I do not have a “bad baby.”
Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a “good baby.” One of the questions I get most during my postpartum journey is “is she a good baby?” I hate this question. I despise this question. Maybe because its my second time around. Maybe because I have more confidence as a mother. Maybe because the last five days have been extremely trying with a fussy baby. I’m putting enough pressure on myself right now. Is it my milk? Am I eating something that upsets her? Am I just not being patient enough with her? Is it because now there’s two? Am I failing to meet both their needs? I mean, for real, going from one to two is hard. It’s hard work and littered with constant self doubt.
I know people mean well but, what is the alternative to this question? That she is a bad baby? If she cries a little more than normal (what is a normal amount of crying anyway?!) then she’s a bad baby? If she doesn’t nurse like a dream in the beginning, she’s a bad baby? If she doesn’t sleep through the night at one week old, is she a bad baby?
This is what my postpartum looks like. Tired eyes. Frizzy hair. Half calf coffee. Baby in wrap. The last few days have been nothing short of challenging, but we’ve been blessed to have family and friends supporting us. Instead of hiding it, this time around I’m owning it. #takebackpostpartum
I mean, COME ON PEOPLE! She’s a baby! She’ll have enough pressure to fit into society’s standards as she grows up, let’s please let her be a baby for now. She’s not vindictive in her behaviors, she’s not out to get me, she doesn’t get joy from keeping me up at night. She is an innocent baby with basic needs for survival.
Nourishment. Comfort. Love. Warmth. And a clean diaper.
Other than that, she isn’t asking for much. So yes, she is a good baby. She may wake up every two to four hours. She may get fussy when she’s gassy because she’s not used to the sensation and discomfort. She may cry because she’s tired and needs snuggles to fall asleep. I don’t classify these as making her a bad baby or a good baby. She’s just being a baby. And I’m just being her momma. Loving her even when it’s difficult. Asking for grace and praying for patience. Lots of patience.
My hormones guilt me enough in these early days. Implying my baby can be either good or bad doesn’t help anything. Instead tell me she’s adorable. Tell me I make cute babies. Tell me I’m doing a good job. These are the words of encouragement a mother needs. I pray we focus more on supporting mothers no matter what their journey looks like. Even if it doesn’t fit your standard of good or normal.