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What to Do When You Meet an Unattractive Baby

iStockphoto(NEW YORK) -- What do you do when you meet a baby you regard as funny-looking, or even “ugly”? You might lie and say the child is adorable, or you might simply smile and say nothing at all.

But what if you’re expected to give a glowing assessment? Or worse, what if your expression has already betrayed your true feelings?

Enter Mary Fischer, a writer for the website CafeMom who addressed the issue in her article “8 Things to Tell New Parents if You Think Their Baby Is Ugly.”

Among Fischer’s tips for handling such a sensitive situation? Say you’re speechless. That way, you won’t have to say anything negative. She also suggested people say “Oh, my God,” over and over again.

“Odds are good mom and dad will join in with, ‘I know. Isn’t he amazing?’ -- at which point you can just nod your head in agreement and call it a day,” she wrote.

Published Monday on CafeMom’s The Stir, the article stirred up strong reaction.

Fischer, 35, told in a Thursday interview that the post was meant to be lighthearted. She got the idea after reading a poll that found 20 percent of new parents thought their baby was ugly but wouldn’t admit it to anyone besides their partners, she said.

“And, you know, my first reaction was, ‘Oh, my gosh, you know, that’s horrible. Nobody’s baby is ugly,’ but then I sort of got what they were saying, because sometimes, you know, babies look a little awkward at first and they kind of take a little while to grow into their cuteness,” she said.

She added that she has seen a couple of babies’ pictures on Facebook and thought “eww. You know, just, kind of that initial reaction.”

She remembered a Seinfeld episode that dealt with the same subject, and said she thought it could be funny to think about some people’s unguarded reactions and how to “dig yourself out of them.”

Fisher, who has a 7-year-old son who she says was “adorable” as a child, offered other tips. She suggested that people hide their eyes, but insist they’re only trying to play peek-a-boo with the baby. Also, if someone cries uncontrollably, the baby’s parents will assume the tears were prompted by the baby’s beauty, she added.

Some of her readers weren’t amused.

“That’s so mean. I hope your babies are ugly and people laugh at you,” one commenter wrote, while another added “Never. I have never seen a baby who was ugly. God does not make mistakes in his artwork. There is always something wonderful about each child.”

But many others shared their own tips for dealing with a homely baby.

“I simply say congrats!!” one commenter wrote.

Another said she would confine her comments to one nice feature -- the baby’s hair, or chubby cheeks, for example. “Even the ugliest babies have at least one feature you can safely comment on,” she wrote.

Another added: “I simply sigh and say, precious. Regardless of looks, all babies are precious! :)”

Yet another offered this tip: “My aunt always uses breathtaking to describe an ugly baby. I always thought that was kind of funny.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio