Come Bearing Food

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Subtitled:  8 rules for being an awesome family member or friend during childbirth and early parenting


Rule #1:  Childbirth is not a performance.  It is a medical event.  There are no front-row seats to medical events.  Therefore, if the mother in question does not want you to attend, you should not guilt her into letting you attend or make passive aggressive digs about how you can’t attend.  Do you know what happens during childbirth?  I will tell you.  The odds are high that someone is going to shit themselves, vomit on the floor, cry and curse, and spew blood.  Think of it as the Shamu Splash Zone.  Do you really want to be in the Splash Zone?  No.




Rule #2:  If the mother in question does want you to attend, do not do the following:  complain about how long it’s taking; tell childbirth horror stories while she’s in the middle of contractions (“My friend’s friend died during labor…”); eat anything that has a strong aroma.  Do not take pictures unless the mother permits it.  Do not assume you can post any pictures to Facebook (side note: do not scoop the parents by announcing the birth on your Facebook before they can announce it on theirs). After the birth, do not tell a detailed play-by-play story to relatives and friends who were not there.  Unless the mother decides otherwise…


Rule #3: If someone tells you what they are naming their child, the following statements are appropriate responses:  “I like that name,” “It sounds like that name is very special to you,” and “The first and last name go well together.”  The following statements are not appropriate response, “I hate that name,” “That name is weird,” and “You should name your child after me.”


Rule #4:  “But we’re faaaaaaaaamily!” is not an appropriate excuse to act like a citizen of Crazytown.  Family is about something much more than blood relations – it’s about years and years of respectful behavior. 


Rule #5:  The following is the polite way to ‘help’ a new mother and father after birth.  You call ahead of time to schedule a time to visit.  You promise you will only be there for thirty minutes.  You bring food.  You actually only stay for thirty minutes unless the new parents ask you to stay longer.  You observe the baby from a loving distance unless the mother or father offers the baby to you.  You wash your hands before holding the baby.  You do NOT kiss the baby on the lips.  Ever.  Other ways to help new parents:  vacuuming the house, unloading the dishwasher, taking out the trash, folding laundry, holding the baby while the mother showers, or walking the dog.  Ways not to help: monopolizing the baby, overstaying your welcome, asking the new mother to fix you something to eat.  For the love of God, never drop by unannounced just because you are ‘in the neighborhood.’


I feel the need the clarify this rule: At no point did I say relatives and friends should be new parents’ maids. I said if you want to help a new parent, don’t monopolize the newborn and overstay your welcome. Seriously, I think it would be extremely hard to find a mom or dad who would rather their Uncle Bob hold their two day old baby for half a morning. New parents probably don’t want to play a drawn out game of pass the baby. If you truly want to help a new parent, do something they can’t because they are bonding with their child. You can never get the first few days back and moms especially need that time for healing, breastfeeding, and bonding. Of course it’s cool to give baby a little cuddle if the parents don’t mind! I did not say this very well in the original post, which is regrettable, but really… At no point did I say, "screw you, clean my floors."


Rule #6:  Never begin a sentence with, “When I was a mother, we did things this way….” or “We did X, Y, Z with you, and you turned out fine.”  A new parent has a way they would like to try to do things, and unless they specifically ask you for advice, they are probably not looking for unsolicited feedback (even if you just *know* it will backfire). 


Rule #7:  If the mother says, “I think the baby is hungry,” that is your cue to hand the baby over.  Do not continue to hold a crying baby if the mother or father is reaching for them.  Doing the twisty shoulder thing to body block the parent is totally inappropriate. 


Rule #8:  If you are visiting the new mother, and breastfeeding makes you uncomfortable, politely excuse yourself.  Do not give the mother the stink eye in her own home.  Furthermore, do not suggest that the breastfeeding mother should switch to formula just so you can give the baby a bottle.  Ever. 


A disclaimer:  My immediate family is actually really decent about boundaries, so this post is not a passive aggressive dig at people I know in real life.   One or two items are true (won’t say which!) but this list is mostly compiled from stories that friends have told me.  For example, no one tried to weasel their way into my delivery – thank God.  If they had, I would’ve intentionally bled all over them…  Seriously.


Okay – so.  What are your rules regarding childbirth and early parenting?  Go ahead, vent.



  • Maddie September 27, 2012, 12:37 pm

    This. Is hilarious. And unfortunately, probably all too common!

  • Alison September 27, 2012, 12:38 pm

    I violated the name insult rule when I was 21 and my friend was pregnant with a girl who she planned to (and did) name Payton. I hated the name and told her it made me think of the Payton in the movie The Hand That Rocks The Cradle who was a psycho killer.

    Now at age 30 and hoping to get pregnant for the first time I feel horrible about it. Luckily my friend didn’t get angry or at least didn’t show it. Now even if someone planned to name their child something that made me nauseas I wouldn’t say a word. Interesting how we learn sensitivity the closer we are to actually being in the situation.

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 12:41 pm

      Hahah i know, right? i did the same things with weddings. i think i was a horrible wedding guest (i called a bride once the day of the wedding to ask for directions… wtf) and then i got married and now i am. the. best. guest. ever.

      • lynne @ lgsmash September 27, 2012, 3:55 pm

        my (now) husband and i were saying the same exact thing last night! after going through the whole wedding process ourselves, i totally realize how to be a better guest and friend to my engaged friends! (ie – don’t ALWAYS talk about the wedding – it’s refreshing to NOT talk about the wedding because that’s all ANYONE wanted to talk about before ours).

        this post is great insight for those of us not with a baby yet! i have wondered what is the best way to help a family with a new baby – this helps!

        • Life's a Bowl September 28, 2012, 7:38 pm

          TRUTH! My husband and I got married just 3 weeks ago and are attending our first wedding as a married couple tomorrow evening… And I now know exactly what NOT to do 😛 Someone should write one of these for all of the major lifetime events- getting married, turning 50, divorce [my momma and her friends could write a fabulous one with all of their divorce stories]!

  • Mary September 27, 2012, 12:39 pm

    You are amazing! This list is so true, and should be handed out when you announce that you are expecting (to friends and family…and maybe strangers too!).

    • Luna665 September 27, 2012, 1:10 pm


      • Lisa September 27, 2012, 4:45 pm

        I was thinking the same thing!

  • Erika September 27, 2012, 12:41 pm

    When visiting a new mom and baby leave your own loud, rude, unbehaved, rowdy kids at home.

    I was desperately trying to take a nap (my husband and other family were watching the baby) when a visitor came over and her kids yelled, ran around and threw toys the whole time and she didn’t even try to stop them or settle them down.

  • Alyssa September 27, 2012, 12:41 pm

    Haha, I can see Kara’s influence in the first paragraph, I don’t remember you normally cursing on your blog! I had no idea it was like this! I really want to drive the 2 hours away to see one of my BFF’s new babies, so this was really helpful, especially the 30 minutes max and taking out the trash part. Sometimes it’s hard to know what new mothers want!

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 12:42 pm

      haha yeah, she told me about the splash zone analogy. gotta love kara.

  • Lindsey September 27, 2012, 12:42 pm

    OMG my mother-in-law is guilty of all of these. Our family lives 6 hours away and my MIL is obsessed with wanting our baby to think she is the best thing to ever walk the earth. He’s always been pretty clingy to my husband and I (and understandably so – he doesn’t see our family much so he doesn’t want strangers up in in his face all the time). When he was only a few months old, my MIL was holding him and he began to cry. Instead of handing him back to us, she walked down the hallway into her bedroom so we couldn’t see her. Then our son began SCREAMING. I went back to her room and she body blocked me while holding MY son and said, “But I’ll do anything!” Give me my damn baby, lady. Gah.

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 12:43 pm

      oh please add “DO NOT WALK AWAY WITH BABY” on the list.

    • Lindsey September 27, 2012, 12:45 pm

      OH and I had to ask my MIL’s husband (my husband’s stepdad) to stop kissing our baby while he had chewing tobacco in his mouth! PEOPLE!

  • Kitchenbelle September 27, 2012, 12:42 pm

    For the love of God, DO NOT touch the baby’s mouth and hands with your germy fingers!

    • Shelly September 27, 2012, 1:34 pm

      Hands? I find whenever I hold a baby, they grab onto my fingers. In all fairness, I wash my hands before holding people’s babies though.

  • Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut September 27, 2012, 12:44 pm

    I’m not a mom, but these rules are hilarious! I hope I haven’t broken any of them when I’ve been around my friends’ babes. I doubt it. The people-bringing-you-food part would be reason enough for me to get pregnant. 🙂 Kidding…kinda…sorta..

  • Lisa September 27, 2012, 12:49 pm

    Caitlin, This list is hilarious (and horrifying that these things actually happen. Lord.). My SIL is 5 months pregnant, perhaps she can use some tips as conversation starters with family and friends who may ‘cross the line’ 🙂

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 12:49 pm

      congrats on your future niece or nephew!

  • Ali September 27, 2012, 12:51 pm

    So good. I needed this for my ex-mother-in-law, who (among other things) cut the nipples open on my newborn bottles because she didn’t think the baby was getting enough food. Aargh.

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 12:51 pm

      oh man. tell us more.

  • Beks September 27, 2012, 12:52 pm

    Back when my friend, Kaity, had a baby, I hadn’t seen her since graduation (about three months), and called to see if I could visit. She jumped at the chance for company, and was stunned when I offered to hold the baby while she got something to eat. Apparently her ex wasn’t that helpful when it came to mommy’s mealtimes. We watched two movies while I was there because she wanted a visit from the outside world. It was a nice afternoon, though. Her daughter is four now and the best child I’ve ever come in contact with. Love her!

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 12:53 pm

      Glad he’s her ex. Grrr!

      • Beks September 27, 2012, 4:51 pm

        Her husband now is amazingly supportive, and adores her. Win-win.

  • Liza September 27, 2012, 12:52 pm

    This is AWESOME. And I’m not even sure I want to have kids! But if I do, I am surely circulating this list. Bravo!!!

  • Kelly September 27, 2012, 12:54 pm

    This is awesome Caitlin. I need to save this and make sure every one of my relatives reads it when the time comes. I just have this feeling that so much of this will be relevant to when I have kids.

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats September 27, 2012, 12:56 pm

    This are hilarious! And funny because I’m sure they are so true!

  • Lauren @ The Homeostatic Mindset September 27, 2012, 12:56 pm

    Haha! Splash Zone!! That is a very effective, VIVID analogy 😉

  • Debbie September 27, 2012, 12:56 pm

    On an opposite note from the beast feeding, if the new mother is formula feeding DO NOT go into rants about the benefits of breastfeedimg and declare that formula will maim/stunt/kill your baby. Seriously. Not appreciated 😉 agree with everything on your list, especially the delivery.

  • Erin September 27, 2012, 12:57 pm

    I enjoyed the sentiment but hated the tone of this post – came across as pretty harsh veiled in trying to be funny at times. I don’t know… maybe if there had been any indication of appreciation for the people who may commit these tactless moves, but really just do love your baby. I don’t know…I cringed the whole time (though I do get the point and your complaints are valid.)

    • Amy September 27, 2012, 2:07 pm

      I agree. I think you need to change your tone.

    • different Melissa September 27, 2012, 2:23 pm

      I debated on responding for the fear of flaming (not from Caitlin but from others) but kind of felt the same way reading this. Granted, I’m not a mom…
      I really hope I haven’t violated any of the above…except I did stay longer than 30 minutes when visiting my niece. And now I feel like an @$$ even though I know my SIL was OK with it (I was there with other family).

      Actually, the more I sit here and think about it, the sadder it makes me. As a non-parent, I feel like there is no way to “win” (and I use that term loosely). I feel like one can be hyper aware and try to do everything just right but unknowingly violate some “rule” and suddenly be some stupid jerk that “obviously” doesn’t know WTF is up. It’s not just this post either, it’s a general tone I often feel is directed at others from parents.

      And I’m not saying that Caitlin’s (and other new moms’) feelings are not valid b/c they ARE, but those of the contrary are valid as well and slamming each other is not going to fix anything.

      • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 2:24 pm

        If the momma clearly doesn’t mind, she clearly doesn’t mind that you stay 🙂

        This post is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek!

        • ASK September 27, 2012, 3:03 pm

          I know you were intending for this post to be tongue-in-cheek, but it actually just came across as both incendiary and passive aggressive against those in your own life (disclaimer or not, clearly something in your own personal experience caused the need to vent). This very much feels like a “venting” conversation that would have been best left off the internet (and perhaps shared with just your husband). I too cringed reading this – and like some of the commenters above, this kind of made me sad to read.

          • Lauren @ Lettuce Eat Cake September 27, 2012, 3:31 pm

            I think everything on this list comes back to two basic qualities: respect and sensitivity. The points Caitlin made aren’t harsh; they’re about respecting parents’ time and space during a period of extreme upheaval in their lives. I’m not yet a mother, but I know many friends of mine have been really surprised at how intrusive family members become when a baby arrives. Caitlin was just trying to convey the frustration of thoughtless behavior when there’s no room for extra stress in your life. I think the whole post can be summarized as “Respect my decisions, and make yourself useful.”

          • Cassie September 27, 2012, 3:36 pm

            As a mother of a 13mo boy, I can attest that despite the fact that non-parents may feel that their “feelings” are hurt by this post, there are far too many people in the world who are ridculously unaware of the rude and insensitive things they do/say to expectant and new parents. If your feelings are hurt, you are most likely NOT committing the above infractions. Prior to becoming a parents, you really have no idea what it’s like to be responsible for another human being and to want to do anything possible to protect them, especially while they are so small. I know non-parents hate being told that you won’t get it until you have your own kids (I know I hated it), but you really won’t get it until you have your own kids. This list is right on!

          • Erin September 27, 2012, 3:39 pm

            Yeah I agree – the intent may have been “tongue-in-cheek” but I don’t get the tongue-in-cheek part – I think you very much mean each point here (which is fair, I just think there is a much better way to approach it.

            I guess it just comes down to your blog-personality, for me. You aren’t NORMALLY the “funny” one (not that you aren’t funny, ha, but it’s not your schtick), and you’re not usually the “sarcastic” one or the “venting” one, so I guess it just makes the tone hard to take. I don’t know. I just didn’t like it. It just reads as rude to me. Oh well!

          • andrea September 29, 2012, 7:56 am

            Caitlin please take these comments to heart, honestly, file them under “oversensitive politically correct, no sense of humor, drama seeking people” I can’t with these people taking a person’s blog post and getting offended, it was a funny post for goodness sake!

        • Kate September 27, 2012, 6:48 pm

          Wow, I am surprised that people could be offended by this post!
          I thought it was tongue and cheek, amusing, and not offensive at all.
          Besides, it is your blog! Write what you want. You can’t please everyone 🙂

      • Lisa September 28, 2012, 4:01 am

        It makes me feel sad that people can get offended so easily.

    • Ashley September 27, 2012, 6:45 pm

      I agree. I find it extremely rude to expect friends to “not stay more than 30 minutes….unless you want to clean my house.” I would never expect a guest in my home to do my chores. And I think not wanting any advice (per #6) is just silly. There are mothers who have been doing this for a long time and we should value their advice. They *may* just know a better way than us. I think most moms today are wound up way too tightly. Your child will not die from a germ or 2. Why would a guest come over, only not to be able to hold the baby? These people love your child and want to show their affection. If they didn’t come visit, I think that would hurt my feelings more. All in all, people just need to RELAX and not have so many rules.

      (Signed a mother of 2 that loosened up quite a bit after the 2nd kid)

      • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 7:36 pm

        I don’t EXPECT people to clean but if they want to come over and HELP, you help by doing something the mother or father cannot do or does not have time for – that does not include cuddling the bebe! This only applies to newborns.

        • Dee September 27, 2012, 9:11 pm

          I look at the ‘come over and help please’ as a way to acknowledge the new mom AS WELL as the baby. Obviously the baby is the new star of the show as he/she SHOULD be, but a helping hand really goes a long way especially in cases where recovery is particularly difficult. I had a C section and a rough time getting around. I was really appreciative when people came over and after spending time with the baby offered to either help me get up and get around or asked what they could do that I couldnt do. I don’t think its so much an ‘expectation’ that they will do the chores, but an amazing appreciation for the helping hand when its offered.

        • Ashley September 27, 2012, 9:33 pm

          I understand, but usually the entire reason for visitors coming over after a baby is born is to see the BABY. So, that’s just what I let them do. They see me all the time, they’ve never seen my little one before, so I let them dote on them. To each their own I guess.

          • Julie September 28, 2012, 1:59 pm

            People, seriously, let’s not criticize this post or analyze it to death. I think a lot of these rules apply specifically to the couple weeks or so mom and baby are home after the birth. Having a baby (especially the first baby) is an exhausting, life changing event and what most people don’t realize is that from the moment that baby came into the world, you have had no sleep, are learning all these new “skills” like keeping baby alive!, are crazy hormonal (think the worst PMS mood swings ever), are bleeding from your lady parts, and then are expected to be hospitable and a good host. Everyone wants to come and see the baby, but sometimes don’t realize/remember what you are going through as the mom. All Caitlin was saying is have a little sensitivity and bring food if you want to come over (seriously!). And don’t attend the birth unless specifically invited…

  • Amanda Hollenbaugh September 27, 2012, 12:58 pm

    Best list ever. I’m always posting stuff like this for family to see. Not because we’re wanting kids right now, but because when it comes time for babies, I want them to get the hint early on so I’m not having to correct and potentially offend people (because people offend so easy when corrected). I doubt it’ll work, but it’s worth a shot 😉

    • Shady September 27, 2012, 4:05 pm

      I’d be much more offended to see a passive-aggressive post like this anywhere. If you have a problem with the way I behave, whether there are children or not involved, grow a pair and talk to me like an adult. That would be the respectful thing to do.

      • Amanda Hollenbaugh September 28, 2012, 3:38 pm

        You don’t know my family 😉

      • Emilie September 29, 2012, 2:48 pm

        I think the post was intended for people to be more aware of their own behaviour and to question themselves before entering someone else’s home. I don’t think it precludes a mom having a conversation with you about your behaviour if she doesnt like it. It’s not an either- or.

  • Sarah September 27, 2012, 1:01 pm

    Address the new mother by her name or even “Mom” but never, never, ever call her “Milk Machine.” Ever. Especially if you are male. Or worse still, her father-in-law.


    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 1:11 pm


    • Emily Malone September 27, 2012, 5:54 pm

      Omg dying. My in-laws have definitely called me “The Milk Truck.”

      • Erica September 27, 2012, 8:01 pm

        this is great! my dad has taken to calling me “The Waitress”. as in, “Griffin’s hungry, where’s the waitress?” I think it’s funny, but then my dad and I are pretty close.

  • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 1:02 pm

    AWESOME! Like others, I’m pretty sure my MIL has broken at least 7 out of 8 of these rules. I like the pointers about helping out around the house; however, my MIL took it as far as to get to our house before we got home from the hospital (she lives right across the street), take all the sheets off the bed, take them to her house to wash (WTF? our washing machine was empty), and put new sheets on the bed. I might not have minded if I hadn’t JUST washed everything since I knew I was being induced.

    I finally had to gently (tried to be gentle at least) tell her that I wanted a little independence so that I could learn to do things on my own. In other words, GO HOME FOR AWHILE!

    (Can you tell I needed to vent? And that was almost a year ago…)

    • Brenda September 28, 2012, 5:15 pm

      She meant well. She was doing one of the things on your list of rules. She was helping out the new Mom by doing chores. Whether you like it or not she is your child’s grandmother, her husband’s MOTHER. Don’t you want your child to respect their mother. That doesn’t end when their 18, what has she done to you that you hate her so much?

  • Lauren September 27, 2012, 1:05 pm

    i’m linking this post on my blog.
    this basically sums up everything i want to say about our son’s birth in January!!!

  • Kendra @ My Full-Thyme Life September 27, 2012, 1:15 pm

    Great rules!! I really like the one about the baby names and that is exactly why hubby and I didn’t tell anyone with our first and will not tell anyone with our current bun in the oven. Names are special and I don’t want to subject myself to anything negative. Plus, with the hormones I’m rocking right now no one should dare to piss me off!

    Another rule involves hospital visits… If you are going to visit the couple at the hospital DO NOT stay long at all! Especially if you notice the mom looks like death warmed over and could fall asleep at any given moment. Give your good wishes, Ooooh and aaaaah at the little bundle and then get the heck out!

    One more very important rule is for the new parents themselves… SPEAK UP!! If you are just too tired for company, if you are uncomfortable with a situation, if you need help, etc. No matter what the circumstance don’t be afraid to speak up and put an end to what is bothering your or to ask for help if you need it. Even if it is family or a best friend causing the issue you can’t just let the behavior happen. As long as you handle it respectfully the other person(s) will understand and you will have peace of mind. Great post, Caitlin!

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 1:29 pm

      damn good rules.

  • Sheryl September 27, 2012, 1:19 pm

    Can I suggest an addendum to #7?
    Rule #7: If the mother says, “I think the baby is hungry,” that is your cue to hand the baby over. ((… and ask if she’d like you to LEAVE!)) Some mother’s aren’t comfortable breastfeeding in front of company, and they shouldn’t have to go hide in their own homes to feed their baby while you’re comfortably lounging in their living room!

    • Erica September 27, 2012, 8:04 pm

      exactly! I had to tell my inlaws when the baby was hungry multiple time before they would give him to me and then trudge upstairs with stitches, a baby, and a drink to nurse him. they also lounged all over our house and I wasn’t able to sit on the comfy sofa.

  • LMN September 27, 2012, 1:20 pm

    is it wrong to save this for when my husband and i have a child? i already know of a couple people who may need to read it 🙂

  • Luna665 September 27, 2012, 1:22 pm

    Do you by any chance know my extended family??! My MIL was literally in the first-row seat when my bro in law’s wife delivered their baby. Like, you know, a ….face to face …. with the baby?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?And she also criticized her decision to have the epidural … Point 5 sums up all my fears 🙂

  • Catherine September 27, 2012, 1:22 pm

    My husband & I joke that my FIL (yes, my FIL) will hide in the bathroom to take pictures when I go in labor with Baby J to capture the event. My FIL really wanted to be our wedding photographer even though he is not a professional by any means so now its a joke that he wants to be the photographer for everything. When I told my mom that we would be using cloth diapers, the very first comment out of her mouth was “Oh, that’s never going to work”. I was instantly offended & told her she shouldn’t judge it yet. She later apologized so it’s fine but I’m determined to make sure that it does work even more now 🙂

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 1:28 pm

      oh there is nothing like someone’s doubt to make you want to do something even more.

      • Jen September 27, 2012, 1:48 pm

        HAHAHA I totally agree with this!

        • Kristi September 28, 2012, 10:31 am

          Agreed! My mom, MIL, and 20 yr old BIL (wtf?!?!) have all made their opinions known on my desire to have a drug free birth. You better believe barring medical emergency i’ll be biting down on a wooden spoon if necessary just to prove them wrong!

  • L September 27, 2012, 1:23 pm

    When my sister had her second baby (her first was a toddler) I walked in and she was (2 days post difficult home birth) in the kitchen hacking at a butternut squash to make dinner for her toddler. Her husband was up at his mother’s house “having emotional issues.” I almost went to get him and bludgeon him with said squash. Instead my mother and I took over so she could sit down and not hemorrhage all over the place. We even refrained from saying horrible things about him.

    So maybe a rule could be “Smile politely if husband is acting like a f*ckwad and pitch in as needed.”

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 1:27 pm

      oh my!

  • Katie September 27, 2012, 1:24 pm

    I assume this post is a way for you to vent with other Moms. Because if someone doesn’t know these things, it might not be the nicest way to tell them. Like the “Do not…. Do not…. Do NOT” and “For the love of God.” I like how your posts are usually so positive… too bad this one isn’t.

    • Kendra @ My Full-Thyme Life September 27, 2012, 1:31 pm

      I have to assume that you are not a new mom? A brand new, sleep deprived, hormonal, mess-of-a-new-mom? Believe me, she is not being negative she is being honest and if you are not a new mom, but will be some day, then I promise you will get it. In fact saying, “do not… do not… do NOT” and “for the love of God” is most likely very mild for what most people actually say or at least think. The post was meant to be funny and exaggerated for the sake of a laugh. Because for a new mom or one that has been there a post like this makes. our. day.

      • Ellie @ healthy belly ellie September 27, 2012, 1:52 pm

        amen Kendra. – I’m not a mom, but so true. A little sense of humor is all you need when reading this post 🙂

        • Kate September 27, 2012, 6:52 pm

          I am not a Mom and never plan to be a Mom, and I still found it funny and insightful. Life is too short for people to get all worked up over a tongue and cheek post like this. Relax folks!

      • Margaret September 27, 2012, 6:17 pm

        Exactly. Even if Caitlin isn’t always so sarcastic, and I’m not a mom, I think this post is clearly “funny and exaggerated for the sake of a laugh”, even while simultaneously venting about what some people really do in life. I don’t think the post is the slightest bit rude or anything!

  • Joanna September 27, 2012, 1:27 pm

    haha love this!

  • Erin B September 27, 2012, 1:29 pm

    Love this post. I thought it was really funny. Don’t have kids yet but totally need to print this out and hand to people. I always ask before coming over, bring food (not just dinners) and try to leave the home cleaner than I came. I think it boils down to being respectful of others.

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 1:30 pm

      amen to that!

  • Michelle September 27, 2012, 1:30 pm

    Need to add “do not ever “trim” a newborn’s fingernails with your teeth. Especially when the newborn is not yours.”

    True story. Blech.

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 1:31 pm

      haha i definitely eat henry’s fingernails but would not like someone else to!!!!

    • heather September 27, 2012, 3:41 pm

      I disagree! As long as it is a family member, I am cool. Even a close friend. I had my sister do it. I was too skeered I would chomp her itty bitty fingers. I’d rather it be someone else so she doesn’t have any memories deep in her subconscious of mommy biting her digit if that were to happen!

    • Amy September 28, 2012, 2:33 pm

      I’m a mother of 3 and i’ve never even been tempted to bite my kids’ nails! Ew.

  • Lisa September 27, 2012, 1:33 pm

    I would add “If you have a cold, sniffle or any sort of illness- or have had one in the past week, even think you *might* be getting one- STAY AWAY from the baby! Do not, I repeat Do Not under any circumstances, go visit the new mom and baby, and proceed to blow your nose, or cough the entire time you are there and then blame it on allergies.”

  • Ashley O. @ The Vegetable Life September 27, 2012, 1:34 pm

    Hahahaha this made my day! I am due in 2 months….. my family should read this before our little girl gets here!

  • Vivian September 27, 2012, 1:36 pm

    LOL! This is the most awesome post! I found myself nodding and laughing after each one. Good compilation!

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) September 27, 2012, 1:38 pm

    So when people break these rules, do you speak up? I’m planning on having my partner be my “amb-ASS-ador,” to gently remind people of these things when I’d probably burst into teary anger if I had to do so myself all the time.

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 1:39 pm

      hell yes. speak up!

      • Brenda September 28, 2012, 5:30 pm

        I would say NO, why hurt people that you love. I will tell you this, when my babies were young I let my brothers hold and be a part of their lives. When my older brother had his daughter I spent a lot of time with her. I was there at her birth, I visited her, held her, and through the years was a great Auntie to her. We were close. However my younger brother probably had a list of these rules. He wouldn’t let myself or my older brother hold his new daughter. We knew he was honoring his wife’s request. We both backed off and spent little time with her. My niece graduated this year, I barely knew her. I would say start out right with your siblings, don’t offend them. Your child will be better off for having strong family ties.

    • Jillian September 29, 2012, 11:44 am

      Absolutely! This is your baby–not theirs. If you and your partner want precious time alone with YOUR child, then you’re entitled to it. People who love you and respect you should understand.

  • Shelly September 27, 2012, 1:39 pm

    I have a feeling my parents are going to be violators of #1,3, and 6 someday.

    I just remind myself that everything they do comes with the very best of intentions! Haha!

  • Lara September 27, 2012, 1:39 pm


  • Amy September 27, 2012, 1:40 pm

    I was in a supermarket the other day…which also happened to be my first outing to the supermarket since the birth…with my then 3 week old baby in my maya sling and in the checkout line a husband and wife commented on the fact that I had a tiny baby in there and how cute…then the husband called her a “tiny sex trophy.” I was horrified and just looked at him with a shocked look on my face and the wife just says “don’t mind him…he’s disgusting.” I wanted to punch him for calling my precious baby girl that name!

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 1:40 pm

      what… the… eff.

    • Kara September 27, 2012, 1:42 pm

      I’m sorry, but that is HILARIOUS. Now I need to find a onesie that says “Tiny Sex Trophy”

      • Katie September 27, 2012, 3:59 pm

        Haha it might be offensive for a stranger to say, but I think that’s hilarious. I think my husband and I can call our future baby “a tiny sex trophy” just between us.

        • Amy September 27, 2012, 10:24 pm

          Haha, if you had seen the guy it came out of you wouldn’t think it was so funny 😉

    • Lesley September 27, 2012, 11:44 pm


      That is so creepy.

  • Becca September 27, 2012, 1:41 pm

    Yikes. “How Not to Be a Brat to Your Friends and Family Just Because You’re a New Parent and Think You’re Special: Don’t Make Demands Like The Ones on This List.”

    That was my first reaction to this post. I know it’s tough, a person chooses to have a kid. They’re not entitled to any special help/treatment because of it. Other people are still allowed to be honest and have opinions. New parents ms will just have to deal like everyone else.

    • Kara September 27, 2012, 1:56 pm

      I don’t think anyone should expect or demand help, but sometimes people WANT to help and they don’t know how. That’s when a list of things (like walk my dog) comes in handy.

      Plus, if making demands like “don’t kiss my baby on the lips” makes me a brat, then fuck…I’m a brat. But seriously, no lip kissing my baby.

      • Alyssa September 28, 2012, 12:43 pm

        Didn’t even know making out with babies was a thing.

    • Melissa September 27, 2012, 2:02 pm

      I had the same exact thought. Was surprised by the tone of this post.

      I can see some of the points as valid, but #5 and 7 seem a little over the top. If anyone does anything in those lists in particular I’m sure it’s entirely unintentional and just because they are excited there is a new baby around to love.

      • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 2:04 pm

        You ladies are lucky because you clearly do not have boundary stompers in the family. Please refer to some of the comments on this post!

    • Julie (A Case of the Runs) September 27, 2012, 2:03 pm

      Yes, people choose to have a kid, but others should have some common sense about how to treat a new mom/dad/baby. You should see how many people don’t have this sense, or don’t always know what’s best. I’m always careful when I’m around them and find it helpful when they spell out what is inconsiderate.

      When you see someone with a dog, do you just jump out and pet or feed it? No, unless you want to get bitten or something. You ask. Some people lack these types of manners.

      Golden rule, here.

      • Becca September 27, 2012, 3:27 pm

        You’re right. Common sense would be nice. But I don’t think parents should be able to expect any more “common sense” or consideration than anyone else gets. Many people make comments to single people that don’t show a lot of consideration or common sense. The point is, I don’t think getting condescending about it is the right response. It seems very self-centered.

        • Julie (A Case of the Runs) September 27, 2012, 5:28 pm

          “Many people make comments to single people that don’t show a lot of consideration or common sense. ”

          I agree! And they have a right to vent about it, too!

    • sarah September 27, 2012, 2:10 pm

      “Other people are still allowed to be honest and have opinions. ” There’s a BIG difference between ‘having an opinion’ and being an inconsiderate selfish asshole.

      • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 2:11 pm

        hah, agree!

      • Becca September 27, 2012, 3:25 pm

        See, I think the person who’s the asshole is the one who lists “acceptable responses” that I’m “allowed” to give.

        I know it was meant semi-jokingly, but it does not come across that way, and to be honest, the responses in the comments show the same lack of awareness of others.

    • meagan September 27, 2012, 2:41 pm

      These “demands” are quiet mild and not entitled at all. Once people in general learn to respect boundaries and act with manners then posts like these will become obsolete.

      But that will never happen.

    • Jess September 27, 2012, 4:33 pm

      I have to agree with this sentiment. I have an almost 15 month old. Yes I asked that when people visited that they call first and wash their hands when they got there. But hell, they were there to see the baby, not me and certainly not to clean my house or run errands for me. I think it’s ridiculous to expect your friends and family to do so, or show up with food. I profusely thanked everyone who did bring us food. When my mom came to stay for two weeks, I thanked her every single time she started a load of laundry while I was nursing my daughter or when they went to the grocery store with the list I’d made for myself for my planned trip.

      Yes, being a new mother is a huge adjustment, but it’s not like you become incapable of still living life.

      • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 4:36 pm

        I didn’t say I demand these things. I said if you want to help a new parent, you don’t help by monopolizing the baby or overstaying your welcome. You actually help by helping.

      • Chelsea September 27, 2012, 4:55 pm

        I really appreciate hearing from a parent with this gracious perspective.

        • danielle September 28, 2012, 4:28 pm

          Jess–I agree!! Love your take on this. Graciousness for the win!

    • Aerevyn September 27, 2012, 5:28 pm

      A little agressive.

      Let’s not call it new parents … how about “people who are sleep deprived and have to learn very important new tasks hands on while juggling hormones and maybe a surgery or an episiotomy and while bleeeding and feeling outchy and still having to focus on the rest of life?”

      I think in our culture we have pretty skewed views on what people should and shouldn’t do for themselves or ask for after having a baby. I spent about a year and a half in two Amish communities. These folks are way more self-sufficient and hard-working than most of us, and they pay a teenage girl to come in and do ALL the cooking and house-cleaning for them for 2-4 weeks. Why? Because they have a pretty important task to focus on and get right! So if the Amish can do it, having your friends cook a meal or clean a toilet while they are visiting is right on target.

      Was Caitlin a teeny bit heavy? Maybe. Was she on target? You bet!

    • Dee September 27, 2012, 9:39 pm

      “I know it’s tough, a person chooses to have a kid. They’re not entitled to any special help/treatment because of it.”

      WHAT??? As a mom, I find this comment to be WAY more offensive than Caitlin’s post. For centuries, mothers have been aided by the help of their mothers, sisters, aunts,neighbors, community when a new baby (or 2 or 3 etc) come into the world. Your out of touch with reality to think that new mothers, especially first time mothers, don’t need help or different treatment if its available. You try doing laundry with a 6 inch set of staples across your abdomen after sleeping 2 hours out of 24 and then come back and comment again. Yes, other people can be honest and have opinions but I will argue til my death that an additional level of sensitivity and get this-actually caring- is appropriate ‘special’ treatment for new parents.

      • Kristy September 27, 2012, 10:43 pm

        They don’t say “it takes a village” for nothing!

        • Reid September 28, 2012, 5:48 pm

          You couldn’t have said it better. Your post contradicts Caitlin’s, but is so true. We as women, need each other. We need our Grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters and sister friends to be there for us. Turning them away during this time, is just prideful and stupid. All you have to do instead of presenting a list is ask nicely for what you need. I would have no problem helping out my friend.

          • Caitlin September 28, 2012, 8:26 pm

            No one is turning anyone away.

    • Emilie September 29, 2012, 2:54 pm

      Give me a call next time you’re bleeding profusely from your nether regions, haven’t slept in 72 hours, just pushed a 10 pound being out of a 3 inch hole, and are responsible to keep a human alive with solely the resources of your body.

      You may want some help.

  • melissa l September 27, 2012, 1:41 pm

    LOVE THIS!!!! I too am having a “word vomit day!!!” Go girl!

  • Jessica September 27, 2012, 1:42 pm

    The day after we brought our son home from the hospital, we had some friends come by to visit…They brought their VERY hyper-active 3 and 5 year olds. The kids ran around unattended making a mess and bouncing off the walls. The real clincher was when the mom handed my newborn to her 3 yr old son to “hold” [in her defense, he was sitting, but still, she didn’t ask, and I never would have agreed, so…] He then kissed our son and she photographed “his first babyholding”. {!!!!} My (not quite) 2 yr old daughter, my husband, my mom and I watched in horror. I could not grab him back fast enough… I cried after they left.

  • Carina September 27, 2012, 1:45 pm

    Question on the name thing — should you assume the parents know that the initials they have chosen will spell ASS or WTF? I’ve always wondered about that, especially when I have to initial a race waiver or a mortgage document or something. Someone at my old job announced her planned baby name and the intials were going to be ASS. Not sure if anyone told her, I certainly didn’t, but she wasn’t the brightest bulb. So if you realized the initials would spell something like that — actually those are the only 2 things I can conceive of as being bad enough to point out — would you say something?

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 2:13 pm

      oh that is a hard one. i still say refrain!

    • heather September 27, 2012, 3:53 pm

      I think this is a case of, you have to know your audience. Outside of my brother, sister, and SIL, I can think of 5 people that I would absolutely hope would point something like that out to me. Matter of fact, if they didn’t, and I later realized it after naming the kid…I would egg their houses. I would absolutely point something like that out to my closest friends as well. However, if it was just a name I did not like…I would keep my mouth shut. 🙂

      • jameil September 27, 2012, 6:07 pm

        Please tell me if I’m doing this! If I know & I’m cool with it (and I’m definitely not cool w/my child’s initials being ASS), let it go. If I don’t know, you don’t tell me & I realize it later, like Heather said, egg time! LOL

      • Carina September 28, 2012, 2:16 pm

        This was a secretary at my old job, so not someone I really knew well enough to say something. Part of me thinks maybe I should have, but wow, I hope someone close to her pointed it out to her and she picked something else. The name itself was lovely, just not the ASS initials.

  • Danielle @ TwoLoveBirds September 27, 2012, 1:46 pm

    I don’t have kids and probably won’t for a while but this was hysterical! Hysterical and Horrifying all at the same time!

  • Ellie @ healthy belly ellie September 27, 2012, 1:48 pm

    Haha, you are awesome. Great list. I’m only 20, but I’m printing this out and saving for 10 years from now when I’m ready to have kids.

  • Angie September 27, 2012, 1:53 pm

    “Do not, under any circumstances, visit a family with a new baby, invite yourself to stay for A WEEK, and expect them to serve you hot meals and clean up after you.” True story…my FIL did this with my first, and I told my hubby that it was absolutely not going to happen again. If he wanted to see the other children when they were newborn, he would have to stay with other family members or in a hotel. There is only so much a new mom can take, especially if she has older kids to worry about, too.

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 2:14 pm

      Oh jesus. A week is about five days too long for overnight guests when you have a new baby.

    • Jessie @ Graze With Me September 27, 2012, 6:43 pm

      My MIL and her husband did the same thing! I finally just stopped buying groceries after they ate all my food w/in the first couple days. When they opened the fridge I suggested they go out to eat & leave me alone! Never expect a new mom, who hasn’t yet taken her newborn to a grocery store, to go buy (& cook) your food for a week.

  • Katie September 27, 2012, 1:54 pm

    Great list. I don’t have any kids, but my greatest fears revolve around my mother in law being controlling and inserting herself into our lives without invitation. She is the type of person that would be so offended if she wasn’t in the delivery room or getting to stay the night at our house the first night! If I ever have a baby, I’m going to stick to my guns about that stuff.

  • Vikki September 27, 2012, 1:56 pm

    So, out of curiosity, and maybe I missed the point of this one, but who would actually want a seat in the splash zone during childbirth? I am of the belief that the only person who should be in the splash zone is the person that helped you make the baby in the first place, but perhaps I’m the weird one.

    That being said, if I’m close enough to visit someone after the birth of the baby (And I usually come bearing gifts in such cases), my feelings would be really hurt if they didn’t let me hold the baby. Granted, I’ve never gone to a friend or family member’s house after the birth and not had them say “Would you like to hold the baby?” so there is that.

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 2:01 pm

      That means you are polite 🙂

    • Vivian September 27, 2012, 2:46 pm

      People are weird that way. My FIL requested for my first pregnancy to be in the splash zone. I declined.

    • Nicole Dyan September 27, 2012, 4:00 pm

      I would never ASK to be present for childbirth, but my sister invited me to her son’s birth (along with our parents and younger sister- but not the in-laws). I can say that seeing my nephew’s birth was an amazing experience and I’m really glad I was able to be present. I can now understand why someone would want to be there. That being said, I can not understand why someone would feel they have the right to be there, and complain if they weren’t invited. It is an extremely personal and invasive moment for the mother and she should be feel 100% comfortable with and in control of (where possible) the situation.

  • Kari September 27, 2012, 1:56 pm

    Most of the rules are very valid. Some of these rules are so ridiculous that I can’t believe you would even need to write them down. The others come across as self involved and selfish….Come over for 30 minutes only, bring me food, don’t ask to hold the baby…oh and do my vacuuming while your here.

    • Carmella September 27, 2012, 2:37 pm


      • Susan September 27, 2012, 7:51 pm

        If the point of visiting is to help out, then yes …. those are valid expectations. If the point of visiting is to not help, but simply hold the baby then make it clear and maybe wait a few weeks?
        My last c-section recovery was horrendous and what I truly needed was help around the house because I was completely helpless for a while. I didn’t need/want to make small talk while being suffocated by piles of laundry and chaos. I needed/wanted someone to help me. After the recovery I more than welcomed long, chatty visits and passing my baby around.
        I think every situation and every mom calls for different types of visits …. it’s just important to be sensitive to those moms that are struggling, like you would be to anyone that needs you to be.

  • Stevie September 27, 2012, 2:02 pm

    This is hilarious! Probably the worst offense I seen was at a big family bbq where my sister in law would be introducing her newborn son to the extended family for the first time. Her overbearing aunt ran up to the car as soon as my SIL got there, grabbed the baby out of the carseat and continued to present the baby to the rest of the family, as if it was her baby! My SIL walked in humbly behind as the aunt stole the show. Totally inappropriate!

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 2:02 pm

      Aw that’s sad.

  • Liz September 27, 2012, 2:06 pm

    As someone who doesn’t have children, after reading that list, i’ll just stay away until i’m invited and look for pictures on Facebook.

  • Anna September 27, 2012, 2:09 pm And I am not even a mother. But seriously, some people have no boundaries.

  • Annette@FitnessPerks September 27, 2012, 2:09 pm

    oh WOW! These are hilarious. And quite sad that any of them have actually happened! WOW.

  • Mary September 27, 2012, 2:10 pm

    Hahaha I love this post! I don’t have a baby yet but I definitely experienced the same crap when my husband and I got married last year. I had people at church ask me why they didn’t get invited. Let’s just say that’s awkward. I also had someone very forcefully suggest that we have a receiving line at the church. Um no thanks. Another lady told me if I’m about to walk down the aisle and I think oh crap then I still have time to walk away. I mean seriously…why do people feel the need to share everything? I will ask if I want your opinion! 🙂

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 2:11 pm

      or people who write back to the rsvp with additional guests’ name written in the space?? LOL

      • Mary September 27, 2012, 2:31 pm

        Haha yes! Or people who just show up and bring a random guest. That was awesome too…

  • Krista September 27, 2012, 2:21 pm

    DO NOT smoke around the baby! My MIL use to think it was perfectly OK to light up when holding my daughter. When I asked her not to she told me that I was over reacting and that she did it with her kids and they were “just fine”. Grrr!!!

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 2:24 pm

      holy hell.

  • Chris September 27, 2012, 2:28 pm

    Wow this post was intimidating. As a married person without children the main idea I got out of this post is to not visit at all for a while after birth. There’s just too much room for me to accidentally do something wrong. Point taken.

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 2:30 pm

      Hah, no the point is to act like a normal human being with empathy.

      • andrea September 29, 2012, 8:05 am


  • Carly D. @ CarlyBananas September 27, 2012, 2:28 pm

    Yikes, you’ve successfully made me scared to go anywhere near a pregnant woman/baby/new mom. It seems there’s a ton of ways to make them really angry!

  • Morgan September 27, 2012, 2:31 pm

    Why does having a baby make family members crazy and boundary crossers? No other event makes people act so nutty!
    My son was 1 day old and we were breast feeding in the hospital when MIL shows up. I ask her to wait outside while we feed. She waited for 10 minutes and left pissed because I kicked her out WHILE WE WERE LEARNING HOW TO BREAST FEED. When she came back the next day, she would not look at or talk to me.
    She also showed up unannounced once, the day before the breastfeeding incident. And brought food (that needed to be refrigerated, which we didn’t have in our room) for me to eat BUT I COULDN’T EAT ANYTHING. She knew that because she was JUST there with us not 3 hours earlier.
    I am still livid about these events.

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 2:32 pm

      Aw I’m sorry! I would be livid too!!!

  • Alexis September 27, 2012, 2:33 pm

    I definitely say “You should name the baby after me” to my best friend all the time… but since she obviously knows it is a total joke, I’m not too concerned that she’s offended by it. Also, the name is still a secret (she hasn’t given birth yet), so it’s not like I’m saying I don’t like the name!

  • Sarah @ Yogi in Action September 27, 2012, 2:34 pm

    I laughed so hard at these rules! What I don’t get is for rule #1- why would someone want to be in the delivery room while the action happens? I would much rather wait at my comfortable home or at a restaurant or pretty much anywhere rather than have a front seat row to the action!

    I also agree with the comments above that for the parents to tell the guest if they aren’t doing something they like. I don’t have any kids so I don’t know how I should proceed- and I would definitely prefer someone telling me to leave because they need a nap rather than the new momma forcing herself to stay up to entertain me and cursing me later!

  • Colleen September 27, 2012, 2:42 pm

    A HELL YES to this post! With our first child, the only good visitor we had (we lived 8 hours away for all family) was my sister and my nephew (husband agreed). She cooked, cleaned, made me sit down and relax, etc. while she took care of us. Can’t say the same for the grandparents. Don’t get me started on the pressure to have my children on their due dates to ‘available screwing up their visiting plans.’ Also, need to add to the list that when you see a new mom at the store with her newborn, who was born with a large strawberry on his head and is missing three figures, DO NOT put your hands on the baby’s head and prayer for the baby and tell the mom everything is going to be ok.

  • Lindsay September 27, 2012, 2:44 pm

    I would say that all these ring true for both my husband and my family (with the exception of #2 which didn’t happen). It has been a real challenge over these past few months and unfortunately things are getting worse rather better. And #4, 5 (or rather lack of help), and 6 are the most prominent. When it’s comes to #7 it almost the opposite to the extreme, every time E cries my mother thinks she IS hungry even after I just nursed her, I don’t know how many times I have told her that crying does not always mean hunger but rather it could be a variety of other things. Unfortunately our families don’t understand boundaries and when we try to set them they pull the well we’re family bit.

  • Stephanie September 27, 2012, 2:46 pm

    Loved this post!

  • Janie September 27, 2012, 2:49 pm

    i love this. can you also make one for weddings? 🙂 xo

  • Aditi September 27, 2012, 3:01 pm

    I dont know how I feel about this post – I understand that it is supposed to be tongue in cheek or whatever but my SIL is going to have a baby in December and I am going to want to be there to help out as much as I can. I just feel like with the rules you have listed here, I am not going to be able to do anything right except you know, vacuum their house, do their dishes, and oh wait, basically be their maid.

    • Susan September 27, 2012, 3:13 pm

      Understandable. Your sil might be the type of mom that would appreciate a break in order to take a long shower, clean, etc while YOU care for the baby. It really depends on her.
      If she just wants to hold the baby and sleep and nurse, then yeah …. the most helpful thing you can do is to take care of the peripheral things. Everyone is different.

      • Liza September 27, 2012, 3:50 pm

        Just ask what you can do to help – simple as that. “Don’t be afraid to tell me what you need and/or what I can do to make things easier for you” is the perfect thing to say, in my opinion. 🙂

      • Morgan September 27, 2012, 3:56 pm

        Totally agree with Susan.

        Your expectation of what helping is might be different from what she really needs you to do. Most people want to help by caring for the baby, but typically that’s not at all what a new mother wants/needs.

        Personally, I wanted to hold my own child, nurse her, tend to her, etc. I physically couldn’t clean my house because I could barely walk from giving birth. I needed help taking care of that kind of thing and was forever grateful to whomever would do that for me.

        Some got mad when I asked them to clean up for me instead of helping with the baby, but when you offer to help, be prepared to do what the mother really needs!

  • Katie Heddleston September 27, 2012, 3:02 pm

    LOVE THIS!!!

    And I would like to add another rule! Do not start to call the baby by the cute nicknames the parents start to call them. They are special for the parents. Someone in my family started to do that (without asking) and now I’ve backed off on using that name because it’s less special and drives me bonkers when I hear that person use it.

    • Emily Malone September 27, 2012, 6:03 pm

      Or create new (NOT cute) nicknames of your own!

    • Mary Nell September 28, 2012, 11:00 pm

      I tend to take my cue of what to call a baby from what the parents call the baby. We nicknamed our baby and have one family member that still calls her by her “given” name despite no one else doing do…she is 5. It drives me crazy. I think if you want your special nickname to be special and unused by others, you really can’t say it around anyone else. Why would I ask to use the name you call your child? I guess I just don’t get it.

      • Liz September 29, 2012, 12:34 pm

        on the flip side… why is it weird that a family member calls your child by her given name? that is what you named her, after all.

  • Allison September 27, 2012, 3:02 pm


    I don’t have kids but try to treat a new mom like I would like to be treated: Bring flowers, hot food, say how precious the bebe is, and GTFO 🙂

  • Breanne September 27, 2012, 3:06 pm

    One of the benefits of being the chosen newborn photographer for most of my friends is getting long stays and lots of baby cuddle time and it doesn’t violate the “rules.” We discuss the details of the shoot at length in advance and they know that newborn photos are a multiple hour ordeal.

  • Jen September 27, 2012, 3:07 pm

    Hahaa you know I love this list. Add: do not ever criticize a new mom or say things like “that woman should have never had kids” when you are not a parent yourself. Payback is a bitch.

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 3:09 pm

      Your list would include “do not cook fish in my house.” LOL

  • Susan September 27, 2012, 3:08 pm

    Hilarious and TRUE!!!!!

    I would add … don’t come over and make a meal using the mom’s kitchen. It’s very stressful to see the house/kitchen in total disarray. I though I might throw the lasagna pan across the room. Making a mess isn’t helpful. Surprise!

    Also, never tell a new mom that she holds her baby too much. Come ON. Sometimes holding my baby was the only thing that kept us all sane in those first few weeks. Out of all the things to criticize, holding babies should never be one of them. That’s like saying “you’re really spending too much time doing the only thing that brings any comfort right now. ” (I got that from the same person that helped out with dinner …)

    People …

    • Susan September 27, 2012, 3:19 pm

      I should add that I understand this family member was truly trying to help, but it just made things worse. I appreciate the effort. Kind of. 🙂

  • April September 27, 2012, 3:31 pm

    SO Great, and i know i owe a few apologies, because before Jack, i am know i did not bring food when visiting and now i agree it is 100% when you have a newborn (or any age child, ha ha). Same with being a bridesmaid, i am SURE i was the worst until i got married, sigh.
    Great list Caitlin, i agree with ALL of them!!!!!

  • Sandi September 27, 2012, 3:32 pm

    This made my day. I will be group forwarding this to both our families- ground rules for our January delivery!

  • Stellina @ My Yogurt September 27, 2012, 3:33 pm

    This is hilarioussssssssssssssssssssss! How do you come up with these awesome topics!?

  • Katie H. September 27, 2012, 3:34 pm

    Don’t give your opinion on how the labor went (I can’t believe you had a c-section; home births are weird; etc.). I had planned on having a drug-free birth in a birthing center, but due to medical circumstances out of my control, I was induced in a hospital and ended up with an epidural. But thankfully, my daughter was born happy and healthy. However, my father-in-law’s first comment to me was, “So I guess you quit the whole natural birth thing. A lot harder than you thought, huh?” He made me feel like I failed at birth, especially since it was just days later, when I was already feeling extremely emotional and vulnerable. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for a little sensitivity.

    • Mary September 27, 2012, 6:18 pm

      Haven’t commented on this post yet but man that is an AWFUL thing to say! Especially coming from a man, lol.

  • Stephanie September 27, 2012, 3:40 pm

    I’m a new mom and this is all so true. I seem to remember Fitnessista having a similar post that I also agreed with (our babies were born almost the same exact time). She also got some negative comments but if you are a mom and remember the new mom stage, this is very true! I will add though that the first week or so I didnt like when people wanted to grab my baby and never give her back but after a few weeks I loved people holding her since she never let me put her down. Gave me a quick break 🙂

  • Liza September 27, 2012, 3:41 pm

    Caitlin I just must say I’m very surprised by the number of people who take your posts so seriously! Like you’re never allowed to be sassy/even the slightest bit negative/satirical? Sheesh. Lighten up, y’all!!!!

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 4:03 pm

      No apparently not!

    • Shady September 27, 2012, 4:17 pm

      Because it’s not funny. It’s offensive and rude and passive-aggressive. If Caitlin or any new mom or any adult for that matter, has a problem with the way that others are behaving, I think the respectful (a word I choose because it’s used in this post) is to talk to them. If you’re annoyed because someone is overstaying their welcome, tell them, don’t post something on your blog and claim that it isn’t personal. And no one and I mean NO ONE should expect their floors to vaccumed or their dogs to be walked because they just popped out a kid. Welcome to the 21st century – we’re all busy. As new parents, you have my congratulations, not my pity.

      • wendi September 27, 2012, 6:38 pm

        Caitlin’s blog is one of my favorites, but I agree with you, Shady. I will continue to read because I think Caitlin is one of the most ‘down to earth’ bloggers and she doesn’t sugar coat things, but I was turned off by this post.

        Granted, I am not a new mother, so I can’t really relate, but I still think it was extremely passive aggressive, espeically since your in laws are visiting from overseas for the first time since Henry was born??? That seems a little obvious to me.

        • Lauren September 27, 2012, 10:42 pm

          I really LOVE (and I use the word “love” in a very “tongue and cheek” way) that most of the people who are commenting negatively about Caitlin’s hilarious post aren’t actually parents yet…. ‘Cuz that’s super cool. You must know EVERYTHING, after all…

        • Carly September 28, 2012, 3:04 am

          Wendi – ditto to absolutely everything you said.

      • KM September 27, 2012, 7:58 pm

        Where exactly do you find Caitlin asking for pity?
        Her post is funny for new moms and actually helpful for clueless childless friends who want to help but are unsure how.

      • andrea September 29, 2012, 8:06 am

        she can expect whatever she wants honey its her life, her ab, her house and lastly, her blog.

        • andrea September 29, 2012, 8:06 am

          **her baby**

    • Kate September 27, 2012, 7:07 pm

      I’m with you Liza!
      Some people are over the top sensitive I guess.
      If this post did not match your sense of humor, move on. We don’t all find the same things funny. Life’s too short to get so upset over a blog post.

  • Nicole September 27, 2012, 3:43 pm

    While funny this post made me more frightened to have a child one day, more so than any child birth story I’ve read. Or maybe I’m more nervous about how I should act around my close friend who is due in December.

  • Morgan September 27, 2012, 3:47 pm

    My MIL tried to storm past the nurses and barge into my labor/delivery room while I was pushing so she could “deliver my husband a sandwich.” WTF. She had no class, tact or respect for me at that moment. 10 months later I’m still pissed off.

    • heather September 27, 2012, 4:08 pm

      That is awful. My midwives and nurses would have tackled her and dragged her back out the door! LOL

      • Morgan September 27, 2012, 4:28 pm

        They didn’t actually let her in, but she definitely tried!

  • Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) September 27, 2012, 3:49 pm

    You pretty much summed it up!! #6 is SO TRUE. It doesn’t matter how you did things x number of years ago. Times have changed, new resources are now available and I have every right to decide how I would like to proceed in parenting. Thank you very much.

    • Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) September 27, 2012, 3:50 pm

      Also .. . please don’t tell me that my (then 4 week old) baby is manipulating me b/c she likes to be held. Yes – someone told me this when my baby girl was a month old.

  • Morgan September 27, 2012, 3:50 pm

    If someone tells me they are naming their kid something truly heinous I straight up tell them. I don’t care if they are offended at all because it is the name their kid will have to carry forever. Just because you (not you-Caitlin) are able to do what the vast majority of humans are able to do (procreate) doesn’t mean you get carte blanche on ruining your kid’s name.

    Some of the ones I hear/see now are terrible; I am a teacher so I see plenty! HR managers throw certain-sounding names into the “no” pile of applicants immediately. Sad, but it is reality. I don’t feel I should have to bide my tongue if I can save a kid from being named something atrocious.

    • Beks September 27, 2012, 5:17 pm

      Yeah. Names can haunt you. David Bowie named his kid Zowie Bowie (or something strange like that). As an adult, he changed his name to Duncan, and from what I gather, is relatively normal, considering who he hails from.

    • Heather September 27, 2012, 7:41 pm

      Really? Because I would say unless someone is struggling with a name choice and asks for my honest opinion it’s absolutely none of my business.

      One month before my wedding my SIL and brother had a baby they named after my very Italian grandfather. It is not a common name. In fact, other than my deceased grandfather and nephew, I’ve never met another. Well, a guest at the wedding thought it would be appropriate to tell my SIL she was a brave woman for agreeing to go along with the name, and followed that gem up with declaring she had made a mistake… in front of other members of my family. It’s okay to have an opinion, but sometimes sharing an opinion only hurts people.

      • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 7:46 pm


  • Lindsay McAlester September 27, 2012, 4:00 pm

    This. was. awesome! Very funny and a good read to boot! I too have been insensitive in these areas pre-kids, of course. Although now as a mother, you see things in a WHOLE new light. Those that find this particular post to be negative or in a bad tone…..Geez! Get a life! Thank you Caitlin for the wonderful post/blog! 🙂

  • Katie O September 27, 2012, 4:03 pm


    We were lucky to have really understanding family and friends, but I’ve heard of these happening and lived in fear. I voiced very clearly that if anyone i didn’t want in the room was there i would tell them very un-politely (see? just made up a word) to “get the F**K out.” I didn’t mind visitors, but i’m a possessive mommy and things MUST BE DONE MY WAY. If I start hovering i’m all over ‘just give the baby back, please’

    and the times i’m given unsolicited advice, i give them unsolicited advice. i’m just that rude. 😀 jk. but really, i know how i want my child raised and that does not include him sleeping on his tummy at 4 weeks because “he just fell asleep that way”

  • Katie September 27, 2012, 4:04 pm

    Caitlin I thought this list was hilarious. I’m sorry people are taking it so seriously and getting offended. I thought it was similar to a Tracey Moore post on Jezebel (which I love).

  • Greer September 27, 2012, 4:07 pm

    This post is amazing. Already sent out to my new mommy friends… We all empathized and laughed. To those who are critical, every experience is obviously different and being a new mom is a unique experience. Period. Once you’ve been there, you see the humor in a post like this! Loved it.

  • L September 27, 2012, 4:08 pm

    Ummm this list is GREAT and perfect reading material for moms to be like me who NEVER speak up for themselves for fear of being “mean” and end up getting walked all over by overbearing family members who show no courtesy or regard for personal privacy. Rules like these are absolutely necessary for MILs who insist on being queen bee and think this whole process is all about them and their “new bayyyyyyybeeeeee”.

    This post is not about well meaning friends who drop by for a bit to meet the new family member and share in the joy. Its the people who come and expect to be hosted while they just play pass the baby and turn heir nose up at everything you’re doing wrong. Sorry, but while I am bleeding everywhere, in pain, trying to learn to feed my child properly, etc I want privacy. More than anything. If you’re willing to give me a few weeks to myself, great. Come over later and just hold the baby. If you are one of those people who insists on coming as soon as possible and invading my private family environment then at least make yourself useful somehow definitely applies.

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 4:13 pm

      Sums up my thoughts nicely!

  • Katie September 27, 2012, 4:09 pm

    Ahhhh! I just had a baby two weeks ago and I agree with every single thing on your list. I wish I could send this to all the family and friends that have been overwhelming me since the baby was born! Thank you!

  • Lyn @ Life Lyn Style September 27, 2012, 4:11 pm

    I would add to bring paper goods with the food. And bring the food in disposable containers. I stocked up many friends with an ample supply of paper plates and such. No new mom and dad have time for dishes.

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 4:12 pm


  • Bernadette September 27, 2012, 4:14 pm

    Oh Lord help me!!!

    Thank you for posting this! Apparently even well Intentioned Grandmas break the rules with the best of intentions.

    I just called my daughter to apologize for all the rules I have broken and read this post to her and we both had a good laugh. She just delivered my 1st Grandson 6 weeks ago and while I’m Truly, Madly Deeply in love with him I have to say I’m guilty of breaking a few of these rules.


  • Chelsea September 27, 2012, 4:18 pm

    Hmm. I definitely agree with what you’ve written here as far as being respectful toward new parents and their wishes. However, I’m curious what made you feel the need to write it, and in such a way? It seemed like it came out of left field and was just kind of rant-y, and doesn’t really serve a purpose connected to your blog. (Side note: I know your extended family is visiting right now, and if I were a member of your family and happened to check your blog today, I’d be suspicious that this was passive-aggressive, and I might feel hurt)
    Of course, this is your personal blog, and does cover a variety of topics (which I like!), so you can say whatever you please. But– I usually enjoy coming here because the tone of your posts strikes a really good balance between being real/honest while at the same time being all-inclusive and non-offensive. I found this pretty holier-than-though and a decided take-off from your usual writing style. Something about calling all of these things “Rules,” and yeah, just the tone in general, as others have commented. I hope to keep seeing more “real talk” on the blog in the future, but hope it’s presented with more of a modicum of respect and politeness for everyone!

  • Katie September 27, 2012, 4:29 pm

    Ahh! I can’t even imagine….or I can have nightmares about it already.

  • Victoria @ Running Peanut September 27, 2012, 4:38 pm

    I think a lot of this also comes down to politely communicating your expectations, preferably prior to the birth. I’m due in December and my husband and I have been crystal clear with family members about what we would prefer, especially with the labor. I appreciate the interest, but I don’t want spectators either!

    My in-laws and my immediate family are extremely respectful of our boundaries but I still think it’s a two way street of you communicating your desires and them listening and responding. Some people are never going to get it, and that’s super unfortunate, but most people do want to do the right thing. I guess I’m just lucky to be surrounded by people with good manners! 🙂

    • Kristi September 28, 2012, 3:20 pm

      I totally agree with you – we’re due in dec and have had some talks with family. But i fully expect a good portion of their manners to fly out the window once their first grandchild arrives!!!

  • Vicky (Little Baby, Big City) September 27, 2012, 4:42 pm

    Most annoying advice I continually get from family is…”give him formula at night that way he will sleep through to the morning.” I am not against formula, I was a formula baby. But my family knows I want to breast feed until about 2 yrs old… So repeating this advice every time I see them is getting old, my baby is 8 months old and going strong.

  • susan September 27, 2012, 4:43 pm

    Loved this. On the flip side, here’s something my mother said when she came to visit from out of town a few days after I brought my first child home. “I’m just going to clean a bit–please don’t take it as a commentary–I’m just pitching in.

    It doesn’t sound as nice written down. But I loved the “don’t take it as commentary” line.

  • Ali September 27, 2012, 4:44 pm

    Yikes. I didn’t read all the comments so I apologize if this is a repeat but don’t say “let me know if there’s anything you need!” It’s so general and of course i’m not going to call you to come over and help pick up my house or fold laundry. Instead, say “hey, if it’s alright with you, I’d like to come over friday after work for a while to see the bebe and help you guys out. I’ll bring take-out,too, Thai ok?” hell, i’d rearrange my schedule to accommodate this kind of friend!

    Love this post tho! All very true! Especially when they baby is crying/starving and the guest thinks walking/bouncing will soothe them. They’re hungry!!!

    • Aerevyn September 27, 2012, 6:14 pm

      Good one.

      This is true for other life events or crises, too. When people did this after my husband died, it was super, super nice. You don’t have the emotional energy to pick and chose and wonder if it’s OK for them.

      • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 7:37 pm

        i am so sorry about your husband.

  • alexandra September 27, 2012, 4:54 pm

    Greaaaaaat post. Nuff said.

  • Tara September 27, 2012, 5:09 pm

    Great List!

    My number one rule was no one, but my Hubby and doula, were allowed at the hospital until they were specifically invited, which wasn’t until the next day after we’d had 24 hours of our own family time and then only immediate family member we are close to. My other rules were basically covered in the post.

    My one vent is for people to really think about what they are saying to new parents. I had a very close family member tell me when I got up to BF our son on our first day home that he was “starving”, because he seemed to cry a lot. I still remember feeling like I’d been physically punched in the stomach hearing that as a new mom who had been basically non-stop BFing since he was born. I know they didn’t mean to hurt me, but it was horrible. I also agree that any comments that start with “You should” “I would” “Are you sure”, etc. should be completely banned when speaking to new parents. They just aren’t helpful in most cases.

  • Holly P. @ A Year in Wichita September 27, 2012, 5:25 pm

    FABULOUS POST! I’m no baby mama…yet. But I get irritated for mothers just thinking about these things happening to them. I’m book marking this list for future reference when I do, one day, become a baby mama.

  • Taylor September 27, 2012, 5:27 pm

    I think you should just be grateful you had people who came to visit. My baby was born right after my little brother passed away. He was the only family I really had and we do not live near any of our friends now.

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 7:38 pm

      I’m sorry about your brother 🙁

  • jameil September 27, 2012, 5:52 pm

    Lord have mercy! That people actually do these things! Frightening! My favorite is: “Family is about something much more than blood relations – it’s about years and years of respectful behavior.” YES!! This applies to so many situations! There are no children on the horizon yet but please tell this to my cousin who thinks it’s her duty to tell me everything she *knows* whether I care or not. For the record, I most certainly do not. My family/friends never need to worry about me body blocking them when their child is crying. My response is immediately “GIVE IT WHAT IT WANTS!!” followed by the appropriately gentle thrust back to the parent. LOL

  • Erin September 27, 2012, 5:54 pm

    Fabulous list!

    I’ll add an item:

    Be patient with the new parents and be selective about topics of conversation. Let them talk about the baby and how much it is eating, sleeping and pooping – this is their world right now. They are just trying to keep the baby alive and happy. Fake sincere interest.
    Be understanding if they are distracted with their new roles.
    Be understanding if they cannot handle an in-depth discussion about the latest developments in the Middle East.
    Be understanding if they aren’t interested in celebrity gossip.
    Be understanding if they don’t show their usual level of interest in your life and any recent developements.

    Just offer hugs and support.

  • Megan September 27, 2012, 5:59 pm

    The array of comments on this post makes me laugh.

    I’m a labor and delivery nurse and a few weeks ago I basically had to stand guard at the doors to make sure a patients mother didn’t get backinto the room. I felt so bad for the patient! Also….occasionally, if the name is reeeeaaaaaly bad (& I live nthe Midwest aka meth Capitol so we see some reeeeaaaaaly bad ones) we bring the baby name bookin and try to talk them into a different name…..

  • Penny September 27, 2012, 6:21 pm

    You are my hero.

    I have two kids. Nuff said. 🙂

  • brooke @ sweats & sweets September 27, 2012, 6:24 pm

    I am saving this forever. Whenever we have our baby, I will happily print and hand these out to our family members. I love them.

  • Melissa September 27, 2012, 6:28 pm

    I am two weeks from my due date, and I LAUGHED when I saw this list and immediately forwarded the link to my husband, who had a nice chuckle at work I’m sure :). My MIL told me/instructed me at about 20 weeks along that people that come to help after the baby is born are there to help out with what the mom normally does around the house, not JUST help take care of the baby. So I think I am in good shape so far :).

    Funny story of a person who doesn’t know how to be polite/have boundaries, I was in line at a store, and a woman was having a very difficult day with her three kids in tow checking out in front of me. I have nannied for 8 kids so far ages 10 weeks to 4 years, and seeing this woman melting down just made me think she was just having a horrible day and we had no idea what had gone on to cause it. Meantime, a guy in line behind me says to me (who was obviously very pregnant) “are you regretting your decision now?!… ” OMG. I just stared at him. Turned bright red, and said, well actually I know what I’m getting myself into and everyone has a bad day now and then. Then a woman standing behind me said, “oh, yours will be much better” to which I wanted to say… not all the time!! JEEZ people! Everyone needs to learn to give each other a break!

    ha, rant over, I really enjoy your blog!!

  • natalie @ will jog for food September 27, 2012, 6:31 pm

    I have a feeling someone actually asked you to make them something to eat! haha! That is pretty bad.

    I should print this off to hand to my family in the delivery room! They are Cuban and Italian so that pretty much equals crazy 😉

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat September 27, 2012, 7:10 pm

    Hehe all of your rules made me laugh! I am nowhere close to becoming a mother but I have a few friends who are recently married and I don’t think kids are too far off. I will keep all of this advice in mind! 🙂

  • Ashley September 27, 2012, 7:51 pm

    Hahaha, I love the page you took out of Kara’s book….this post was freaking hysterical.

    To all the offended non-parent readers, just write your own. As a nearing-30 married woman, I am getting soooo tired of some of the faux pas that new parents make around non-parents! The worst is when they say “oh you’ll have them when you get older…you say that now” as though my CHOICE to not have children is somehow invalid and that I will eventually mature enough to make the same decision they did. I find that so insulting.

    Also not ok is handing a guest a baby when the guest has not ASKED to hold the baby. Or to go on and on and on with the baby pics (especially if the baby is there!). Or to detail the birth story unless asked. Or to laugh when the baby pukes/burps/poops on the non-parents nice clothes. I have lots of these…

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 8:19 pm

      i could write a similar post on people’s doggies! do not let your doggie pee or poop on my floor and not tidy it up!!!

      • Ashley September 27, 2012, 10:32 pm

        We once went away for a weekend with a few other couples. One couple’s dog got into my suitcase and ATE MY CLOTHES!!

        Haha…I see the beginning of a hysterical blog series 🙂

    • Jen September 27, 2012, 11:13 pm

      YES to the way people talk to those of us who have chosen not to have children! I don’t even tell people any more that my husband and I are child free by choice – if they dare ask, I just say we can’t have any and make a sad face 😉 I have to attend a baby shower for my husband’s step-cousin in a few weeks and I’m absolutely dreading it because I know it’s going to be a four hours of “when are you two going to have one” questions. It’s easy to deflect this crap with sarcastic replies to from nosy co-workers…family, not so much. I really hope they have spiked punch at this shower :O But I digress…

    • Mary Nell September 28, 2012, 11:14 pm

      Love those examples…I loved Caitlin’s post, and I now have two kids, but having married at 29 in a family where everyone marries at 22 and had their kids early, I had my list of things you shouldn’t say to single people! Today, even though I have kids, I still don’t presume everyone loves them like I do. I still remember being at dinner, 10 years ago, chatting with my friend who was a new mom who was having a meal out with baby around the age of two months. I was mid-sentence when suddenly interrupted with, “did you see what she just did?” um…no…the baby is still just laying there!

  • Casey September 27, 2012, 7:53 pm

    The Funny Police and No Sense of Humor Patrol…coming to the comments section of a Healthy Tipping Point near you!

    • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed September 28, 2012, 7:51 am

      Hahaha! Love this comment and love this blog <3

      • Liza September 28, 2012, 9:14 am

        bahahahaha!! Amen Casey!!!

  • Lisette September 27, 2012, 7:58 pm

    I know this “crazy girl” who told her BFF that the name reminded her of her cousins dog. Lol ooopppps! Totally violated that one. Btw I don’t think I will be able to visit you any time soon. Please call me when Henry grows out of his adorable stage because I would totally want to take over and carry him! I would definitely monopolize the baby. Lol that’s one rule I won’t be able to follow. Kissing kids on the lips is pretty gross! I think the rules are quite reasonable! 🙂 If I were to visit, I would bring kick ass takeout and definitely clean for you if and only if I get to “monopolize” the baby!

    • Caitlin September 27, 2012, 8:18 pm

      haha i would let you monopolize h man.

  • Allie@LiveLaughEat September 27, 2012, 8:01 pm

    You crack me up! The shoulder twisty thing hahahaha

  • Jenna September 27, 2012, 8:19 pm

    Sheesh. Maybe everyone should just stay home then, and not bother visiting. It sounds awfully regimented.

    • Taylor September 27, 2012, 8:50 pm

      I agree. I would be scared to visit if I were a friend of yours. I wouldn’t want to do the wrong thing.

  • LizP September 27, 2012, 9:14 pm

    I think this is helpful! As someone who has never been a new mother, I really don’t know some of the rules (keep the visits short and sweet), even though they may seem obvious to others. On the other hand, some that seem obvious to me, (don’t kiss a baby on the mouth, don’t hog the baby, etc) may not be something others hadn’t thought of. So I don’t find this list offensive at all… however…

    I am not going to judge you for being a new mommy that is not perfect but trying to be a great mommy and in that same vein I expect you not to judge me for being a friend/family member that is not perfect but trying to be a great friend/family member to you. Mommies won’t do everything perfect and neither will family or friends, but if we come from a place of love, kindness, and respectful boundary conversations rather than judgment this whole thing will work out so much better!

    • Frenchie September 28, 2012, 2:10 pm


      I can totally second what you wrote! I actually found this post interesting. My brother i having a baby in the next few days (So exiting)! I live in Canada so I am flying back to France to see it in October. I found Caitlin’s pointers helpful, especially about what new parents might find helpful.
      I would never kiss the baby on the mouth or monopolize it when he’s crying.
      And I can see how some people might be totally overbearing.
      I however consider myself polite and reasonable. Yet since I don’t have kids I would not know what to do and might commit one or several faux-pas..

      A two way conversation is sometimes the best way to deal with this type of situation

  • Courtney September 27, 2012, 9:43 pm

    My mother-in-law announced on Facebook that we were having a baby before I had a chance to. Really?! Who does that?

    • Caitlin September 28, 2012, 7:08 am

      That is so sad.

      • Jenna September 28, 2012, 10:52 am

        My SIL did the same thing…. twice! We had her take it down the first time(we had just told immediate family 1 hr. before) and then she did it again after we told extended family. We had to have the same conversation AGAIN. According to her, she thought the news was out and so of course that means immediately posting it on FB? Really?!

        What irked us even more, is that we are not even huge FB people and not ones to do a status update, etc., with personal stuff and all of the sudden we are having to deal with her friends, people we don’t even know(or care about) congratulating us when people we do care about didn’t even know yet… we knew she was a chronic FB over sharer, just wasn’t expecting she would overs share news that wasn’t her’s to begin with.

        • Caitlin September 28, 2012, 11:16 am

          Hahah Chronic FB Oversharer sounds like it needs a support group.

  • Erin September 27, 2012, 10:33 pm

    Never make comments about their post or pre baby weight! Don’t ask them to do anything for you for a long time as a 4-month old baby is almost harder than a newborn because the baby is napping less and more mommy needy. Or don’t sign up to bring a meal and forget.

    Love these!

  • Stef September 27, 2012, 10:40 pm

    This list is SO true!! The thing that annoyed me the most was when people would monopolize my baby. I shouldn’t have to ask to hold my own baby!

  • Sandy September 27, 2012, 11:11 pm

    What makes me sad about this post, is you miss the value your babies grandparents and siblings will add to your life. You forget these same Aunts and Uncles, Grandma & Grandpa’s will more than likely be your babysitters. They will do this with love and usually for free. They will be your child’s story tellers. They will be your wisdom when all else fails. They will be in the stands watching their grandchild pitch their first ball game. Thank God for my Grandparents and that my parents didn’t present them with a list of rules. My Grandma always made time for me, she would pour a cup of tea and we would talk. My Grandpa told me stories of days gone by. They were intergral part of my life. You seem to look at those that want to love your child as a nuisance. How sad.

    • Caitlin September 28, 2012, 7:07 am

      We are not talking about nice relatives. Read the post again.

  • Lan September 27, 2012, 11:45 pm

    It seems to me that most of the negative comments are from people who have not had children. To paraphrase the classic saying … “until you’ve walked a mile in the other person’s shoes” …
    I thought this post was hilarious and read it for the satirical humor in which it was meant. I am a mom myself and yet sadly, I have to admit that I broke some of the “rules” too (even after I had my daughter). LOL Live and learn for the next time.

  • lindsay September 27, 2012, 11:45 pm

    And I just googled “tongue in cheek” to be sure I was right all these years after reading all these comments with “tongue and cheek.” Good to know I haven’t been saying the wrong thing all along 🙂

  • Lesley September 27, 2012, 11:46 pm

    Yikes, I think I’ll hold off on visiting anyone with a newborn until the baby is six months or older. That’s when I feel more comfortable holding and interacting with babies anyway!

  • Julie September 27, 2012, 11:50 pm

    Yikes. It’s crazy to me that so many have had such awful experiences with their families. My daughter was born two months ago and everyone was great. My mom did stay for three weeks, but I wanted her to and cried when she left.

    To everyone who is now worried about saying/doing the wrong thing, keep in mind that people are different. I loved having visitors (and I had a very difficult delivery with an extended hospital stay for both me and baby). It was so nice to have people to talk to, and even if they broke some rules it made me happy that they wanted to see and hold my baby.

    Also, I think if you’re a new mom you have every right to gently tell others what is and isn’t helpful to you. However, some moms are often very rude to one another. You don’t have to look far before you find another mom judging you for not breastfeeding, letting your baby cry for a few minutes, having an epidural, etc. Just think that if you want respect and sensitivity, then be sure and dish it out to others–parents and non-parents alike! (This obviously isn’t directed towards Caitlin, but is just an observation I’ve had since entering parenthood).

    Oh, and I think this post is clearly written in jest without any bitterness behind it.

  • The Robertsons of Mumbai September 28, 2012, 12:25 am

    Love this! I am new to your blog and 35 weeks pregnant, and I can already realte to this! Seeing some of the comments, I find it funny that the people who seem to have problems are people without children, and I have already encountered people who seem to think that their rights to see the baby on their own terms out-trump your rights as the new parent (as if it was actually *their* baby and not yours!). We are on the other side of the world from our families and most of our friends, which has been very sad, as they have missed out on my pregnancy, however, I will have things much easier in the first few weeks after the baby is born.

    A couple issues I need to figure out how to deal with:

    -If someone reeks of cigarette smoke, is is rude to ask them to change their shirt before holding the baby?

    -How to tell people not to take a bath in strong cologne or perfume before holding the baby. I know people who will hug you adn your skin, hair and clothes smell like crazy the rest of the day unless you change and take a shower!

    I also love the whole “We did this with our kids and they turned out o.k.” Ug!

    • Caitlin September 28, 2012, 7:06 am

      I think the cig one is none negotiable!

  • Emily B September 28, 2012, 3:38 am

    I found that – while the points are valid: using terms like, “For the love of God” for a post that is classified as tongue-in-cheek, I found it slightly offensive. I agree that women definitely should feel comfortable breastfeeding EVERYWHERE especially home, however there are many reasons why someone would feel “uncomfortable” about it, for example the fact that it may bring back memories of not being able to feed from the breast. I’ve never heard of people wanting their friends to switch to formula so they can feed a bottle, from my view it’s the opposite.

    I guess, to summarize, when a close friend has a baby it is a hard for them as well as the mother because the friend is now a full-time Mum and has less time to spend with anyone else so definitely be careful not to target people who may be feeling lonely.

    Nonetheless I am a big fan of your blog, and your points were true.

  • Krista September 28, 2012, 6:05 am

    If you intended this to be funny or TIC, that’s fine. I have been a new mom and I don’t find it funny, but others obviously do, so whatever… But the timing of it is suspicious considering you have relatives visiting. Even with your disclaimer, it’s still rather awkward and uncomfortable that you would post this while you have family staying with you.

    • Caitlin September 28, 2012, 7:05 am

      It’s about having a newborn! Henry is hardly a newborn! Give me some credit.

  • Kath September 28, 2012, 6:33 am

    Part of the problem is that it’s not just 1 person but many all at once that are overwhelming when they all do a little bit of these together. Loved that you kept it real.

  • Charity dawn September 28, 2012, 8:01 am

    My biggest pet peeve… DO NOT tell a mother she has spoiled her child because he likes to sit with ppl holding him rather then on his own, or because you pick your kid up because he’s been screaming for 5 minutes.

    Also OFFER to come visit. Sometimes moms don’t want to impose their stresses on others and have a hard time asking for help.

  • Chris September 28, 2012, 8:34 am

    While I try to understand the “hormonal” thing with new mothers, I don’t think that gives them the right to treat people like crap. I was at Target one day and there was a couple with a newborn in the same aisle I was shopping in. They were looking at items on the same shelf as I was and taking their time deciding on what they wanted so knowing what I wanted, I stepped in front of them, said “excuse me”, grabbed my item and put it in my cart. The new mother turned to her husband and said, “let’s come back later when this B#$%^ is gone”. Um, ok, sorry about that. I will forever walk on eggshells around new moms for fear of being reprimanded and this post reminds me of how uncomfortable it is unless you know the “rules”.

    • Caitlin September 28, 2012, 9:07 am

      omg that is horrible! that is NOT what we are talking about – see margaret’s comment about generous people v. overbearing people who only pretend to want to help.

  • Margaret September 28, 2012, 8:59 am

    People–this post is NOT about those of you who are generous and show up with “how can I help” on your mind! If that’s you, and you DO make a mistake like one on the list, the parents are not idiots and will have a sense of you genuinely trying to be helpful. This post is about those people who PRETEND to show up with “how can I help” on their mind but are really only interested in holding and cooing at a newborn. Actions like the one on this list suggest that you might be one of those people! And saying “oh now I’m too scared to visit my friends with a new born because I might make a mistake?” Weak sauce, peeps, weak sauce.

    • Caitlin September 28, 2012, 9:06 am

      hahah THANK YOU. and yes, EXACTLY.

    • Ashley September 29, 2012, 1:43 pm

      I feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall here…..when people come to visit, 99.999% of the time, it’s to SEE THE BABY. Yes, you may have a unique and special friend who will come over and help with your chores, but I guarantee you, most of your friends aren’t thinking, “Hmm, she just had a new baby. I know! I’ll go over and do her laundry!”. They’re just not. They want to come see and snuggle your new little one. So I think it’s silly to even think that someone is coming over to do anything but that.

      I know one thing, all of the moms here who have these “rules” won’t have as many visitors when they have their second baby, I can guarantee that.

  • Nan September 28, 2012, 9:39 am

    With my little 5 week old baby by my side, this post could not have come at a more perfect moment. Caitlin, you were spot on with all of this and I will definitely be sharing this with my other new mommy friends. Thank you!

  • Lori September 28, 2012, 10:07 am

    This was a great post, I’m surprised to see people were offended by it. It’s all about being thoughtful and respectful – keeping in mind that the family is in the midst of adjusting to a dramatic huge change in their lives and knowing boundaries. I do think it’s important for the parents to feel able to speak up – which I know was difficult for me with my twin girls born last year but I think will be easier with my baby boy due in 6 weeks now that I’ve been through it once and know what I want. And I do think it’s totally acceptable for the parents to be as ‘selfish’ about their time and space in those precious first few hours/days/weeks as they want to be. It is such an important time for the family to adjust and figure out how to handle things.

    A few incidents that stood out to me with the girls – the day I delivered them (at about 1:30 in the afternoon) I had friends show up at the hospital at 10:45 at night (visting hours were over at 8, but they made it through). And these were friends we see maybe twice a year. They did call before coming, but I didn’t answer – was not checking my phone regularly and they decided to come anyway. We were exhausted and just wanted to finally be alone with the girls and try to get some sleep. Then they proceeded to stay for what seemed like forever, probably only an hour, but I just needed them to leave. And I should have spoken up.

    And I also had several friends that came by the house and brought their young kids and stayed for HOURS. I was so excited to see them and grateful that they came, but at that point in time, I was so sleep deprived and wanted to nap when the girls napped (having to have them asleep at the same time made this a bit more difficult) and didn’t want to feel like I had to entertain people or their kids (even if I love them dearly). And the last thing I wanted to hear after hearing babies crying/screaming were other kids screaming and running around.

    I don’t think feeling this way makes new parents ungrateful, it’s just life. And I don’t think friends/family intentionally do these thingsI do know that this time around I will be more assertive and try to do it in a loving way – especially with my mom. Last time she was the one person I probably took everything out on since I felt comfortable enough with her to be able to tell what I wanted/needed. I want to keep in mind that it all comes from love and caring about our family and the new baby, but know that I know best what our family will need at that time and that if I communicate it in a good way, others are going to want to give us the time and space we need. While still stopping by in short spurts to ooh and aah over our new family member and visit with us.

  • Sarah September 28, 2012, 10:23 am

    YES. This is amazing. My MIL: announced my pregnancy, and later the birth, on FB before I got a chance, then didn’t comprehend why I was upset. She also asked, on a self-imposed visit one-week postpartum, when my maternity leave ended. Then she made it all about herself, saying we were stifling her and “too sensitive,” so my father-in-law called and basically yelled at my husband for an hour. Way to take all the joy out of those first few weeks.

    And the “pass the baby” game? NO. Just, NO. Seriously, it’s so nice hearing other moms who feel the same way I do!

    • Caitlin September 28, 2012, 11:17 am


      • Sandy September 28, 2012, 2:46 pm

        I’m sorry but it’s not all about you. Your mother in law is your husbands, mother. She is the baby’s grandma.
        So she wanted to see her grandchild, how much time would you have to endure her visit? If the joy was taken out of the event, it was due to your selfishness. Had you let her share in the joy, the joy could have been spread to everyone.

        • Bethany September 28, 2012, 8:20 pm

          Aaaand you miss the point.

  • Kaylee September 28, 2012, 10:31 am

    It may have already been added as I did not read every single comment, but the one rule I would add is: Do not bring your small children! The last thing an exhausted, hormonal, scared new mother needs is your crazy children running around making a mess and not minding. Also, when your crazy child asks me if they can hold the baby, don’t look to me for the answer and make me tell your child no. Tell them yourself and explain it to them. Otherwise I seem like the B!tch because I don’t have the patience or presence of mind right now to explain it to your child so all they will get from me is a terse no. And yes, i realize that my tiny little vulnerable baby will one day be a crazy small child, and guess what, I won’t take her to see brand new babies!!!

    And some people on these comments are being ridiculous. OF COURSE these rules apply, if you have ever had a new baby then you know exactly how it feels, and you are really naive if you think this is common sense, I think all the comments of new mothers should show you otherwise.

    Obviously there are situations in life that demand a higher level of respect, (births, funerals, weddings) let’s not act like people should act the same way they always do in every single situation.

  • Becca September 28, 2012, 11:25 am

    This post actually makes me kind of sad for your friends and family who read this and think that they have inadvertently offended you. Really, as a new mom you should realize people who come visit just want to hold and cuddle the baby and sit and visit with you, not come over and do your chores. When I had a baby I just felt blessed and grateful that we were surrounded by people who loved us and wanted to be a part of it (even if they didn’t always go about it the way I’d prefer). I would have been more hurt if nobody had visited or had just stayed away in fear of somehow stepping on my toes.

    • Sandy September 28, 2012, 2:52 pm

      I agree compeletly Becca. I just read a very good book on the power of touch. It is so important, what harm can a child being cuddled, loved and welcomed into this world be. Those family and friends are VISITING they aren’t moving in.

    • Karen September 28, 2012, 2:55 pm

      I am very sad for your friends and family that read this post. I have a few new mothers in life currently and the attitude that the world stops for them gets kind of old. We all have our own exhausting problems and having a baby is a choice, not a reason for people to bring your food and clean your house. We have our own meals to cook and houses to clean. I think your expectations are a little out of wack. I always enjoyed reading your upbeat blog but this post makes me re-think that.

      • Kandie September 28, 2012, 5:50 pm

        I think you people need to get over yourselves! The post was clearly meant to be funny–and it was. Caitlin is just human. We all feel angry, or tired, or lack perfect judgment sometimes. She should be allowed to express all her emotions, not just the positive ones.

  • Jen September 28, 2012, 12:11 pm

    This is an awesome list. I should distribute this to my (well-intentioned) friends and family for my delivery next Spring 🙂

  • Sandy September 28, 2012, 3:14 pm

    I have been at different friends/family births, each was different. A cousin of mine had just her husband in the room with her when she was delivering her baby. He was a terrible coach, he spent more time watching the fetal monitor tape than helping his wife, when she needed him the most. My own husband was wonderful and helped me through the birth. I have also been at a sister-in-law birth, her Mom helped with contractions, I helped by rubbing her back through terrible back labor, my Mom got her cool compresses, she held tight to my brother’s neck and wouldn’t let him go. That birth was not gruesome or as you described, it truly was a miracle and something we all got to experience. She originally had no intentions of us being there. It was a fluke, however she was so grateful for all of us being there, she invited us all back for her second birth. Don’t underestimate how helpful others that love you can help through a very hard time. My advice to new mothers is if you want just your husband, that’s fine but if it’s going to be too much for him. Then let the expections go, and let others help. Take the pressure off.

  • Reid September 28, 2012, 4:50 pm

    I wasn’t so fortunate to have so many family and friends to come and visit. My child had colic, every day at the same time he would cry for 3 hours. I tried everything. I was completely frazzled. My Mom came to visit me, I told her about his colic. Like clock work at 3pm my little guy started crying. She picked him and began rocking him. She was so calm, she didn’t try the football hold, rubbing his belly, placing him on the washer or in the swing. She simply sang and rocked him. He still cried. It was her calmness that I admired. She said, “you’re doing every thing right honey, he has colic, and all you can do is be here for him”. She told me about my brother and his colic and explained that she herself had done all the techniques and nothing worked. After awhile she learned to just rock him.

    In another circumstance after a few weeks of breastfeeding my breast was on fire. And when my daughter nursed it hurt BAD. My mother had not nursed, so I called my Grandmother, she had nursed her babies. My doctor had told me I had mastitus I would have to quit nursing. My Grandmother told me, “male doctors” and shook her head. She told me it would hurt but to nurse through it. She told me to put warm compresses on my breast. After a few days it was gone. Thank goodness for these two older women in my life. They had experience I didn’t. Don’t be so prideful, those older women who have come before us have a lot of wisdom..

  • Katya September 28, 2012, 7:47 pm

    I think this is a great list and as a new mum can agree with it all! I am surprised by how many are offended….no one is forcing you to read. But like Caitlin is entitled to write what she likes, people are entitled to comment as they wish….so it goes.

  • Sandy September 28, 2012, 7:53 pm

    I’m going to be a new Grandma. My daughter is 30 years old and this will be their first child and my first grandchild. I cannot tell you the joy this news brought me after discovering she was pregnant.

    I was initially hurt that she seemed to tell everyone but her parents first. She told her best friend, her sister, his brother, her husband’s family, her Aunt and finally my ex husband and I were told at a picnic.

    I wanted to believe that my daughter and I had a mother/daughter relationship in which she would want to tell her parents after her husband. When I went to work and told my co workers they were shocked to learn that my daughter had told so many before even telling her mother. A few said, ” I always thought you were close to your kids”. I tried to gulp back the disappointment and laugh it off.

    Reading this list of rules I can tell you if she handed me this list I would honor her request by backing away. I would be hurt and feel my presence was not wanted. And when I was honored enough to be invited to their home, I would walk on eggshells around them. And honestly I would not visit.

    It would hurt to think that possibly I wasn’t the mother I thought I was. Being a mother of my children is what is the most important thing I’ve done in my life. I was that girl scout leader, Sunday School leader, teacher helper, I took my kids back and forth to school every day. I gardened, canned and provided delicious nutritious meal for my family. We sat down at the table every night we would talk about our day, no phone or TV distractions. I celebrated holidays to the fullest, we decorated trees, carved pumpkins, sent them on Easter Egg treasure hunts and threw slumber parties. We went on vacations to fun places, like Disneyland. I sat in the audience at recitals, choir practices and Vice President speeches. I stood with my video camera at graduation and as she rode through the parade as a snow queen. When I told the girls fairy tales, I always changed the ending. In my versions, Rapunzel would cut off her hair and climb down the tower and rescue herself, Cinderella went to college, Snow White started a company, my female characters were strong women. What I’m saying is “I was there”.

    As a new Grandma, I want to share in this too. I want to be a part of my grandchild’s life.My parents were actually better grandparents than parents. I can’t imagine the hurt I would have inflicted had I given them this list. And what my daughter would have missed out on by not knowing their Grandparents & Great grandparents.

  • Tahlia September 28, 2012, 8:02 pm

    Loved reading the responses of this post. I love a good debate. Although now it makes me absolutely terrified to have children because my family would break all those rules and then some! I love them but they are a tad clueless to acceptable social behavior. >.< on another note in terms of people in general I just think some are nice and polite and some are just genuinely ignorant and don't even know they're doing it so I'd speak up

  • Bethany September 28, 2012, 8:17 pm

    Great post Caitlin! This reminds me of ‘The Best of the Delivery Room Drama” on baby centre… Some people are crazy! Oh man, the commenters that are hurt over this post could sure learn a thing or two from that thread 🙂

  • Mercy September 28, 2012, 11:30 pm

    I feel so fortunate that I have a mom that I could share my desires and wishes with who respected my boundaries. She stayed my first week with me and helped cook, clean, and take care of the baby when I needed to nap. At the same time, with a first baby if you have lots of family and friends, you can literally feel like you don’t get time with your baby. I left to go to another room to breastfeed just because it meant that I could be alone with her. My husband felt like he only held her when she needed to be changed. I also had people who would be upset that I wouldn’t go wake her up from a nap so she could be seen. Add to that, the fact that I felt more judged than I ever had from comments regarding how I chose to breastfeed (on a schedule and not “on demand” or even that I didn’t have socks on the baby’s feet–never mind that she kept kicking them off and it was spring weather that was warm), and the first weeks of parenting can be tough. Friends and family don’t need to walk on eggshells, but I do think thoughtfulness is required. I was all about everyone coming to ooh and ahh over my baby–and I didn’t expect help–I just also didn’t expect people to be upset that phone calls weren’t immediatey returned or that I didn’t rearrange my baby’s schedule to fit theirs. It is all about respectfulness on both sides.

  • Reid September 28, 2012, 11:33 pm

    Listen Girlfriend, one of the ladies at work won “Grandparent’s right” to her grandchild. Her daughter- in- law was not allowing her to see her grand daughter. She fought in court and won rights to spend time with her grand daughter. In the beginning she spent 3 hours a month with her grandchild. Eventually her daughter-in-law began seeing the benefit in having a loving grandparent. She now calls her to babysit on a regular basis.

  • Kate September 29, 2012, 1:40 am

    lighten up, everybody! geez.

  • Brie September 29, 2012, 7:20 am

    When it comes to food, remember freezer meals are not the only option! Our freezer is full but I’d kill for someone to bring easy one-handed snacks like trail mix and granola bars.

  • jen September 29, 2012, 10:16 am

    there should also be a rule about when you end up with a miscarriage. the rule is, dont tell me not to be too sad, that there will be other babies, that this would never happen again and most people go on to have beautiful families bc no one can guarentee that, and also bc right now, i dont want a different baby, i want THIS one, that i have spent the past 12 weeks talking to, and taking care of. i just miscarried on wednesday, and in an effort to be supportive, i have heard this a lot from others. i think this is a very important rule. thank you caitlin, for making me feel like i can share this.

    • Caitlin September 29, 2012, 11:56 am


      Love you, Jen.

      • jen September 29, 2012, 2:19 pm

        thank you caitlin, just putting that out there helps

  • kj September 29, 2012, 12:07 pm

    Cut people some slack. People come to visit the baby. When I visit my friends with new babies (often driving hours to do so), I’m there to see the baby and am not going to turn around and go home after 30 minutes. I will help out as I see fit, or if I am asked, but to a lot of people will be offended to just start doing their chores, so I will not do them unless it is requested.

    What I don’t understand is why all these people feel the need to watch people like hawks.If you’re an exhausted new mom, why don’t you take the opportunity to take a nap when your mom, sister, bff etc. is happy to snuggle the baby? It’s not hard to caveat that if the baby cries to that they should wake you. Most people don’t expect new parents to entertain them. And, if you don’t trust someone enough to leave the room when they’re there, then ensure they know that you’re only available for a short visit beforehand and let them decide if it’s worth it to them to come. I don’t have kids, so maybe I’m off base, but i think a lot of these rules can be solved through advocating for yourself.

    • Ashley September 29, 2012, 1:49 pm

      KJ, you are spot on. Like I said before, new moms just need to relax. I’m laughing at this notion that someone else holding the baby for a few minutes will somehow be a detriment to the child’s and mothers’ bonding. What? How silly. Even if someone holds the baby for the allowed 30 minutes, guess what? You will still get to see and hold that baby for 23 hours and 30 minutes more. So, it’s really not that big of a deal. Take a nap and be grateful you have friends that care enough about your baby to come and see them at all.

      Stay level headed like this KJ, and you will be a wonderful parent some day =)

  • Tania September 29, 2012, 2:12 pm

    Hi Caitlin I agree with you 100%.
    I had terrible experience with my relatives when i had my first child and their first grand child.
    We were living in a students hostel (two small rooms) and at the day of my arrival home from hispital my mother and father invited their friend at our place. They came with camera and they made a clip of me, looking terrible, barely walking and staying on my feet. They eat and drank whine in the kitchen and them came in the bedroom to give me their “advices” – like dont hold the baby like that, dont bath him with that, ect.
    I had to brestfeed him in front of them and they gave him his first bath. I hate when I remember it so much.
    At some point I began crying from helplessness. I was too young, only 20 years old and they were my parents and my mother in law.
    After the party my father and guest left and my mother and MIL stayed. There was only one extra bed and they began to argue which one should and have the “right” to stay…they wanted me to decide, I only wanted them to leave both…
    So, my advice for all new mothers, dont let anyone violence you and your child, no matter how close they are to you, not even your mother…They sometimes just dont know what they are doing…
    Caitlin, your post is so useful, for all first time parents and their family members as well, I wish I knew all this.

    • Caitlin September 29, 2012, 2:43 pm

      I am so sorry!

  • Disappointed September 29, 2012, 2:52 pm

    To be honest, I read this post the day you published it, and I am still thinking about it.

    I really like your blog and read it pretty regularly. I love reading about your life!

    However, for a post that’s purpose (according to your comments in response to those who commented) is to instruct friends & family to be thoughtful and respectful, your post was incredibly disrespectful. Yeah, it happens, we are human, but you are, to a certain extent, a public figure who needs to learn to filter a bit. Your comments were even ruder (“We are not talking about nice relatives. Read the post again.”). If I were family members coming to visit you this weekend, I wouldn’t want to visit anymore. You just sucked ALL the fun out of it.

    In response to your post, I have some “demands” from the non- parents in response to yours:

    Rule#1: Don’t assume that non-parents or parents to be want to hear all about the blood, pain, etc. about your birth. Some of us are ok without hearing the details.

    Rule #2: As a new mom, don’t try to take away the excitement and happiness from new grandparents, godparents, uncles & aunts. Yes, the parents should obviously be the first to make announcements, be the most overjoyed, etc. But, keep in mind that others are excited as well.

    Rule #3: Generally, when someone tell you something in conversation (e.g. “I”m think about having the fish”), they are looking for a response (e.g. “Mmm sound good”). Yes, some people should have filters, but if you don’t want comments on the baby names, don’t open up the conversation.

    Rule #4: Ha, sounds like you really respect your family.

    Rule #5: The following is the pilot was to request help: You receive a call from a family friend asking for a visit. You have EVERY right to say “hey, I’m sorry, but I’m too tired”. If you invite them over, you shouldn’t be expecting housework, food or to be honest, anything. Non parents are not servants. You shouldn’t be guilt tripping them into anything.

    Rule #6: For someone who blogs openly about her own life, you don’t really seem to want to hear much about anyone else’s….

    Golden rule: Don’t assume that since you have a child, everyone should respect you and bend over backwards to help you. I was incredibly offended by this post (whether or not what your intentions were, you are putting something on the internet, you should know better). To be completely honest, I felt that you wrote this post with the mentality that non-parents and even parents with older children are beneath you.

    Oh, and “disclaimer” — I have a one month old.

    • Carin September 29, 2012, 6:51 pm

      “Disappointed” is a really unusual name – wonder whether it’s coloured your perspective on life? What a shame you weren’t named “Joy” or “Sunny”… or “Lighten up a tad”.

  • Carin September 29, 2012, 3:36 pm

    I believe there’s a special on Amazon at the moment for “a sense of humour”… there are some commenters who might want to take advantage and get one!

    There’s a difference between pointing out unwanted behaviour in print and being rude and ‘ungrateful’ to well-intentioned visitors. If the advice and insights in this post help just one new mum to feel more relaxed and confident putting herself and baby first at an incredibly emotional and tricky time, it’ll be worth its weight in gold.

    I’m just entertained by the thought of blog readers around the world reading this, nodding in unison and giving their variations on a hearty “hell yeah!” !

    Nice one, Caitlin. As always, you rock (and not just the baby).

  • Ashley // Our Little Apartment September 29, 2012, 4:21 pm

    Great ones. (And gotta love the commenter who basically insinuated that you are too uptight because you just have one child. OY.)

    I would also add, please do not comment on the status of my newborn son’s penis being circumcised or not. That is awkward.

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