Your NPR news source

List: What TV to watch with a newborn baby

Many a parent has turned to the TV when taking care of a newborn. Here is a list of shows a few new parents found themselves mainlining when taking care of their kid.

SHARE List: What TV to watch with a newborn baby
List: What TV to watch with a newborn baby


Recently I pondered whether it’s worth it to create a labor and delivery playlist for when I eventually give birth (the consensus from my parent friends seems to be: not really). However, entertainment will remain part of my life even after the baby comes. Many a parent has turned to the television screen in the wee hours of the night (or day) when taking care of a newborn. Apparently gazing at your baby’s face isn’t fascinating enough? Who knew?


Here is a list of television shows a few new parents found themselves mainlining when taking care of a new baby. For the record, I am semi-saving New Girl and Breaking Bad for this very occasion.

  • Tori & Dean, Dexter. I’ve been saving Mad Men for if I get knocked up again. . . .
  • All the dads I know watched ALL of Star Trek when their kids were newborns.
  • A friend of mine got really into watching zombie flicks. She said she felt like her infant was all like “BOOOOOOBS” so it must be a zombie.
  • LOST Many parallels [to parenthood] and we were better able to suspend our disbelief in a state of comatose exhaustion.
  • Breaking Bad. It’s not exactly an uplifting show — but there is a baby in it.
  • When my first kid was new I somehow got in the habit of DVR-ing Maury and Ellen. I’d watch that all night long — my brain was already fried and that was all I could handle. With the second kid I moved onto more intelligent programming — like Jersey Shore. I really can’t explain it, but I won’t deny it.
  • ALF We watched the entire series from start to finish. Crazy.
  • Northern Exposure during the day, Sopranos at night.
  • What Not to Wear, though I watched it during the daytime while on maternity leave, not in the middle of the night. At the time I read/heard/imagined that the light/stimulation of TV makes it harder for the parents to get back to sleep after being up with the kid. No idea if there’s actual data to back that up.
  • I watched all of Deadwood with my first one in my lap, then The Wire for our second. I was trying to build up their vocabulary.
  • I watched TLC’s Making Room for Multiples — to put my “singleton” drama in perspective
  • M*A*S*H always came on during my night feedings. My parents joked that I eventually had a Pavlovian response to the theme song.
  • With my first: Heroes, Season 1, but I couldn’t watch it after 4 p.m. or I’d have crazy dreams. And a lot of Cash Cab. For my little one, I watched West Wing while attached to the godawful breast pump.
  • The Weather Channel....sigh.
  • ROME the miniseries and the first season of the Sopranos. Two oddly violent choices, but I figured she wouldn’t remember. Much. . . .
  • What Not to Wear, It’s a Brad Brad World, Real Housewives. Not much else on at 4 a.m. I figured if my son learned anything from the Real Housewives, it would be that drinking too much Pinot Grigio can have surprisingly annoying consequences.
  • My daughter was nice enough to time her birth and feeding schedule around the “end” of Jay Leno and the “beginning” of Conan on the Tonight Show. Those two talked us to sleep in those early weeks.
  • Sex and the City. BE CAREFUL!!! I ended up ordering a super fancy mop, ionic air purifiers for every room (My god! The baby!! The baby’s lungs!!) (they were later returned), a Chop-O-Matic and a dance workout video that was supposed to show me how to lift my butt cheeks three inches off the floor, one at a time.
  • Law and Order I realized I had watched far, far too much when my toddler walked up while I was nursing the newborn, pointed at the dead body on screen and asked, “poisoned or bludgeoned?”
  • Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Lamar and Khloe, Kourtney and Kim Take New York. I wasn’t really myself.
The Latest
Liesl Olson started as director at The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum earlier this month. She joins WBEZ to talk about her future plans for this landmark of Chicago history. Host: Melba Lara; Reporter: Lauren Frost
The city faces criticism for issuing red light camera tickets at intersections where yellow lights fall slightly short of the city’s 3-second policy. And many traffic engineers say the lights should be even longer.
There was a time Chicago gave New York a run for its money. How did we end up the Second City?
Union Gen. Gordon Granger set up his headquarters in Galveston, Texas, and famously signed an order June 19, 1865, “All slaves are free.” President Biden made Juneteenth a federal holiday last year.
As the U.S. celebrates the second federal holiday honoring Juneteenth, several myths persist about the origins and history about what happened when enslaved people were emancipated in Texas.