“Is He a Good Baby?”

This question ranks pretty high on my List Of Stupid Questions I Don’t Wish To Be Asked. It’s right up there with “Well, aren’t you afraid he’ll never sleep in his own bed?” and “But if he doesn’t go to school, how will he get socialised?”.

By asking if a baby is ‘good’, you are insinuating that a baby can be inherently ‘bad’, also.

Is He a Good Baby

When people talk about babies, the word ‘good’ usually means that they are quiet, happy, and sleep for many hours at night. Does this mean that my baby is a bad person if he is unhappy, or if he wakes his sleeping mother because he needs to feed, or be otherwise comforted? Not likely.

When did we start expecting children to behave like little adults? When did we start thinking that they have the same level of control over their impulses as a grown-up does? The whole attitude that western society has towards children is perfectly summed up in this ridiculous question – children should be seen and not heard. Babies should be dressed nicely, sat in their playpens smiling away, and woe betide them if they should cry, or shout, or stamp their feet, make a mess of their clothes or demand our attention at night. God forbid that they are needy, passionate little creatures that need to be mothered according to those needs.

Well, if a quiet, compliant drone is the definition of a ‘good baby’, I’d rather not have one, thank you very much. I’d rather stick with my loud, emotional, vivacious ‘bad’ children who get messy, have tantrums and need to be parented during the night as well as in the day. Believe it or not, my role as their mother doesn’t stop when the sun goes down.

Image courtesy of simzter @ weheartit.com


  1. says

    I have to confess I’m guilty of thinking like this sometimes, but you are absolutely right that it’s the wrong attitude to have. Kids will be kids, it doesn’t mean they’re out to make our lives difficult.

    I try very hard to think for myself and it’s horrible to realise I’m still affected by sheep mentality in so many ways. I guess at least I have the good sense to correct myself when I realise I’m doing something wrong.

    Parenting is such a strong learning curve……

    • says

      you’re not alone, hun, trust me on that! sheep mentality is hard to break especially when it’s something that runs through our culture as deeply as this.

  2. Rae says

    I characterize my daughter as a ‘good’ baby because she is happy. Not quiet by any means, we love her jabbers, laughs, shreeks, noises, etc. She is a little defiant…I think she takes after her daddy, hehe. But she is happy. She laughs, giggles, dances, and generally just makes us look at her and smile. To me, ‘happy’ equals good. Because good is just that. Good. Like home-baked bread. Worth the effort put into it, but BOY does it smell great coming out of the oven. It just makes you feel good.

    Now that being said, does that make me think that unhappy babies are bad? No. It means that something in their life needs to be changed. Babies respond to their environment in a certain manner. If they need something, they tell you, you just have to listen. If a baby is unhappy, he or she needs something. Its up to the individual parent to figure out what it is they need.

    My husband and I once got a compliment from an elderly gentleman in the grocery store. He saw our daughter, told us “She is such a happy little thing. That tells me what kind of parent you are.”, smiled so sweetly at our daughter, and then went about his business. That made us feel so good :)

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