The Ambiguous “Bad” Baby Syndrome

Pouty Face

“Aw, he’s precious,” a stranger in Wal-Mart said while looking adoringly at Nathan.

“Thank you,” I replied courteously. I rubbed his hair while he cooed happily from his Snugli baby carrier, which by the way, those things are awesome! It takes all the strain off my back and leaves me with both hands free. Plus, Nathan loves being in it, so that’s definitely a plus.

“Is he a good baby?” she asked. Wait. What? Is he a good baby? As if there is a “bad” baby to be compared to? If there are “good babies,” then by default, that means there are “bad babies.” Well, there is no such thing as a bad baby. The general public seems to think that a “good” baby is one who sits quietly all day, lost in his own world, staying out of Mommy and Daddy’s hair without so much as a whimper because children should be “seen and not heard.” So does a high-need baby who cries a lot and needs a lot of attention and engagement constitute being a bad baby? I don’t think so. I prefer the term “easy going” as opposed to “good baby.” Is Nathan an easy-going baby? Most of the time, but certainly not always. He has his impish moments for sure, but I would never in a million years call him a bad baby.

“Yes, he’s a… good… baby,” I replied instead. There are some people you shouldn’t philosophise with; it will lead you down the road to madness. I knew she probably meant well, so I didn’t see the point in bringing up my philosophy. I prefer to remain somewhat sane for as long as possible with my high-need, high-demand, cuddly baby snuggling happily in my arms. It’s a lot of work trying to figure out Nathan’s wants and needs… but it promotes a strong bond between us because we are both learning how to communicate to each other. I wouldn’t give that up for anything.



  1. Ugh. Both of my kids were not easy going when young. My youngest is still difficult to take care (a little bit hint of OCD) But I would never say good or bad. I applaud you to recognizing the fallacy in the stranger’s comment right away. I wish you have said, sweetly of course, “Oh, yes, ma’ma, he’s a very good baby. He does all the dishes and laundry around the house…”
    .-= submom´s last blog ..“The Saddest Kid In The Class” =-.

  2. @ submom:

    HAHA!! I thought about saying something snarky, but she was grinning from ear to ear and I could tell she just wasn’t thinking about what her question implied. My little guy is very high need, high demand- but I wouldn’t have him any other way!

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