Whether you have a baby or do not have a baby, whether you used to have one, but the memories of that babytime are now nostalgic and fuzzy or whether you have a dog, cat or pet snake, here is my tip for the day. When…
a) someone comes into your shop with a baby, or…
b) a baby smiles at you in the checkout, or…
c) you see the parent of a relatively new baby or call them up…

Do them a favour. Don’t make any of your first questions, “Does he/she sleep through the night?” or “How’s the sleep going?” It is teeth grindingly irritating. If the sleeping sucks – and that may mean the baby wakes once or twice or eight times a night – the parent is then going to be reminded of their lack of sleep. If the sleeping is fine – and that may mean the baby wakes once or twice or eight times a night – then sleep is a non-issue.

Why not ask if the baby is happy? Surely that’s more important. Or ask how everything in general is going? For god’s sake, after asking the inevitable fucking sleep question, do not then say “Oh – my baby is blah months old and sleeps through all night” or “My daughter is 12 now, but slept right through from about three months!” or “She probably just needs more solid food during the day.” or “Do you still breastfeed? Ah, well then, she’s probably not getting enough.” or “Have you tried giving her a rollover feed/dreamfeed/bottle before bed?”

Because then you will make the sleep deprived parent feel like a complete loser – and yeah, a strong, confident rested person will either just lie and/or be resilient enough not to doubt themselves – but a sleep lacking person? It’s easy to knock them around, they’re a bit of a softer touch. Self doubt lurks sometimes behind the door of sleep deprivation, and it’s the last thing you need. Just in case you ever pondered the issue.