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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Etiquette Tips for Babies

A very good friend of mine is welcoming her third baby this winter and several friends have welcomed new babies into their families. I'm thrilled for them and I'm also thrilled to offer the one thing all new parents just love: advice. But this advice isn't for you Mommy and Daddy, it's for your New Arrival. 

As a new parent, we have access to numerous experts online, in books and magazines to help us navigate the needs of our newborn. But what help is available for new babies? How do they learn the proper behavior and etiquette for this wide, wonderful world? Here are a few tips on the basics of baby etiquette that will help in even the toughest social situation.

Interpersonal relations – Things like eye contact and personal space are two key aspects of interpersonal relationships. But what rules apply to babies? 

  • Let’s say you’re at a power lunch and your dining companions are boring you. Feel free to look away and completely ignore what they are saying. You can even fall asleep! If they still don’t get the hint, crying at the top of your lungs is a failsafe method to getting their butts out of their chairs and catering to your every need. 
  • The same rule applies to personal space: it's your way or the highway. If someone gets too close, you can swat, push, punch and squirm to get away. This is also encouraged if the person has bad breath, isn’t holding you correctly, or just isn’t Mommy or Daddy. Don’t worry; it’s not rude to scream really loud in this situation. Go with your instincts.

Mealtimes - There are numerous rules regarding polite dining, and one should eventually learn which one is the salad fork and how to operate the oyster tongs. But as a baby, your rules are slightly different. 

  • If a meal is taking too long to prepare, shouting, yelling and banging your hands on any surface are appropriate ways to communicate your displeasure. Intense wailing that turns your face fire engine red is a good way to ask, “Pardon me, but is it almost ready? I’m quite famished.”
  • During meals, don’t be too shy to pass gas, burp, urinate, or release your bowels as loud as humanly possible. Enjoy yourself, Baby! Relax! Don’t worry about the proximity of others to your rear end and just fire away. It’s a special compliment to the chef to belch after eating. 
  • Here’s a hint when you feel spit-up is imminent: smiling as the liquid mess dribbles down your chin and on to your new clothes is a sure way to avoid any embarrassment. Your hosts will laugh and may even join in the fun!

Here are a few other miscellaneous points of etiquette to keep in mind:

  • When others are talking, and it’s not about you, do your best to get their attention. Again, crying is a useful tool; don’t hesitate to reach for those higher decibels.
  • Grabbing at people is a fine way to remind others you are there. Go for mouths, hair and eyes. If a man is holding you and he just doesn’t seem to notice you, chest hair is your best target.
  • While not in vogue for most adults, urinating or pooping on others is generally ok for you, Baby. Again, follow this up with a charming smile, and if possible add a heart-melting “ah-goo” or giggle and you won’t have to worry about being burned in the society column of the newspaper. 

Baby etiquette isn't all that tricky. Honestly, behavior that would get other people locked up or at least permanently shunned is all the fashion for Babies in the Know.  Every family is different and you may have to ad-lib on a few occasions, but these tips should help make your social debut absolutely unforgettable!

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