Little Michael Steppling from South Carolina is easily the most chill baby the Internet has ever seen. A photo of the adorable newborn has been making its way around the Internet in the last week, showing him with his petite arms raised high above his head, as though he belongs in a mini-hammock, enjoying a siesta on a lazy Sunday afternoon. And as it turns out, he’s been enjoying this sleeping position since before he was even born!
Mom Sarah Steppling recently posted the photo of baby Michael sleeping to Reddit, alongside a sonogram photo of him sleeping in utero when she was 39 weeks pregnant, to demonstrate the remarkable resemblance. And the Internet has been loving it.
“Pretty sure no one switched my baby at birth. Progress from 3 weeks left inside to 3 weeks on the outside,” Sarah captioned her post.
Babies sure have a way of bringing light and joy into the world and Sarah says, the response to her post on has been overwhelmingly positive.
“All the sweet messages about Michael were little rays of sunshine brightening up my inbox all day long,” she says, wisely noting that, “It’s not always that way on the Internet.”
Sarah and her husband Ross say that their baby’s sleeping position has been one he has favored from the start, despite the fact that he’s had to sleep on a blue light device (called a bili light) to treat his jaundice.
According to Sarah, Michael’s jaundice was severe and caused by unexplained hemolytic anemia. The lower his red blood cell count dropped, the higher his bilirubin levels would climb, so he has to be in direct contact with the blue light almost 24/7.
“For the first month of his life, he only knew resting on a hard, cold device,” Sarah tells Babble. “We couldn’t cuddle him without it being tucked inside his onesie, couldn’t rub his back. I thought there was no way he was going to be able to sleep on that thing, but he proved me wrong.”
He certainly did!
The couple says that the first day they brought baby Michael home from the hospital, they laid him down on the device and he immediately “put his hands behind his head and went right to sleep.”
As a mom who had two babies that were also treated by bili light devices, I can tell you that this is not always the case. My babies would scream at the horror of being undressed and placed on a cold, hard machine (and who could blame them!). They had absolutely zero chill; but that was not the experience for little Michael.
“Relaxed is his signature color,” Sarah says. “He’s the king of taking it easy.”
According to Sarah, Michael was a few weeks old before she thought to look at the sonogram photo — and was delighted by what she found.
“I saw it hanging on my husband’s parents’ fridge and I got so excited when I noticed his pose,” she explains, adding that Michael doesn’t just like to sleep this way; it’s also how he likes to nurse — and she has the pictures to prove it.
“I thought it was adorable the first time I saw it, but when I realized it was becoming a habit, I started snapping a pic each time,” Sarah says. “At this age, he can’t do much more than make himself comfortable, but he’s darned good at it.”
The Stepplings say that the entire family has fallen in love with their relaxed little dude. Baby Michael’s pop refers to him as “Mr. Good Life” and his grandmother, Janet Sheppard Kelleher, who is battling stage 4 breast cancer, says that cuddling baby Michael is the best form of therapy.
“Mom says holding Michael is better medicine than any chemo in the world,” Steppling tells Babble.
The sweet photos of this little one have struck a chord with many on the Web, but more than anything, they reminded me of a theory by renowned pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp, who believes that newborn babies are most comforted by anything that reminds them of being in the womb.
Clearly, Michael Steppling seems to have found a genius way to comfort himself by mimicking his “womb life” and is already becoming Internet famous for being so chill.
Time will tell if he will continue to sleep with his arms raised above his head, but if he does, I hope his mom will keep snapping adorable pics of her son, who she calls “king of taking it easy.”