Why We Miss Our Newborns

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Ah, the newborn period. Those first few months of parenthood find you terrified you’ll break the baby. Stupid with sleep exhaustion. And convinced you’re doing everything completely and utterly wrong. It’s a blur, really, of parental boot camp. You love your bundle of joy more than you ever thought it possible to love anything, and you still want to chuck him out the window when he won’t stop wailing. It’s hard to unravel the non-parent selfishness and put someone else first. It’s hard to have a newborn.

And don’t tell a newborn parent this, because they might cut you, but: veteran parents miss the newborn period desperately. We dream about it. Not because it’s much easier, really. But because it’s so much simpler than toddler tantrums and theater camps and best friend drama. Don’t hate us. But we miss newborns.

Newborns are portable. Pop ’em in a stroller or a baby carrier and you’re good to go. They don’t need shoes you can’t find. They don’t shriek because you won’t play KidzBop 98 for the twenty thousandth time. Nope, newborns you can pick up and take anywhere you like. Want to go shopping? Grab the baby, the baby’s gear, and go. Newborns don’t play tag in the clothing racks. If you play it right, they might even sleep through a Starbucks trip. You don’t have to bribe them with a kid’s steamer. Bliss.

Newborns are easy to feed. You have two choices: breast or bottle. Maybe you feel guilty about your choice (you shouldn’t) or embarrassed about your choice (you shouldn’t be). Regardless of any baby-feeding angst, the baby is easy to feed. Open mouth, insert boob/bottle. The baby doesn’t freak out because you cut his apple the wrong way. He doesn’t demand one food, then turn up his nose and demand something else entirely. We veteran moms long for the days that lunch was so easy.

Newborns don’t play with toys. Sure, you might dangle something in front of them once in awhile. But mostly, newborns have no interest in toys, because they can hardly focus their damn eyes – unlike older kids, who not only play with toys but strew them from one end of the house to the other. Newborns don’t make you step on a Lego barefoot, which is just as bad as everyone claims it is.

Newborns are snuggly. You can spend a whole day sniffing your baby’s head, cuddling him on your chest, and making cooing noises. Big kids get too fast and too busy to stop for a hug. Veteran moms miss those easy kisses and warm snuggles.

Newborns don’t have clothing preferences. Tug on a onesie and you’re ready to go. Newborns have zero opinion about your sartorial choices. Big kids, on the other hand, want to wear the green one. Or they won’t give up that dress that’s way too short. Or they want to wear a Spiderman outfit to church. They protest at button-downs and tights. They lose their shoes, probably on purpose. At least when I lost my newborn’s bootie, I knew it was my fault.

Newborns can be confined to a bouncy seat. And a bouncy seat means you can take a shower. You might have to sing “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider” over and over at top volume to prevent shrieking, but there’s still shampoo and the divine bliss of warm water. Possibly even sugar scrub, and you might get to shave your legs. Having older kids means you can’t ever shower, because they’ll take the lack of supervision as a chance to permanent marker the dog. Even worse, they may demand to shower with you, turning your oasis of calm into kiddie water park time. At least in a bouncy seat, you know where they’re at.

Newborns aren’t disobedient. They don’t do anything, so they can’t refuse to do anything. Newborns are just sweet little bundles of pure need. They can’t plot against you. They can’t refuse to clean up the Legos, again, after you asked, again. They don’t jump on the couch. They just need a cuddle and a feed, not a prolonged negotiation.

Newborn have basic needs. They’re in need of food, rest, cuddles, and a clean diaper. Or they’re in pain. You may have to do some guesswork, but you know your sweet baby isn’t weeping because Jackson said he isn’t his friend. Big kids get big needs pretty quickly. They need you to like their picture. They need to be driven to soccer practice. They need green tights for the play, and they need them tomorrow. Life was easier when you could just pull out a bottle/boob.

But mostly, newborns smell good. We big kid moms miss the chance to lean over and take a big ol’ wiff of newborn baby head. Our kids lost that baby scent years ago, and they don’t smell so good anymore. What do you miss about having a newborn?

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