Mum's the word when it comes to baby news

woman facebook baby
woman facebook baby 

Remember when people would find out that your bundle of joy had arrived by reading the birth notices in a newspaper? Thanks to social media, not to mention group text messaging, those quaint days are long gone.

But that doesn't mean anyone with access to a smart phone should think it's their duty to share someone else's baby news on social media the second a private message announcing the arrival hits their inbox. 

"People should be happy that they were among the nearest and dearest to the couple who received the news first, but they need to realise it is not their story to share,'' says etiquette consultant Anna Musson.

New parents who have had their social media thunder stolen when their child arrived will now doubt wholeheartedly agree.

A friend told me how she spent the morning after her son's birth apologising to family members who found out about the arrival via social media, after a friend heard the news and posted a congratulatory message on the new mum's Facebook page.

"We sent a text to our closest friends and family, but we didn't expect they would jump on Facebook straight away before we had a chance to call family overseas,'' the disappointed mum said.

"She revealed the gender, weight, name and everything in the post. There was nothing left for us to reveal!"

Another woman remembers her mother announcing to all her Facebook friends that her daughter was on the way to hospital to be induced with baby number two. Needless to say the mum-to-be didn't appreciate all the phone calls from excited aunties and uncles wishing her good luck just as the midwife was preparing to break her waters.

Meanwhile, a midwife who is a member of the Essential Baby forum says she often sees new dads on social media patrol while still in hospital. "I see lots of new dads on mobile phones talking to well meaning friends and family saying 'take it down!'" she said.  

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Ms Musson, who runs courses at Sydney-based Good Manners Company, says the problem arises because in these days of instant information, people feel the need to show they have the latest information.

"We are in a rush to show we are on the cutting edge and up to date with the latest news,'' she says. "People forget there are lots of reasons why the new parents haven't shared their news of Facebook yet and they should think before they post."

According to Ms Musson, couples who want to make sure they get to announce the arrival of their bouncing bundle of joy in the way they choose should plan ahead.

"If you are going to send a text to your family and closest friends when your baby arrives, you should include a request to keep it 'hush hush' until you announce it yourself on social media," she says.

"Explain that you understand they are excited for you, but that you would like the opportunity to share that excitement yourselves."

Another suggestion is to disable commenting on your Facebook page, so others won't be able to publicly congratulate you and give the news away that way. 

Either that or you could tell them that the first person to announce your child's birth on social media will be responsible for supplying nappies for the first year of the child's life ... at least that way if anyone does steal your thunder, they will also be saving you money!

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