecca Eanes

34 thoughts on “Is She a Good Baby?

  1. Hey there. I love the layout of your blog. The pictures are so beautiful in this post. I cringed at the thought that some people ask questions like that. Its not the words that they choose but how they say it sometimes like an indication that all babies in general are fussy, happy, cranky, tried, cries and screams. I understand how you feel. Babies are miracles and each of them are unique in their own way. The crying, the screaming and cooings and cuddles are all part of the the package of every new born. Pssttt~looking forward to your next blogpost.

    Best Regards
    Sarah
    21st Century Sarah

  2. I loved this so much. After adopting my 1 year old, everyone asked me how he was a good baby for me yet? I never knew either, even after having 2 others of my own. He was healthy! I didn’t see the need for so much more than that.

  3. I always hated this question too. And usually I would respond with, “No, she’s really bad!” just to be sarcastic and get them to truly see what they were asking! Someone once said it’s better to ask, “Is she a happy baby?” because that may be a little more accurate and less offensive to a child. I had a baby that cried incessantly, she wouldn’t sleep. She wasn’t bad — she was more unhappy (or most likely uncomfortable.) Thanks for bringing attention to this terrible question!

  4. Thanks for sharing! This question irritated me so much! And yes, even though I learned to answer in a manner that was more accurate (sleeping well, nursing well, etc.) it just wasn’t coming from a good place of acceptance of who the child is.

  5. What a beautiful post! Being a new mom myself I can definitely relate. We need to let our babies be babies and not a mold of what society wants them to be.

  6. I have a three month old at home. I can totally relate.

    Before having children of my own, I never would have thought twice about asking a question like this. Like you said, it’s all with good intentions. But now, I cringe at the thought. Every time someone (most of the time a family member) asks if my three month old is good or makes a comment about how loud and hard to handle our two year old is, I just get downright defensive.

    First of all, my baby’s a baby. She has no bad intentions, no matter how much she cries or clings to momma. And as for our two year old, she’s a kid, and I’ll let her be a kid. She can run and scream and not wear a shirt around the house all she wants.

    Good article. I completely agree.

  7. Firstly, congratulations! And secondly, LOVE this post! Yes, yes yes! It used to bug me so much when every second person wanted to know if she was a good sleeper. I used to think to myself “Umm, depends on what you mean. Does she sleep through the night? Well, no. But it doesn’t bother me. Does it bother you?” Haha.

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  9. I have just recently found your happinessishere blog. Its great, Mum of 7 and I find it a full on challenge and needing some tools to help me. Finding it hard to keep cool more often then not so was great finding you. So I read and work on it.

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  12. I was explaining exactly this point to my mum recently! One of my pet eye roll moments. I always reply to people ‘He’s very contented’ if I don’t think it’s worth taking further in conversation. It is totally endemic though, even amongst people I think don’t really believe babies are ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Language matters though, it really does.

  13. This is the truth…

    Judging of our babies and each other starts the minute are babies are born. We need to flip this on it’s head…love and acceptance the minute our babies are born.

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