How NOT to help parents with a newborn

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antfancier
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How NOT to help parents with a newborn

Post by antfancier » Mon Jun 13, 20:17 2016

Don't ask "Have you read about the 'fourth trimester'?" Reading about something and actually experiencing something are two very different things. When you ask the parents how they feel and they say tired, don't say "Of course. You have a baby."

Don't plan to visit, book a hotel and buy plane tickets when the baby is three weeks old without asking the parents first. When you do visit, don't bring a hyperactive 7 year old who requires entertainment and/or supervision around the newborn so that she doesn't squish his fontanelle with her enthusiastic touching.

Don't bring them the ingredients and equipment to make beef stew, but not actually make it for them. Especially don't buy them a brand new crockpot without first checking to see if they already have one.

Don't send flowers. They are just going to wilt and sit there for two months as a constant reminder of all the things they don't have time or energy to do.

Don't say "It's amazing how quickly their personality shows through, even at such a young age. Your husband was always a very calm baby. Not like this one." Although you don't mean it, to the sleep-deprived, struggling new mother it sounds like an insult.

I could go on, but I'd rather hear from you guys. What things do you wish people had NOT done when you had a newborn?
Last edited by antfancier on Wed Jun 15, 2:50 2016, edited 1 time in total.

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Nech
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Re: How NOT to help parents with a newborn

Post by Nech » Tue Jun 14, 9:00 2016

antfancier wrote:When you do visit, don't bring a hyperactive 7 year old who requires entertainment and/or supervision around the newborn so that she doesn't squish his fontanelle with her enthusiastic touching.
I'd add pets to this too. For the love of God, I don't care if you take your dog/cat/rat/dragon/whatever everywhere. Ask before you bring it around a newborn if it can't behave calmly and sit in a corner quietly. Even then, ask.

Don't give over simplistic "helpful advice". "Just put her down for a nap while you clean the house.". It almost never works out that easy. It also almost always comes across like an over simplification/under valued view of work done and an insult. Sort of like "All you did today was clean the house?" :bomb:

Don't buy tickets or reservations for a "relaxing night out" without also offering some sort of baby watching service. In fact, just ask first. What you find relaxing and what someone else does are often different. (Also assuming the parents even want to leave a newborn)

(Not really a newborn of my own, but I practically raised my sister until she was 7 and I moved out)
Where there's smoke, there's fire. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. So just shut up, and bring some water.

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Re: How NOT to help parents with a newborn

Post by ladyhawk » Tue Jun 14, 13:55 2016

This is a very timely thread. One of my sisters just had her first baby a week ago.

When I went to visit for her babyshower (she lives eight hours away) she was insistant that she wanted me to come visit for the 4th of July. With my husband. And two kids, ages 5 and 1.5. And stay at her house. Of course, having two children of my own, I thought this was a terrible idea. But I didn't say that to her, because I didn't want to come accross like, "Oh, New Mother, you don't know what you're talking about. You can't handle that!" Which is how it would have sounded.

My husband and I sort of avoided giving her a solid answer until after the baby was born, hoping she'd change her mind or her husband would talk her out of it. Our plan was successful.

Here's my advice: don't visit at the hospital, unless you are given explicit permission to do so by the person who just gave birth. Showing you my baby is not my first priority. Getting some fucking sleep while the nurses can help me with the baby is my first priority.

And don't assume that just because you're given permission to visit means, automatically, you can touch/hold the baby. Separate permission is required.

Edit: I guess that's not really "how not to help."
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Re: How NOT to help parents with a newborn

Post by octarineoboe » Tue Jun 14, 16:47 2016

^ I appreciate the positive advice though! I know many of my friends will be having babies in the next few years, and since I want to stay friends, it's really helpful knowing what is useful and what isn't for new parents.

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Re: How NOT to help parents with a newborn

Post by spacefem » Wed Jun 15, 5:36 2016

oh gosh awesome thread.

don't bring pizza. trust me, we've had pizza. we have completely exhausted all takeout options. and pizza has too much cheese for a new mom recovering from birth, I won't go into details but we need high fiber, high nutrition content. maybe make some oatmeal cookies - grab-and-go snacks are fantastic.

don't comment on how first time parents *always* run to their baby at every cry and it makes for a neurotic baby who demands to be held because you just won't put your baby down because it's your first time. fuck off. unless you have some really constructive criticism about something we are obviously doing wrong, keep your trap shut. new parents might appreciate tips on proper nursing hold positions, baby-wearing fit, things to try for colic... we do not need bullshit about whether we're holding our babies "too much" or "not enough". we are in survival mode. if you're not sure what to say, say "it gets better" not "well if today was bad, only 18 more years to go, ha ha!" that's not a cute comment it's a way to get punched.

don't guilt a new parent for not coming out to your house to claim some hand-me-downs. you laugh - it literally happened to me, I had a week old baby and this semi-friend was like "well if you don't want the stuff just say so". You have no idea what it takes to leave the house! Bless her for having nieces with extra clothes but she'd never been a mom and it was never more obvious than in that moment.

don't ask "what's a good time, I really want to meet the baby, what's her schedule, when will she be awake?" fuck schedules! you CAN say "I'd like to come by thursday around 2, would that work?" but do not have expectations. the baby might be screaming, the baby might be so milk drunk he can't even move, you have to deal.

if you're staying for hours or days, do not interfere with mom's ability to nap on the couch.

DO ask about the birth, it helps us process all that weirdness. DO wash your hands as soon as you get inside the door. DO visit, don't be afraid, we definitely need the company. Having a newborn is really isolating. I hit the end of netflix on my maternity leave, that's for sure. Bring news from the outside world. Adult conversation is more important than food, flowers, gifts or assvice.
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Re: How NOT to help parents with a newborn

Post by Nech » Wed Jun 15, 9:43 2016

Thanks, now I want oatmeal raisin cookies...

But bang on about baby schedules. Know what babies think of schedules? Nothing, because it's a damn baby. It doesn't even know it's own name it ain't following a schedule yet.
Where there's smoke, there's fire. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. So just shut up, and bring some water.

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Re: How NOT to help parents with a newborn

Post by Gnarlbanya » Fri Jun 17, 5:43 2016

Don't show up empty-handed. Getting out of the house to the shops when you have a newborn is so hard, so anything that means that you don't have to is super-helpful. Bring some spare packs of baby wipes, or a new onesie (so that the washing can be put off another day) or an easy to heat meal.

And don't tell people to sleep when the baby sleeps. Believe me, people will do this if it's an option. But if the baby only naps in the car or in the pram, and moreover, wakes as soon as the car or pram stops moving, this kind of advice is totally unhelpful.

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Re: How NOT to help parents with a newborn

Post by codingchemist » Wed Jun 29, 2:26 2016

Don't overstay your welcome! Bring food (preferably something that is easily frozen and can be taken out in single servings), comment on how absolutely adorable the baby is, and when the baby starts screaming, be prepared to make your exit.

And ditto on bringing your unruly kids over-I don't want your crazy 5 year old holding my newborn baby.

I'm expecting my 2nd baby very soon-I'm sure I'll have a lot more to add to this list in a few weeks :rainbowsmile:

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Re: How NOT to help parents with a newborn

Post by geldofc » Wed Jul 20, 0:31 2016

Thanks for the tips.
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Re: How NOT to help parents with a newborn

Post by missmay » Fri Jul 22, 12:11 2016

oh, lord, i am so tired of people telling me to "enjoy it!" regarding my newborn. and asking me if she is a "good baby." how could a baby be bad? and how does it make me enjoy her more to be reminded to do so? i imagine that if i was depressed and had a colicky baby these questions would be even more obnoxious.

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