12 Most Annoying Things Said To New Parents
They’ve worked and waited nine long months to welcome their precious baby into the world. They’ve read parenting books, painstakingly crafted the nursery, and probably baby-proofed their home even though Little Precious won’t be mobile for months yet. They’ve lost countless hours of sleep both before and after the baby arrived.
The last thing they need is for you to come along and mess it all up.
Sometimes even the most well-intentioned friend, neighbor, or Aunt Marge can really ruin Mom or Dad’s day by saying things they just don’t need to hear. Take a moment to mentally cross these comments off your list before you go welcome Baby Wonderful to the world.
1. You look tired
Really? Thought I was looking pretty fresh considering the amount of spit-up I have on my clothing.
2. What kind of a name is _____?
I’ll tell you what kind of name it is. It’s a name that Mom and Dad like a lot. They spent many hours debating about it. They made a list. They navigated the complicated matrix of trendiness vs. tradition. They considered hat-tips to both sides of the family. They like the name and are happy with it. You should be, too.
3. Cloth Diapers? Good luck with that one!
The decision to use cloth diapers instead of disposables probably wasn’t made overnight. This decision has all kinds of political and moral implications wrapped up with it. Chances are, Mom and Dad feel like they are doing something important and they realize the hassle involved. Just respect their choice, even if there’s no way you can visualize yourself tossing a poopy rag into the washing machine.
4. Here’s what you should do
Unless you’ve been asked, please don’t offer your advice and counsel. Every baby and every parent is different, and what worked for you might not work in this situation. Your job is to smile and talk about how cute the baby is. If your expertise is needed, it will be requested.
5. What a cute little (insert gender-specific term)
This applies to greeting babies you don’t know while out and about. If you’re in the produce aisle and you happen to encounter a particularly adorable baby that you are unfamiliar with, greet it with exclamations absent of gender label. Remember, you’ve only got a 50/50 shot here.
6. When are you going back to work?
This topic is potentially emotional for both Mom and Dad. The thought of going back to work is exhausting at best and guilt-inducing at worst.
Whether Mom is breastfeeding or not, this is another decision that was not made lightly. A mini-lesson from you about the Glorious Benefits of Breastfeeding or the Ease and Convenience of Formula is not required.
8. Certainly is a chubby/scrawny little thing!
This is really no different than commenting on the weight of an adult. Probably best to skip it. Since babies are frequently weighed and measured, Mom or Dad is probably fretting about what “percentile” they’re in. Your comments can only add to their concern.
9. Hope you got plenty of sleep before the baby came!
They didn’t. They’re tired. They’re so unbelievably tired.
10. You know, you really don’t need all this stuff
Maybe they wanted the Baby Bjorn! That’s no crime.
11. We just thought we’d drop by!
Seriously? Mom and Dad just weaved a delicate ritual of rocking, shooshing, bouncing, and singing to FINALLY get the baby to sleep. The doorbell is not a part of that ritual. Call first.
12. When are you going to have another one?
Another one? Are you serious? Yes, you may be excited to think of them eventually having their 2.5 children just like everyone else you know. But for right now, their hands are full.
Be kind, supportive, warm, and helpful. By all means, visit the new family and shower them with your love. Before visiting, just make a familiar oath: “First, do no harm.”
Featured image courtesy of Derek Swanson licensed via creative commons.