Q: Your neighbors have a newborn whose crying keeps you up. What do you say to the parents?
A: Unless you are a trained baby nurse who can teach these parents how to console their little one with expert advice on diaper changes, feeding and swaddling, you may have to grin and bear it.
Most first-time parents are like deer in the headlights when dealing with a newborn. They may not have the faintest idea how to stop their baby from crying. They’re exhausted, overwhelmed and trying to catch a wink of sleep, just like you.
Instead of stewing, plug in your headphones and put on some soothing music to block out the noise. Another suggestion is to use the whir of an electric fan to create so-called “white noise.” When you see your neighbors, rather than list your complaints, offer to lend a hand. Make a homemade meal, inquire if you can babysit so they can sneak away for a quick bite out or ask if you can take the baby for a stroll during the day.
These kind gestures can endear you to the family and create good will that will last long after this crying stage has passed.
Lisa Gache, founder and CEO of Beverly Hills Manners
A: In the midst of confrontation, understanding and levity might be the change-makers here. Say something like, “I understand you’ve got a new addition to the family. Congratulations! I know a new baby can be so stressful, and I hate to add to your burden, but we are early risers, and the crying keeps us up at night. What can we do about this?”
If the parents offer nothing, I suggest trying what a client of mine used with her neighbors. She asked if there was another bedroom farther from her house that they could move the baby into. “I really value you as neighbors, and I truly don’t want this to escalate,” is how she put it.
When her neighbors made the move, my client delivered cookies for them and a stuffed animal for the baby.
JOHN DUFFY, parenting and relationship expert