Childrearing

It’s Okay To Be Bored By Your Baby, Because Babies Are Totally Boring

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boring-babyBabies are boring. There, I said it. I put it out there so you don’t have to. Now go on and watch some guilt-free marathons of American Horror Story, new parents.

There is a lot of advice out there about bonding with your new baby. This advice does nothing but convince moms there’s some magical bonding ritual they should be partaking in, and if they don’t they may never really bond. Bullshit.

Here’s some of this advice I’m talking about, from everyone’s favorite attachment parenting guru, Dr. Sears:

The first few weeks of your baby’s life help set the stage for your relationship. I recommend that parents spend as much time in skin-to-skin and eye-to-eye contact as possible — what I call birth bonding — after all, cuddling with your brand-new baby is one of the richest rewards of parenthood.

Skin-to-skin and eye-to-eye contact? Now we have to stare at our boring babies all day in order to bond? No.

This advice is pretty benign, and may actually be pleasurable for people who have fallen into the new-baby-love-haze. But the whole idea of “bonding” with your new baby can be a very stressful one. All of the “love at first sight” anecdotes can actually be pretty damaging for those of us who weren’t hit with the thunderbolt of maternal love everyone says strikes you as soon as you give birth. I think the best thing you can do to bond with your baby, is just be a happier mom in general. So I’m telling you that you have every right to be bored by your new baby and have no interest in staring into her eyes all day.

All of those months of anticipation leading up to the birth of your first child may culminate in a feeling of utter disappointment when the baby arrives and you are at a loss for what you are supposed to be doing with yourself during those times when you aren’t feeding her or changing her diaper. There really isn’t much more to do for your newborn. So get your cuddle on as much as possible, but don’t be hard on yourself if you find yourself wanting to watch marathon sessions of bad TV or something equally as indulgent.

Babies are boring. It’s time we all admitted it. If you find yourself at a loss for what to do to entertain your newborn, might I suggest holding her while you eat pizza and catch up on Skype with your friends? Or sticking her in a bouncer so you can give yourself a pedicure? Babies are immobile — it’s okay to not be totally entertained/entertaining them at all times. Set her down and do something for yourself.

(photo: Oksana Kuzmina/ Shutterstock)

52 Comments

  1. Ursi

    November 7, 2014 at 7:49 am

    glad to hear my Sims 3 experience with babies is pretty much accurate

  2. PatriciaZHuddleston

    November 7, 2014 at 7:57 am

    i love this

  3. keelhaulrose

    November 7, 2014 at 8:06 am

    Eye to eye contact? Those little boogers only woke up to eat. I cuddled them all the time, but getting them to stay awake? Pfft.

    I’m not science-y, but I thought baby’s eyes weren’t developed enough in the first couple weeks that eye contact was meaningful. I thought it was more “here’s this blurry blob talking to me”.

    Caveat- I did realize, after her diagnosis, that little one didn’t make much eye contact as an infant, but that was more pronounced months down the line, not in the first few weeks.

    • falcongirl

      November 7, 2014 at 8:32 am

      It’s all they can do to get them point in the same direction. Eye-to-eye contact with newborns is nonsense.

    • NeuroNerd

      November 7, 2014 at 4:36 pm

      Your science is correct. Newborn babies see in blurry black and white. Their vision develops such that it’s at roughly the adult level by a year.

    • keelhaulrose

      November 7, 2014 at 4:43 pm

      Thank you! It was early in the morning and I did not have time to science before getting my daughter on the bus, so I am glad someone with a little knowledge saw this and filled in my blank.

  4. jane

    November 7, 2014 at 8:30 am

    I was absolutely 1000% hit by that immediate post-birth “I love this person so much I will die if something happens to them” (which I had not felt at all during pregnancy, BTW. I felt nothing except that my body was housing an increasingly large parasite) and I STILL found my babies boring as hell.

    • Mimi

      November 7, 2014 at 8:35 am

      Honestly, it took me several weeks to like my baby and “bond” with her, despite breastfeeding and skin-to-skin and as much eye contact as I could without being creepy. She’s 14 months now and SO much more fun than as a baby! People keep asking when we’ll try for No. 2 and all I can think is “but she JUST got really interesting!”. #notreadytogobacktobabystage

  5. Mimi

    November 7, 2014 at 8:33 am

    So… does that mean I’m NOT the only one to google “what do to with an infant all day?”????

    • Stephanie.C

      November 7, 2014 at 9:47 am

      I definitely did that multiple times after about 2 months when she was more alert and awake for longer and I couldn’t just watch bad TV while she slept on me all day.

    • samantha

      November 7, 2014 at 10:20 am

      I’m about to enter this stage haha, she turned two months yesterday and now I don’t know what to do when she’s awake 😛

    • ChickenKira

      November 7, 2014 at 6:09 pm

      At least once a week I have a mother with a child between the ages of a few weeks – 4 months come into the library and ask, usually quite embarrassed, “Umm… do you have a book about *big breath* what to… you know, how to… do things… with a baby?” because they want to know SOMETHING, but it’s such a hard thing to ask for because it does make you feel like you’re doing something wrong. I usually come back with a “Oh sister I’ve been there” style of comment, because hell, I have and yes, we do have books about what you can do with a baby and sorry guys, there actually isn’t that much in there that we don’t already know because there isn’t an awful lot that they do.

      So I usually spruik our baby storytime sessions aimed at under 1’s, and assure them that it’s more of a chat amongst us with a few rhymes and a feely book or a puppet book in between because aside from it getting people into the habit of taking their kids to the library, well, it’s useful because it makes you feel like you are doing something when there isn’t much you can do. Good for the mental health.

  6. Cindy Ailey

    November 7, 2014 at 8:42 am

    You don’t really want your baby to be TOO bonded to you, otherwise you’ll get a toddler that wants to stare you in the eye all day long and won’t let you poop in privacy.

    • Stephanie.C

      November 7, 2014 at 10:28 am

      Hmmmm….is that where I went wrong? My 16 months old freaks out if I go to the bathroom alone. Although she does the same thing with my mom too so maybe she just likes the bathroom?

    • KarenMS

      November 7, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      My daughter loves the bathroom. She’ll drop anything (including watching Frozen) if I say “go potty with Mommy?” and briskly toddle her way down to the bathroom.

    • EditKitten

      November 7, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      My cats are obsessed with being with me in the bathroom. If I close the door, they lose their ever-loving shit and cry like I’m beating them. Same thing?

    • KaeTay

      November 8, 2014 at 12:37 am

      does yours also stick it’s paws under the door like mine?

    • EditKitten

      November 8, 2014 at 9:14 am

      Yep.

  7. LadyClodia the Modest Rat

    November 7, 2014 at 8:56 am

    It seemed like my first only slept for extended periods of time during the day if he was on me, so we cuddled a lot, but I can’t remember how much eye contact we made. Probably not a lot because he was sleeping and I was either watching TV or on my laptop, because, yeah, babies are boring.
    My second didn’t like to be held, and wouldn’t sleep on me. So I would nurse him and put him in his swing where he happily slept even when his brother ran around the house screaming like a maniac. I missed cuddling with him, but it ended up working out OK because it would have been much more difficult if he had needed to be held as much as his older brother had.

  8. Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

    November 7, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Yeah, newborns were boring and demanding for me. I like the small child stage so much better…

  9. Kat

    November 7, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Right, but the real question is — is it okay to break eye contact so that I can apply a new frozen pad (or “padsicle” if you will) to my hoo-haa, which just went 9 rounds with a bowling ball?

  10. Marie

    November 7, 2014 at 10:06 am

    I really tried to do all the bonding stuff with my first born and got really frustrated at how boring it was. Then I had my next baby 16 months later and just stuffed him into a Baby Bjorn whenever he was awake and not nursing because I needed both hands (and both eyes) to keep up with the toddler. Both survived just fine. In fact, I think that just holding your child while you get on with life is much more of a bonding experience than staring at him or her and waiting for the waves of love to magically wash over you. “Bonding time” is a luxury most women don’t get and their babies do just fine.

    • CMP414

      November 7, 2014 at 10:17 am

      That’s pretty much how things are for me. I have a nearly 3 year old and a 2 month old. I got to keep up my older girl and she’s nuts! So I am either wearing the baby or chasing down my oldest while the baby is in the stroller. I am sure everyone is going to turn out ok

    • samantha

      November 7, 2014 at 10:24 am

      I feel closest to my two month old when I’m wearing her, so I definitely get that. She always falls asleep in her wrap, and I love the hands-free snuggles

  11. Lily

    November 7, 2014 at 10:08 am

    We warched a lot of 30 Rock during those first few months. Plus I wanted my daughter to make her role model Tina Fey because that is the only woman that I would be OK with my husband leaving me for.

    • KarenMS

      November 7, 2014 at 12:28 pm

      How I Met Your Mother was our all day go-to. And I randomly got into Full Throttle Saloon. I remember maternity leave as a weird time…

    • Aussiemum

      November 11, 2014 at 10:01 am

      Loved full throttle saloon! Is it ever coming back on?

  12. LeggEggTorpedoTits

    November 7, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Yeah, right around 2 months I was begging all the moms I knew to tell me what I was supposed to do to…what? entertain them? employ them? keep them from screaming?

    You know what I got? I got a lot of beating around the bush and have you tried XYZ plaything?, which I just assumed meant something along the lines of “I have no fucking clue, sister, I’m wingin’ it, too.”

  13. PAJane

    November 7, 2014 at 10:46 am

    How are you supposed to make meaningful eye contact with someone too little to focus their eyes on you?

  14. bbg1129

    November 7, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Oh good. I’m building up a large library on Steam to amuse myself come April. I can have small fry next to me while I game on my laptop, right?

    • Tourmalily

      November 7, 2014 at 11:58 am

      This is my plan when I have kids. If I can pvp with a cat climbing all over me and a dog knocking into shit and farting so badly that my nostril hairs fall out, I think I could manage some rpgs between feedings.

    • Lily

      November 7, 2014 at 12:08 pm

      Yep no problem. My husband plays World Of Tanks all the time with our daughter in his lap. She is totslly going to be a gamer/comic/steampunk geek.

    • DreamGene-y

      November 7, 2014 at 12:19 pm

      My husband is still talks about the headshot he managed in CoD while feeding our first! Now we’re both guilty of playing while parenting.

    • WhattheHellPARTYHARDBELLSPROUT

      November 7, 2014 at 7:47 pm

      Steam and my partner’s old Super Nintendo saved my sanity when I was at home with my newborn “human larva”

  15. jendra_berri

    November 7, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    I relate to this entirely.
    My aunt, who stayed with me for two weeks, told me the best thing I could have heard: Too much emphasis is put on this bonding business these days. You’ll bond over time when you take care of him and notice all the cute things he does. Don’t worry about it.
    So I didn’t. Pressure off, I did bond, very slowly over time but had to remind myself not to give myself any grief because some other mother was head over heels. My aunt, who loved her grown sons very much, said I was normal. I needed that.
    I love him to bits now, and I’ve noticed the love is always growing. I wish more people would talk about that. You only ever hear about love at first sight, you only ever see that in TV and movies.
    I’m a slow cooker, I need time!
    (And I was totally bored for a long time. I suppose if you’re already in love with your baby you’d find it more exciting. But since I wasn’t yet, nope)

    • PAJane

      November 7, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      A new-mom friend told me that the emphasis on, “OMG teasure every moment!” was really stressful for her. A lot of those moments are boring, or just routine, and not worth particularly treasuring. “They grow up so fast, don’t miss a minute!” Ok, now you’re in a panic because what if you don’t get all the enjoying potential out of every fart? All the expectation makes it harder to actually accomplish.

    • CynicalMomof3

      November 7, 2014 at 6:00 pm

      Books/websites were telling me of instant crazy-love, MIL was telling me babies were easy (just feed them a bottle and set them down, don’t pick them up if they cry), and I was miserable. I also beat the freerice game, started farmville and cafeworld and every other game I could play during the hours of daily nursing (when I was supposed to stare them in the (mostly closed) eyes), and holding the baby because when put down, they only scream.

      Subsequent children were definitely easier, since there were older/more interesting kids to play with during the quiet times.

      There were definitely moments- many of them- when I gazed at my children in adoration. But that only works for so long.

      I was sure I was broken for years. Few people will admit these feelings. Oh, and depressed, self-loathing mothering is probably worse than not-staring-24/7 mothering. Just a guess

  16. Rachel

    November 7, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    I so wish I’d known this a year ago.

  17. KarenMS

    November 7, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    I definitely spent the first couple months of my daughters life stressing that I was doing something wrong, or missing something, because all we did was have bottles in bed, pump, have bottles in the living room, sleep, pump, etc. I remembered hearing how busy moms are and I was just bored. (Clearly things are different now with an almost 2 year old.)

  18. Amanda

    November 7, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    My manager at work said the best thing to my husband about this… “You just kind of keep them alive”

  19. Véronique the Attachment Shark

    November 7, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    I had a dream last night. There was an epidemic deadly disease, and we were running away from it. My two-year old was there, my husband was there, and my niece and nephew… But my 5 month old wasn’t… Was he already dead? Or did I just forget him in my dream?? When I woke up, I knew that it was because I wasn’t as profoundly attached to him as with my 2 year old, simply because I’ve had my daughter for, well, 2 years now. I adore my son, love him with every fiber of my being. But the bonding thing builds with time. So I don’t feel guilty about my dream. It is what it is.

  20. Michael Weldon

    November 7, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Have know this for years and years now-babies are pretty useless until they can at least sit up.

  21. MerlePerle

    November 7, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    God, babies are so boring! But I always figured the alternative to my boring blobs would have been colicky, gassy, screaming blobs, so boring was good!

    • CynicalMomof3

      November 7, 2014 at 6:02 pm

      I had a colicky one after 2 normal ones, and yes, you are correct.

  22. Marisa Quinn-Haisu

    November 7, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    I loved holding my baby and stroking her little head while she slept on me. She doesn’t do it that much anymore. She’s all about playing with toys now and trying to figure out how to crawl and sit up. But every now and again she falls asleep on me again and snuggles up against me and I hold her tight and think to myself wow her legs are long now and she’s only 5 months.

  23. Kirsten

    November 7, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    OMG boring babies?? I got two colicky demons who required constant interaction and jiggling and bouncing so they screamed slightly less. I got terrible arm and neck issues with the second. Thankfully the first is now a delightful toddler, and the second is now a jolly and cute 8 month old. But the first 4 or so months with both of them was hell.

  24. KaeTay

    November 8, 2014 at 12:32 am

    I really hate it when people say babies are boring.. they aren’t there for your amusement.. they just happen to do and say funny/cute stuff when they’re older. I kind of miss the time when my daughter just laid there and slept. There wasn’t that dreaded “oh shit it’s quiet, what is she getting into.. NOT the SALT AGAIN!?” seriously this girl has found ways to get the massive salt containers 3 times and dump it all out on the ceramic tile. She’s became really good at climbing.

    • Tourmalily

      November 8, 2014 at 3:12 pm

      “They just happen to do and say funny/cute stuff when they’re older”

      Hence more interesting and fun than the boring baby phase??

      I don’t see why it’s a big deal. No one is saying omg babies suck they’re boring little losers.

  25. Gangle

    November 9, 2014 at 5:26 am

    I thankfully didn’t read any baby books about how to bond etc, so I was blissfully unaware that I was meant to spend all my time ‘bonding’ with my baby. I love changing, bathing, and nursing her, and I play really lame games like airplane and nose kissing and dancing, and I enjoy snuggling up for cuddles and looking at art books. But I have stuff that needs doing like the housework and cooking and gardening. So my kid spends quite a bit of time on the floor by herself playing with some rattles and bibs (she goes crazy for a bib) or giggling to herself or doing whatever it is she is doing. She is still in the same room as me, but I am busy working. I figure if she didn’t like it she would stop cooing and giggling and cry out for me.

  26. the_ether

    November 9, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Yeah, I’m bored. We’re watching a lot of House and Will & Grace.

    Everyone who comes round stares at him in fascination but for a lot of the time when we’re alone he’s just this…thing I do stuff for. I’ve been worried since we were separated after he was born that I don’t love him like I ought to. I feel protective of him, but once the post-birth hormones stopped I didn’t have the big flood of warm fuzzies that everyone told me to expect.

  27. Guest

    November 10, 2014 at 8:06 am

    Bonding and eye contact? I hated breast feeding and was glad I had an excuse to stop due to my kids lactose intolerance. Babies are boring until they at least start to smile. I was give my son to anyone who would take him as soon as he was fed, it took 1.5 hours at a time. Love my two to bits but have no desire to do all that boring monotonous newborn stuff again

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