I recently visited my brother-in-law and sister-in-law and their new baby. For the first time in a long time, I was baby-obsessed. I held my nephew for hours so his parents could eat in peace. I bounced him and rocked him while he cried, and once he quieted, I felt like a damn baby whisperer. (I never felt that way with my own babies.) I was even happy to change his diaper...more than once!
The whole experience made me realize that after a certain point—i.e., the point where you’re done having babies of your own, like I am—being an aunt is way better than having another baby. Here are 10 reasons why:
1. You don’t have to give birth to that baby
That is, unless you were that baby’s surrogate, which is a completely separate, incredible experience. But for many people who are done having children, being able to avoid another labor or cesarean section is reason enough not to have another baby.
2. You aren’t primarily responsible for the baby’s basic needs
Diaper changes and bottle-feedings take on a whole new meaning when you’re an aunt. They’re babycare novelties—not tasks that you must carry out every single day, multiple times a day, for an entire year.
3. You get to enjoy that new(ish) baby smell again
I tell you, it's like a magical drug.
But if you’re lucky, your niece or nephew will think you’re awesome, even well into their teen years.
4. You can treat your baby fever
For some people, there’s always a small corner of your heart that wants another baby, even if the rest of your body and soul is absolutely done with your baby-making days. Spending a few hours with a nephew or niece—snuggles, wailing, blowout diapers and all—can help to calm the last vestiges of your baby fever.
5. When you soothe your crying baby niece or nephew, you feel like a freaking wizard
Because when it’s your own baby, you’re pretty much bracing yourself for the next time you must get them to stop crying. Which, more often than not, will be in the middle of the night.
6. You get the joy of having that baby in your family forever, without all the baggage that comes along with being that baby’s parent
You can pretty much expect that your own children will utter the words “I hate you” at least once (ha, at least a dozen times) in their lives. But if you’re lucky, your niece or nephew will think you’re awesome, even well into their teen years. Take that, kids!
You get all the sweet, squishy cuteness of a baby without the sleepless mountain of responsibility of being their parent.
7. You’re not really required to help out during the toddler years
I mean, it would be generous of you to watch that little master of destruction for an afternoon or evening. (And come on, help their exhausted parent out!) But with a niece or nephew, you’re not obligated to trudge through the toddler-parenting years again. High five!
8. You can eventually hand the baby back to their parents
Just don't brag about the fact that you’ll be getting a full night’s sleep later that evening.
9. But you can still use your experience as an aunt to “pay it all forward”
Think of all the times you were on the receiving end of generosity and kindness when you were a new parent. Give it back to this baby and their parents tenfold.
10. You can actually cherish every moment with your baby nephew or niece
You get all the sweet, squishy cuteness of a baby without the sleepless mountain of responsibility of being their parent. Cherish the hell out of those moments. And let that baby’s parents go grab coffee or dinner while you’re at it, too.