Bored to Tears By Your New Baby? It’s Normal—Here’s Why

When I pitched the idea of baby-induced boredom to a group of new and seasoned moms, the reaction was swift and singular: everyone knew exactly what I was talking about. One mom, Jackie C. in Toronto, Canada, chimed in at 13 days postpartum. “I keep waiting for her to do something exciting,” she said. “I wish I could start teaching her to talk now!”

While I am delighted by the thought of a conversational newborn (just what would they tell us?!), Jackie’s yearning for something, anything to happen—outside of feeding and diapering—is painfully familiar.

Yet, as parents, we hold this collective belief that our gratitude and joy for our children must stamp out any negative emotion that creeps in. With this mindset, to be bored, aggravated, or itching for alone time is to admit, even to ourselves, that our love for our kids isn’t enough.

And, well, that simply isn’t how it goes.

Newborn babies may be magnificent, little miracles that upend our lives in the best way possible, but they also bore us to tears. They are brilliant tiny beings whose development, to the naked eye, inches on at a snail’s pace. We feed them. We change them. We lull them to sleep. What we get in return is very little engagement and a whole lot of monotony.

 

 

Let’s Normalize It

One mom, just two months into parenthood, gushed with relief upon hearing a whole bunch of parents confess to disliking the newborn stage. “I have felt so guilty because I am just not stimulated by what’s happening in my home,” she said. “There is only so much ‘playing’ I can do before I crave adult interaction!”

If normalizing the malaise brought on by new babies helps chip away at mom guilt, then by all means, let’s fess up to our frustrations. After nine-plus months of eagerly anticipating baby’s arrival, suddenly finding ourselves with nothing to do but rock, change, and feed in endless succession can be a bit of a record scratch. And with nary a coo, smile, or miniature wave as a reward, it’s easy to feel like this feeling could stretch on forever. 

 

After nine-plus months of eagerly anticipating baby’s arrival, suddenly finding ourselves with nothing to do but rock, change, and feed in endless succession can be a bit of a record scratch.

 

It doesn’t mean we don’t love the baby in our arms. It doesn’t mean we aren’t bursting with gratitude for them. It just means that screeching to a halt after the whirl of pregnancy activity leaves us struggling to find new footing.

 

How We Survive It

The good news here is that there’s no need to overhaul your entire life to engage exclusively in baby-friendly activities. You’re still you. As Emily Patillo, a developmental therapist, explained, newborn babies don’t need anything fancy or involved—they just need you.

“You form connection with your baby through your touch and voice,” she said. “So, make them a part of your ordinary routines. You can hold or wear baby in a carrier and simply go about your day, talking or singing to your little one as you go.”

 

 

You form connection with your baby through your touch and voice. So, make them a part of your ordinary routines… and simply go about your day, talking or singing to your little one as you go.

 

Many moms I spoke to shared that long hours feeding tiny newborns translated into Netflix binges or reading marathons. For many, being stuck on the couch with a hungry baby meant time to breeze through shows or catch up on books they might otherwise skip entirely. The boredom can be a blessing, even when it makes us want to tear our hair out.

It also helps to remember that, like everything to do with childhood, these agonizing moments are fleeting. What pains us today becomes a distant memory by tomorrow. As Meg M. in Pittsburgh, PA reminded me, with each passing milestone, babyhood gets better and better.

“I always say right when we are about to lose our minds, they learn to smile. Thank goodness.”

 

Read More: How Do I Actually Play With My Newborn?