That first year of motherhood is tough, and new moms needs all the support they can get. So it certainly doesn’t help when some idiot (well-intentioned or just plain idiot) comes along and says something to make those new moms feel like crap.
Whether your name is Not a Mom, Old Mom, or Just Plain Idiot, please take note of the following things you should never say to New Mom.
1. “You look exhausted.” When did that ever become an appropriate sentence to say to someone, New Mom or not? People say it all the time, but has anyone on the receiving end ever felt anything but insulted by it? And how the heck is New Mom supposed to respond to it?
“Uhh, thank you?”
“That’s funny. I’ve never felt more rested in my life. This two hour sleep schedule the baby has me on is doing wonders for my energy levels.”
“Thanks for pointing that out. Come closer so I can stab you with this nasal aspirator.”
Instead say, “You look great.” Period. Stop right there. Don’t add anything like, “for someone who just had a baby” or “but you look like you could use some sleep”. Just stop at “You look great.” Outwardly, she’ll deny it, but inwardly, she’ll glow.
2. “You’re not formula-feeding, are you?!” “Formula-feeding” could be replaced by any number of things, such as “breastfeeding”, “letting her use a pacifier”, “circumcising”, “not circumcising”, etc. The point is, if you’re asking a judgy question because you think New Mom should do something differently, just shut your pie hole.
There are three things that are true about 99% of moms, new and old: We love our children to death, we’re doing the best we can for them, and we second guess everything we do. So New Mom certainly doesn’t need you adding to her self-doubt.
Instead say, “You’re doing a great job taking care of that baby.” Because the truth is, she is doing a great job, regardless of whether she Ferberized the kid or not.
3. “My son rolled over at two months.” Old Mom, this one’s for you. The above could be replaced with a million other statements: “Walked at eight months.” “Talked in full sentences by one and a half.” “Could recite the entire Constitution by the time he was three.” If New Mom just came to you with a concern about her baby, this is not the time to brag about your own kid and make her feel like crap in the process.
Instead say, “Every child develops at her own pace.” And it would be okay at this point to mention that your kid didn’t walk until well after her first birthday.
4. “She’ll never blah blah blah if you keep blah blah blah.” Have you ever met a ten year old who didn’t learn to talk because he used a pacifier? Have you ever met a high school student who still wore diapers? Have you ever met a college age girl who still needed to sleep in the same bed as her parents? Trying to scare New Mom is mean, stupid, and a big fat lie.
Instead say, “Every family does things differently. If it works for you, then that’s awesome.”
5. I didn’t know you were expecting again! Unless New Mom just told you she’s pregnant, never ever ever (ever) say this to her. No good can come of it. It doesn’t matter if she had the baby this afternoon or eleven months ago. Never assume she is expecting again. You know what they say about assuming.
Instead say… you know what? Sometimes silence is golden. This is one of those times.
Related post: The 7 Stupidest Questions I’ve Heard About My Baby