Babies are born into the world with some pretty impressive instincts that make them capable of adapting quickly to their new surroundings. They can grasp, wriggle, suck, and cry. They have that crying thing down that’s for sure—letting us parents know they need something double quick. They are born knowing what hungry feels like, and they certainly know how to get someone to make that hungry feeling to go away.
They have many other instincts, as well as a primitive inclination towards survival, but those skills seem to take a bit longer for them to master. Until they get those basic skills down, babies can be pretty tough to live with for a while. They don’t know how to eat, they don’t know how to put themselves to sleep; I mean they don’t even know how to take a proper dump, for goodness’s sake!
It’s funny how adults don’t even consider the processes of eating, sleeping, and relieving your bowels as any sort of accomplishment—and yet for babies—they are life-changing milestones they work hard to achieve. Once they master these important skills, they get to move on to more impressive and amusing abilities, such as throwing a bottle in mom’s face.
If you are soon having a baby, or you’re just the curious type, you might want to brush up on these 15 times when babies really need to get their sh*t together.
15 Getting The Nourishment Thing Down
Whether you choose to breast or bottle feed, it will take some time for your new baby to get the hang of things. I mean, your baby was literally just born yesterday, so obviously he doesn't know the difference between a nipple, a pacifier, or a finger. This is why babies will suck on almost anything, but his sucking reflex is all he needs to get that nourishment thing down, so be patient. He will get the hang of things. Until then, you can amuse yourself by watching him root around for the nipple or bottle, you can smile at him as he experiences that milk coma for the first time, you can brush your index finger along his sweet, soft cheek, and you can enjoy bonding with your baby while you wait for him to get it together. The journey, yes?
14 Learning How To Sleep Is Hard AF
Every parent can attest to their least favorite quality of the newborn baby, and this is the area where I think babies need to get it together the most--mastering sleep. We all wish our baby will be that one, you know, the one that sleeps through the night without mom and dad even having to try. I was lucky, I had one of those. And then I had baby number 2. I'm here to tell you, I believe in zombies. They are sleep-deprived parents, and they are scary.
Learning how to sleep is actually an extremely difficult process for babies to accomplish. They are wired to sleep with mom and dad. Their instinct is to remain close to a parent who can protect them. Some babies have the ability to learn quickly to associate their crib with sleep, but all babies have different personalities at birth. Some babies have traits that require more interaction with their parents, and some kids have a stubborn gene that you can see in their tear-filled eyes. Babies also get hungry frequently throughout the night, and they will wake to eat. Just remember, this too shall pass. Tell yourself: No baby can stay awake forever. That's how I got through it, anyway.
13 Peeing And Pooping Takes Mad Skills
"Your body is a machine," said my 7th grade biology teacher. Well, it turns out, he was right. The body is a beautiful, complicated system and it starts working inside mom's uterus, but it fully begins running at birth. Babies take a long time to master control over their bowels and bladder. They won't be able to control when they pee or poo, but even getting that system flowing can be painful and difficult for baby.
My son experienced a lot of bowel trouble, such as extreme gas (sometimes considered Colic), difficulty pushing, and even trouble relieving the gas through burping. It was really hard to watch as he struggled through the kinks of his new 'system'. Eventually, his body started working the way it should, but just be aware it will take some time for baby's system to get running smoothly. You may need to see a doctor in extreme cases, as I did, or you may just need to wait it out. Peeing and pooping takes mad skills, but they will master those skills eventually.
12 I've Got This Crying Thing Down, So Why Can't Mom Understand What I Need?
Babies sole means of communication is through crying, but let's all just admit that baby's cries are stressful for mom and dad. Even worse, when you do everything you can think of to make baby happy, but he is still wailing like the world is coming to an end, that is frustrating and deflating for us parents. Sometimes we lose confidence in our abilities to parent when we feel like our efforts are not being met with peace and serenity. We believe that feeding, rocking, and a few whispered endearments should be met with snuggles and smiles, not tortured screams like we just gave baby a shot.
We get it, baby, you need to cry to tell us what you need, but sometimes I just want to tell baby, "Chill dude, I got you." When mom and dad are doing everything in their arsenal to make you happy, can you just get it together and simmer down? Thanks so much!
11 When Eating Solids
There is nothing messier than a baby learning how to eat solid foods. It's funny, of course. We all love to watch babies wince when they lick a lemon for the first time, or we enjoy watching their expressions as they try different foods, different temperatures, "Whoa! That was cold!" I had the best time introducing my kids to new foods (And eating some of it myself. Don't judge, baby food is tasty!). But the mess, my goodness! I know the why of it, "I don't know where my mouth is", "But it's fun to watch gravity in action as I drop mashed potatoes onto the floor", and, "What? The dog looked hungry. I thought I'm supposed to share?" Baby, could you please get that food a little bit closer to your mouth? And FYI: Spaghetti sauce is not--I repeat--is NOT finger paint.
10 When Grasping Objects
Babies have the instinctive grasp down. They can grip your finger immediately after birth, which is pretty cool, I must say. But, they still struggle with gross and finer motor skills. Those skills are important for baby to learn how to navigate their world, and it can be difficult to wait for them to figure it out, especially if you are a lazy mom like me. I remember I couldn't wait for my babies to figure out how to hold their own bottles, or hold their own toys to entertain themselves. See? Lazy. This is a safe space, right?
Anyhoo, it's pretty fun when they do figure out how to hold/grasp objects with their hands. They start doing pretty entertaining things, like throwing objects at your head, and pulling the dog's tail for example. Fun!
9 Sitting On My Own
Babies usually start sitting on their own between the ages of 4-7 months. This is one of my favorite milestones, because I feel like babies really start feeling like they have a little more control of their own lives, thus less crying and more contentment. We can all use a little less crying, thank you very much. Most babies at this age are starting to explore the world right in front of them--toys, blankets, puzzles, soft books--and they can entertain themselves for short periods of time. Every once and I while they will fall over, so keep an eye on them, perhaps a few cushions nearby, and even though we want them to hurry up and sit, we have to give them time to work on those sitting muscles.
8 When Learning How To Balance
Balancing is tough. I know quite a few adults who still don't have this skill mastered, so it seems a little unfair to expect babies to get it right. Still, we parents want them to get this skill down so we can trust them to move around the house without falling down every other second. The reason balance is so tough to master is that there are a number of things that go into establishing balance:
First, babies legs aren't strong enough to balance even if they wanted to. They have to build up the muscles in their legs before they can even attempt it. Next, they have to understand depth, distance, and gravity in order to remain stable and upright. This process can be affected by illness, ear infections, brain trauma, and all of the bodies systems go in to getting it right: skeletal, visual, circulatory, and nervous systems. We know it's a big deal when baby establishes good balance, but don't mind us if we giggle, just a little, when you fall down. Why is it so funny when people fall down?
7 Understanding The World Around Me
It's a mad world out there, I tell you! Babies have to figure it out quick, and they are likely to suffer a few scrapes and bruises in the process. Don't worry, exploration is a natural part of learning and growing up. We parents just wish they would be a little bit more careful in their exploration process, right? Dora's an explorer, but you don't see her throwing herself off cliffs, so why do you gotta jump from the coffee table onto the couch, "Just because"? I know, I know, you are learning your environment, testing your boundaries, and understanding your body's strengths and limitations. But seriously, could you please not kill yourself in the process? That would be great.
6 When Learning How To Crawl
Crawling takes a lot of the skills we have already discussed: balance, strength in the leg muscles, and gross motor skills. Crawling normally occurs between the ages of 6-10 months. Just like sitting, this is an exciting time when babies are really excited to explore their world, and it can be a really magical time for mom and dad.
It can also be pretty scary when baby starts moving around the house, and suddenly everything in your house looks like a potential baby hazard. Babies have this inate ability to seek out only those things that are the worst for them. Is that Mother Nature's way of controlling the population? I don't know, but for for the love, baby, don't lick that outlet, please don't wrap that cord around your neck, and don't stick that marble in your mouth. Crawling is an exciting time, but keep an eye on baby for a while, and be sure to babyproof your house as much as possible.
5 When Learning How To Walk
When babies are learning how to walk, they fall so often and there are so many false alarms with one or two baby steps, that you wonder when they are gonna get it together and start walking for good. Walking is one of the biggest milestones baby will conquer, and it will eventually lead baby into toddlerdom. Many spills will occur before baby masters this huge task, and once they begin walking, most parents wish they would go back to crawling. Running around after a walker is exhausting, but just remember, you asked for it!
4 When Learning How To Talk
We all want baby to communicate in a way other than crying. Making speech in effort to communicate is amazingly complex. Babies begin listening to their parents speak when they are still in the womb. They attempt speech very early, but it takes many months before parents will hear baby's first word. Some sounds are easier for baby to master, and it will be many more months before those sounds become coherent words, and even more time must pass before babies can those words into sentences. It can be frustrating for parents when their baby is trying to say something, but can't quite get the words out. Don't you just wish you could communicate with your baby telepathically? That would make life so much easier. Until that magical day comes, keep trying to understand their sounds. Speak clearly with your child and they will get those sounds put together soon enough. Sure wish I could get my kids to unlearn that particular skill...
3 I'm Not Supposed To Touch This?
Baby, could you please stop touching things that are going to hurt you? Get it together, would ya? I swear, babies will grab everything they are not supposed to. "Sharp knife? What a facinating gleam you have! Heavy glass object? The better to break you and cut myself with! Large dog? What big teeth you have, let me just put my hand in your mouth and check those out for myself! Silly mommy, you left your hot coffee just within my reach. If I stand on tiptoes, I can pour it all over myself! Yippee!"
Dear baby, I'm begging you, please stop grabbing everything in the world that could cause you harm. Your mommy and daddy love you and we don't want to see you hurt!
2 When Eating With Utensils
"What is this thing? Am I supposed to play with it, drop it on the floor, or put it in my mouth? And do I put it in my mouth only after the food has fallen off? That sounds right. I'll do that!" Yes, I'm a baby interpreter. I know what babies are thinking, and they really struggle with the concept of utensils. That's cool though. People didn't even eat with utensils until the 4th century, so whatevs. Pretty entertaining stuff, watching babies try to figure out these eating implements. I'm kind of on the side of finger foods anyways, so what do I know? Get it together babies! Just use your hands. More fun, and more fun to watch mom and dad clean up the mess!
1 Sleeping On My Own Through The Night
Sleeping on your own is tough. It's lonely, I can understand that. Some kids never master this skill. Mine still creep into my bed in the middle of the night, so I get you, baby. How are you supposed to get it together when older kids can't even do it? Still, it would be nice if you could occassionally find the strength--or exhaustion--to sleep in your own room, in your own bed, the whole night, every once in a while. Mommy and daddy need some alone time, you feel me? Okay, so you don't really get that. You think we want your darling, chubby little feet in our faces every. single. night. But, I assure you, we won't forget that you exist if you sleep in a separate room. You are still the center of our universe, and we will love you forever. But, just this once, sleep in your own room.