When Is a Baby No Longer a Newborn? by Heather Bowles

It’s so hard to believe that my baby is nearly four months old! She’s growing so fast, and every day brings new challenges and new milestones. In that vein, here are my top three reasons you can tell when your baby is no longer a newborn:


3.  You can be relatively certain that smile isn’t just gas.

I was never a morning person before, but my favorite part of the day has become that first morning greeting between us. The smile on her face radiates with meaning. Her recognition of me as her mommy, and the fact that that pleases her pleases me. It means I must be doing something right, right?


2. The baby’s bathtub still fits in the kitchen sink, but the baby does not!

Tabitha has gained such wonderful control of her head and limbs that I no longer worry about her cracking them on the porcelain by accident, but she’s gotten so long that she kicks the side of the sink when I bathe her. The concept of having her in any depth of freestanding water is scary, but next week I’ll try running an actual bath in the tub. She’s such an excitable little lady. Now I’m expecting her to get so overly drove up that she’ll throw herself out of the bath liner in her excitement. Maybe it would be easier to simply sit in the bath with her? I’m playing this one by ear.


1. The baby still wakes the whole house in the middle of the night, but not with screams.

Tabitha’s newborn communications had one tone: I am unhappy. If she wasn’t screaming, she was quiet, and generally, asleep. In the last two or three weeks, however, her vocalizations have taken on nuances that are not all unpleasant. She now babbles incessantly, and although she is no easier to ignore now that she doesn’t always need something when she “speaks”, it is rewarding to not be constantly spurred on by the terrifying sound of her cries. Now I get to lie there in the dark, and listen to her giggle and coo. There’s no greater sound in the world, and really? Who needs sleep anyway?


My little girl is growing fast, and developing into quite a character. She still frustrates me to the point of tears on a nearly daily basis, but the transition from newborn to infant is a welcome one. I am now rewarded for my efforts in ways that are immediate, and socially meaningful. I certainly do not miss the days had to reassure myself that the simple lack of crying meant she was happy.

Is there anything you miss about your baby’s newborn stage? And when did you first begin to see glimmers of their personality?

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  1. 2 Responses to “When Is a Baby No Longer a Newborn? by Heather Bowles”

  2. No, Heather, I must admit I do not miss my son’s incessant crying from colic, projectile vomiting from gastric reflux and practically zero sleep from all of the above. I do, however, have one startling memory that will be ingrained in my memory forever. One day when my son was 10 weeks old, I looked in his cradle, and I was surprised to see that he was awake but not crying (a fleeting miracle!). He turned to look my way and gave me the biggest smile I had yet to see on his face! It was as if the heavens shone down on us for those few moments! I called the world telling them, “He SMILED at me today! He doesn’t hate me!” That smile gave me the most joy he will ever know! As for when you start to notice their personality? It’s already there…at about age 2 you start to put the pieces together, but then you realize that those same characteristics were there from day one…you just didn’t have a point of reference at day one. I will give you an example: Even in my womb, every time my son was restricted in some way, such as me rolling onto my belly a little too much when I slept, he would kick me furiously to let me know he needed more room. Otherwise, he hardly moved. Fast-forward to car seats, high chairs, strollers; He would have a complete fit when he was restrained in any way. And he abhorred being swaddled or put in a sling or carrier. To this day, he refuses to wear clothing that is too tight. That’s just the way he is. Now, I am able to trace it back to the womb. But you’ll see a pattern emerging day by day…month by month…year by year…it is awe inspiring!

    By Cara Meyers on Jul 29, 2012

  3. hahaha. I have that moment every time she smiles at me! She stuck her toes in her mouth for the first time today. It’s strange the little things I take pleasure in these days.

    By Heather Bowles on Jul 29, 2012