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Welcoming Babies with Down Syndrome

When you learn that someone you know has had a baby with Down syndrome – or is expecting a baby with Down syndrome – it can be difficult to know what exactly to say or do.

To help navigate the dos and don’ts of welcoming a new a child with Down syndrome, and as a follow-up to last year’s Down Syndrome Answers campaign, we found the most-Googled questions friends and families of people with Down syndrome have and once again had the real experts – people with Down syndrome – answer those questions.

What do you say to parents who have a baby with Down syndrome?
When you learn that someone you know has had a baby with Down syndrome – or is expecting a baby with Down syndrome – it can be difficult to know what exactly to say or do.

Anything but sorry! Remember, this is a time to celebrate. So pop champagne, smoke cigars, bring balloons, and shake hands.

What you should say:

Congratulations! Every new baby deserves to be celebrated. So go ahead, make a fuss and share your excitement like you would for any new birth!

All the questions you’d ask any new parent. Are they sleeping? How much did they weigh? Who do they look like?

You’ll be great parents. Let them know that this journey may get challenging, but their baby is lucky to have them as parents. Reassurance means a lot.

Something as opposed to nothing at all. New parents may be going through a roller coaster of emotions, so hearing from friends and family makes a difference. Don’t be afraid to reach out and send your well wishes.

What to avoid saying:

I’m sorry. The birth of a new baby is something to celebrate, not mourn. Steer clear of condolences or pity, and offer parents excitement and positivity instead.

They’re all angels. People with Down syndrome are just like you and I, with a full range of emotions. So avoid referencing stereotypes that aren’t true.

You’re a saint. If a new parent is a saint, it can imply their baby is a huge burden. So avoid any comments that suggest such a thing.

What do you buy a baby with Down syndrome?
When you learn that someone you know has had a baby with Down syndrome – or is expecting a baby with Down syndrome – it can be difficult to know what exactly to say or do.

Buy a new baby with Down syndrome exactly what you would buy for any other new baby. Congratulations cards, balloons, flowers, cute outfits.

In fact, the CDSS has designed our very own congratulations cards to welcome new babies – a part of our Anything But Sorry program that is ensuring every new baby with Down syndrome is met with a warm welcome.

What toys do you buy for a baby with Down syndrome?
When you learn that someone you know has had a baby with Down syndrome – or is expecting a baby with Down syndrome – it can be difficult to know what exactly to say or do.

The elements that make a toy great for children – lights, colours, music, and sounds – make a toy great for a baby or child with Down syndrome.

Be sure to look at the age requirements and development goals of the toy, as this is a useful guide to buy the right for any child, including those with Down syndrome.

Do babies with Down syndrome look like their parents?
When you learn that someone you know has had a baby with Down syndrome – or is expecting a baby with Down syndrome – it can be difficult to know what exactly to say or do.

Absolutely. Just like any child, a baby with Down syndrome will inherit his or her parents’ physical and personality traits. While babies with Down syndrome have distinct characteristics – like almond-shaped eyes and a slightly flatter nose – they can also share the same eyes colour, hair colour, smile, laugh, freckles as their family – and so much more. In fact, babies with Down syndrome look more like their family member than they resemble one another.

How do you tell people that your baby has Down syndrome?
When you learn that your baby has Down syndrome, it can be difficult to know exactly how to tell your friends and family.

How do you tell people that your baby has Down syndrome?

How you’d tell anyone big news. You can get on the phone, post it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, fax it, even send a singing telegram. Tell them anyway you want. Just make sure you’re postivie – it’s time to celebrate!