Recently my mother commented that Kieran had been an easy baby. While I agree, it occurred to me that many would disagree. Here are two reasons why:
Kieran slept great – provided he was on me. If I tried to get him to sleep elsewhere, he screamed. Since most in the West believe infants must sleep on their own, all night, most wouldn’t consider it easy. Once I figured out how to breastfeed side-lying, which does have a learning curve, nights were really easy. I woke enough to get him latched on and then fell back asleep. That way we both slept well.
I breastfed completely on demand and never used bottles or dummies. To me, this seems really easy – baby fusses, just feed him. Many, however, don’t feed on demand and/or think babies need to be scheduled and/or take bottles and dummies. To them, my way of doing things might not seem easy, but to me it’s loads easier than bothering with sterilizing bottles or finding lost dummies or remembering when the child last ate or ensuring I brought enough milk when out of the house. Besides, my milk supply would’ve suffered had I not just followed his cues.
With just these two examples, it seems clear to me that a baby being “easy” is relative. Perhaps it is because of my expectations: I do not expect my babies to sleep through the night at an early age or to go long periods without breastfeeding, so it doesn’t seem like a burden to me.
Update: The reason this came back to my mind was a conversation I saw about Babywise. Despite the dangers of that book, many follow it, thinking it’s helpful. Sometimes when those of us who are against it say that, we’re told that our babies must have been easy so we didn’t feel the need to use such programs. But many wouldn’t consider my babies easy. My 3-year-old doesn’t sleep through the night most of the time, let alone my 12-month-old. So again, I think the definition of “easy baby” comes down to perspective.