A “good baby” is not necessarily good.
The first four to six weeks is usually a roller-coaster for new parents and their babies. As the baby is trying to adjust to life outside the womb, the parents are also staying on their feet in order to make the transition easy for everyone.
Who wouldn’t like a good baby? I mean, a baby that is always calm and quiet, sleeps through the night, doesn’t fuss about food or whine for attention… Every new mom prays to have that kind of baby because it means that she would have more time to rest and do some other things.
But hey! As appealing as the idea of a “good baby” might sound, it doesn’t mean that all is well with a baby that is always calm. There are certain red flags you need to look out for:
1. Your baby sleeps so much that you need to wake him up to feed adequately
2. As a result of 1, he misses his feeding routine or sleeps without feeding for longer than 4 hours
3. He is generally slow to react to touch, light, sound and other stimuli in his environment
4. He has other symptoms such as fever, jaundice, constipation, poor weight gain, etc.
Any of these red flags should raise the suspicion of an underlying condition, which are mostly neurological or endocrine disorders. Neonatal jaundice is one of the commonest causes. If you notice yellowish discolouration of your baby’s skin or eyes, contact your health care provider as soon as possible. Read more about neonatal jaundice here.
Another possibility is congenital hypothyroidism – a condition where the thyroid hormones in the baby is suboptimal as a result of the deficiency in the mother during pregnancy. In developed countries, screening is done for every baby immediately after birth, so that diagnosis may be made early and treatment started promptly.
Babies who sustain brain injury due to adverse events surrounding pregnancy and childbirth could also show some of these “good baby” signs. But there are usually more severe manifestations such as muscle weakness, feeding difficulties and failure to attain developmental milestones.
Bottomline – There is no such thing as a good baby. Normal babies should have a wide range of behaviours, emotions and reactions to their environment. If you have doubts, please seek help!