Everyone is hypnotized when she first sees a delicious, squirmy, pink newborn. You want to gush and tell your friend what an amazing job she has done bringing new life into the world, but a strange cascade of verbal diarrhea comes out instead. Congratulating a friend with a new baby makes you say the darnedest things.
Parents with a newborn baby are in the thick of it. They want you to come over and toast their new protégé because they are so desperate for human contact. But they are also bleary-eyed and exhausted and don’t know night from day. They can’t tell if you’re complimenting or insulting. Choose your words wisely.
Surely no one would insult a baby? You’d be surprised. I’ve accidentally done it several times myself. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to steer clear of commenting on a new baby’s appearance, unless you plan to use guaranteed safe words like adorable, cute, adorable and cute, cute, cute. (When in doubt, stick with “cute.”)
What sounds like an innocent observation can come off as a slam against a new creation. Commenting on a baby’s big ears that are “just like daddy’s” will never go over well. It’s common knowledge that babies are kind of “smushed,” waterlogged and cone-y when they come out. If you want to preserve your friendship and prevent a potential new parent freak out, do not acknowledge the newborn baby elephant in the room.
Newborns look weird. New parents need your support. Tell them what they so desperately want to hear and offer to make them coffee while they put their feet up and relax. Everybody wins.
Make sure these 10 things never come out of your mouth if you want to see your new mom friend again.
1. “I want to eat your baby!”
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2. “I want to bite off all his tiny fingers and widdle toes”
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3. “Aw, his head’s still all pointy from the birth canal”
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4. “Does that baby acne go away?”
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5. “Why’s his hair missing on one side?”
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6. “He’s so cute — he doesn’t look anything like you”
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7. “He’s HUGE — how did you do it?”
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8. “He’s TINY — must’ve slipped right out”
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9. “He looks sleepier than Mama”
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10. “When are you going to have the next one?”