What a loaded question. We are asked this a lot by (I assume) well-meaning, mostly older generation people.
What makes a baby “good,” exactly?
Is she a good sleeper? Is she happy most of the time? Does she let you carry on with life as it was before? Does she take the bottle well? Is she happy to let others hold her and watch over her? Is she independent? Does she cry much, or is she quiet and content? Does she like the car?
Well, no… I guess I have a bad baby? Or do I have a totally normal baby? This question just feeds on the totally unrealistic expectations of the idealic view of new motherhood that sets so many people up to feel like failures and to feel like there is something wrong with their babies. I object.
So here’s how I would like to redefine that question, “is she a good baby?”
Does she make your heart swell with love? Does her existence inspire confidence in yourself that you can do anything you put your mind to, even if it’s hard? Does she show interest in the world around her, and do you get a new perspective by seeing the world through her eyes? Does her immense range of emotions open up a whole new range of emotions in you? Does she make you feel needed and wanted? Does she make you excited for the future, and does she make you work to make the world into a better place? Does she make you smile? Does she make you laugh? Sure, she makes you feel tired and scared and frustrated and isolated and deeply challenged and sometimes depressed or anxious, but does she also make you happy?
Then she is a good baby.