9 Things Never to Ask Parents Of a Newborn
I’ve got several friends who’ve had babies in the last few weeks and as someone who doesn’t have kids, sometimes I’m not sure what to say other than “what a cute baby” and “he/she looks just like you!” However, I do know that there are some things that a person should never, ever say to parents of a newborn. Here are nine of those things:
1. "Are you getting much sleep?" Well, duh! What do you think? Parents of newborns generally walk around like zombies. If you see parents of newborns who don't look like a zombie, they’re probably completely numb. Or grandma and grandpa have come to the rescue and have woken through the night to give mom and dad some sleep. Note: even if grandma and grandpa have come to the rescue, still steer clear of this question.
2. "Let me know if I can do anything for you." The mental capacity of most parents of a newborn is pretty much non-existent (remember, they’re functioning in zombie mode). Instead of asking them to think of what you can do for them, you might want to ask questions like: "What can I bring your family for dinner?" or, "Can I pick your kids up from school take them on a play date?" If you ask either of these questions, the parents will think there’s been a miracle from above!
3. "How is your wife doing?" Seriously? She's never been better! In fact, she can’t wait to participate in a triathlon. You’ll be kicking yourself if you ask this question after you see the look on your buddy’s face, so instead ask, "I hope your wife is recovering well, what's one thing I can do for you so that you can have a little bit more time to take care of her?"
4. "Is the baby sleeping through the night yet?" You bet. At a week old, she’s a medical freak of nature and sleeping all the way through the night. As a matter of fact, with all the extra time I have on my hands with her sleeping so much, I’ve taken up researching cultural anthropology. Don't. Don't let this question slip from your lips. Unless of course, you want to look completely ignorant. In that case, go right ahead.
5. "I just got a puppy, so now I know what having a baby is like." Oh you do, do you? Did you have to get up to nurse the puppy at 2am, 4am and 6am? Did you wake up to a screaming baby covered with poo up to their armpits? This is another don’t ask unless you want to be on the receiving end of a death stare question.
6. Usually said by a stranger in a store when the baby is screaming and the parent is just trying to make it through your shopping list and keep their sanity: "You know your baby is probably tired/hungry/has a dirty diaper/etc." They didn’t ask for your advice and probably know exactly what their baby needs. They’re trying to hold it together because they’re so exhausted, so instead of giving your opinion, how about giving up your place in line so they can get through the door faster?
7. "When are you going to bring the baby over?" Back off on this one. The new parents will bring their newborn out to play when they’re ready.
8. "When are you having the next one?" People should never make important life decisions while exhausted, stressed or in the middle of a major life change. Having a newborn means they’re dealing with all three of those things at once. If parents made this decision after just having a baby, there would be a lot of kids walking around with no siblings.
9. "Is having a baby worth all you give up for it?" Most parents will tell you that having a baby is a miracle and one of the greatest moments in their life. So before you ask, know the answer will be “yes" followed by a blank stare because they can't believe you'd really ask a question like that.