I hesitate to use the word "hate," so I will use the word "dislike," I strongly dislike it when people ask me if my daughters are "good" babies. I'm guilty of popping this question too, but now that I am a parent, the question makes me cringe. Think about what you're asking--you are asking the parent if the baby is either good or bad. Is anyone ever going to say that they have a bad baby? What really constitutes a "bad" baby? Has someone, somewhere set a standard I don't know about?
How about we all use our words, and be more specific? Ask how she does with sleeping, or what sort of a schedule she keeps. If you're asking about whether or not she cries a lot, or for long stretches of time, just ask. On the flip side, when someone says that they have a "good" baby, what does that mean anyway? Are they patient, content, or a good sleeper? It's vague--no one knows exactly what you mean. Maybe that is the point, and I've missed that somehow. Does it parallel the, "How are you?" question, people throw out when they really aren't interested in the response?
When I've been asked that question about our girls, I have let my temper get the better of me and fired back, "So if they cry a lot, does that make them a bad baby?" To which people get flustered, and embarrassed that they would inadvertently suggest such a thing. That, I suppose, is my backhanded way of suggesting that perhaps they should think about the question before they pose it. Not the most tactful way for me to communicate this, I know. Other times I carefully describe their personalities, careful not to use the word "good" or the word "bad" to somehow illustrate that you can describe a baby using a vocabulary larger than that of a toddler.
I realize this is, perhaps, a silly thing to get fired up about, but hopefully if you're reading, you will stop and think the next time you see a mom, and want to strike up a conversation about their baby. There are other ways to ask about her precious little one that do not involve a black and white dichotomy, just use your words.