“So, what does it do?”: helping family and friends bond with your baby

Chances are, you’ve got plenty of family members or friends who can’t get enough of Baby – those people who are constantly campaigning to be his favorite, the ones who, when they’re around, you hardly feel like you get the chance to hold him. Other friends or family members, though, who may not have or be comfortable with babies in general, can have a harder time adjusting to or getting to know the newest main character in your life. In the interest of protecting those relationships – after all, before Baby came along, you may not have had a ton of experience with infants, either – it can help to have a strategy in mind when helping these friends or family members get to know Baby.

Pick your moments

Like anyone, Baby has his good times and bad times. The point when he starts to get fussy as a sign that he is ready for his nap might not be the perfect time to introduce someone new to him. If Baby is more of an early bird, or has some night-owl tendencies, that’s something to take into account, too – and the same thing goes for your friend or family member. If they’re in a ‘partying all night’ place in their life, a breakfast date to hang with Baby might not be the perfect setting for them to hit it off.

Let them be the hero

Everyone likes to feel like they’ve got something to offer, and if you know that a cozy sweater, a bottle, or a certain toy will soothe your little one when he starts to fuss in your friend or family member’s arms, instead of swooping in to save the day, let them be the one to give Baby what he is asking for. If your friend or family member is reluctant, you can definitely take over, but you can also try offering reassurances, since, a lot of the time, people’s hesitance with babies can have more to do with nervousness than disinterest.

Set the stage

Your friend or family member may do better with Baby if they walk into the situation knowing what to expect. After all, a squirmy 7-month-old can be a shock to someone who hasn’t seen Baby since he was a pretty passive newborn, and someone expecting a walking, talking toddler might not know what to do with a creeping, babbling baby. Sharing a couple of stories with your friend or family member about funny things Baby has done lately, and the things he is interested in, can help the whole interaction run much more smoothly.

Walk the line

A lot of the time, your less baby-crazy friends and family’s reactions to Baby will have much to do with what they fear Baby’s existence will do to your relationship with them. If you can prove to them that they’re not going to lose touch with you, and that you’re not going to stop sharing things about your life with them just because you have a baby now and they don’t, it can go a long way. It works the other way, too – exhausted new parents can have slightly one-track minds, so remember that your friends and family who don’t have children still have other, non-baby-related events and interests in their lives. Asking about those things will show that you still care about them too, and listening can actually be a welcome break from thinking about Baby all the time.

Don’t push it

Some people, especially people who don’t have or want kids, aren’t all that comfortable with infants. That doesn’t mean that they’ll never have a relationship with Baby, because he isn’t going to be a baby forever. Trying to force a relationship now won’t necessarily help the two of them out in forming a relationship later, and could actually hurt your relationships with these friends and family members. If you have friends or family members who are genuinely uncomfortable with infants, it’s generally better to try and respect that than it is to try and change their minds.

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