Donâ€™t forget to sanitize
“Don’t touch my baby’s face/hands unless you’re going to use Purell or wash your hands right in front of me first!” â€”chalmette
Maybe you just washed up before entering the room. Maybe youâ€™re a believer in the immune-boosting power of everyday germs. You know what? It doesnâ€™t matter.
> Instead: Hightail it to the nearest sink or sanitizer pump and make the new parents comfortable that youâ€™re clean as a whistle before cuddling their new addition.
Donâ€™t bring your toddler
“Keep your kid away from mine…snot-nosed, on-the-mouth kisses arenâ€™t acceptable.” â€”jenifairies
Does your two-year-old just LOVE babies? Yep, most of them do. But remember that infants are delicate, and toddlers can be carriers for a ton of infectionsâ€”particularly if theyâ€™re attending day care or preschool.
> Instead: Plan for newborn encounters and play it safe by teaching your tot a hands-off approach. You donâ€™t want to be responsible for babyâ€™s first cold (or mommyâ€™s first tantrum).
“Please don’t tell me my baby is going to catch pneumonia because she doesnâ€™t have socks on.” â€”Bhobbsdz
Not your baby? Then itâ€™s not your place to make rules. Refrain from offering unsolicited parenting advice, whether family or not. Well-meant comments about clothing, how to calm tears or how to handle naptimes can easily come across as insults.
> Instead: Think whatever you want. Just keep it to yourself.
Donâ€™t guess the sex
“Don’t assume baby genders.” â€”ariel06
Babies look like babies. Okay, there. I said it. Seriously, it can be really tough to tell whether there’s a Sadie or a Seth in that onesie, so err on the side of caution. (No one wants to hear their little princess described as handsome or manly.)
> Instead: Unless baby’s shirt is clearly labeled Mama’s Boy or Sweet Baby Girl, hold your tongue. When you have the urge to gush, go gender-neutral with something like, “What a gorgeous baby!” ClichÃ©? Yes. But for good reason.
“If youâ€™re a stranger, donâ€™t touch my baby and please donâ€™t ask to hold her!” â€”pamarshea
Itâ€™s NOT appropriate to stretch out your arms to, say, a random baby in the Target checkout line (no matter how cute). And asking permission only places the parent in a bind.
> Instead: Compliment the beautiful baby and keep your hands to yourself.
Donâ€™t be a chew toy
“Please donâ€™t put your finger/ring/whatever in my baby’s mouth.” â€”seans_grl
Teething babies love to gnaw, but resist! Even if your hands are clean, the whole gumming-on-a-body-part thing is a bit too personal to try without explicit instructions from Mom or Dad.
> Instead: Ask the parents for a toy to help soothe juniorâ€™s need to nibble.
Donâ€™t freak out the family
“Don’t try to scare nervous new parents!” â€”kirbabe
Just like a pregnant woman doesnâ€™t want to hear about your 37-hour labor, a new mom would rather not be privy to your infant meningitis scare or even your diaper rash horrors. Itâ€™s normal for a new baby to bring up old memories, but try to share only the nice ones.
>Instead: Come bearing gifts, words of encouragement and maybe even dinnerâ€”but leave all scary stories at home!
“Questions like ‘Are you nursing?’ should simply not be asked.” â€”niki81
A woman’s breasts are her business, and questions about feeding can seem judgmental or offensive (even if your intentions are good). In fact, parents have a ton of touchy decisions to make, so avoid any questions involving their parenting style. It makes it seem like you’re, well, questioning their parenting style.
> Instead: Stem your curiosity and ask something less delicate. (Like, “Can I carry that bag for you?”)
~Erin van Vuuren