|Sleeps through the night by 2 weeks old—8pm-8am||Demands to eat every 2-3 hours throughout the night. Maybe sleeps for 4-6 hours after a couple of months.|
|Plays happily in its crib alone||Demands to be picked up and held|
|Never cries||Cries when it’s needs are not being met|
|Self entertains from early age||Demands face to face interaction|
|Naps in crib 2-3 hours twice a day allowing parents alone time||Naps in baby carrier or in arms or in bed with a parent|
|Falls asleep on his or her own with no unnecessary interaction from parents||Demands to be rocked, sang to, cuddled or nursed to sleep. Prefers to bed-share with parent.|
|Begins eating solid food by 4 months old, and happily takes bottle over breast.||Is fussy. Prefers to breast to bottle. Doesn’t eat solid food more than a taste until 12 months old.|
|Sleeps in carseat whether or not carseat is in car (used as carrier).||Fusses in car seat. Demands to be held when not in car.|
Look at the above list. The markers of a good baby, is one that doesn’t require the parents to alter their lifestyles. Like Emma on Friends, the Good Baby will sleep quietly in the carrier while the parents hang out with friends, go out to dinner, entertain visitors. The Good Baby will be laid down in a crib promptly at 8am and not disturb the parents until 8 am, allowing not only “alone” time for the parents, but also a long, full night of uninterrupted sleep. The Bad Baby cries for attention. He wants interaction with his parents. The Bad Baby expects to be fed multiple times throughout the night. The Bad Baby wants nighttime cuddles and songs. The Bad Baby expects to be removed from the car seat carrier and held in the restaurant if he is awake.
Now obviously, few people call a baby who cries “bad.” But by calling one who doesn’t “good” we are left with the implication that any baby who demands any sort of attention is a “bad” baby. What the heck is wrong with us?
A baby who cries for attention is just communicating. We practiced baby wearing with our first three children. And I can say that it cut down on crying quite a bit. They wanted to be close to their parent (my husband was the primary baby wearer); they wanted to feel loved and protected. When I stopped trying to have my newborn sleep in a crib, she stopped crying as she slept next to me, nursing. In the middle of the night, I would wake up as she did and nurse her before she even cried. Now if she did cry, did that make her bad? No, of course not. My little brother, whom was adopted when I was 17, cried a lot. He had been severely neglected before my parents got him, and had learned to not cry. When he discovered that his cries were responded to, when he cried, he CRIED. I never had a problem with calming him down. I’d pick him up, sing to him, rock him in the chair, and he would be happy. I think he was happy to get attention. How sad to me, that he had given up before we got him, and how happy I am that he learned it was okay to cry and his cries would be answered.
I’m personally disturbed by the sleep training/independence training that goes on because I think it’s sad when a baby stops trying to get attention. One mother wrote on a comment on another blog, that she doesn’t pick her children up when they cry because they need to learn independence, and they won’t learn mobility of they are picked up constantly. My children all walked by 10 months of age, and two of them walked at 8 months! These from children who were worn or carried constantly. Babies will walk when they are ready, and leaving them to fend for themselves will not make them walk quicker.
Granted, some babies are happier than others when left alone. The Olson twins are millionaires because they were quiet babies. This does not make them better babies than ones who cry.
All babies are Good Babies.