A new mom has plenty to worry about: feeding the baby round the clock, dealing with a huge pile of diapers, and recovering after delivery. It’s enough to stress anyone out. On top of all that, she shouldn’t have to worry about what friends and family are going to say about her baby and postpartum body. Some of us try to help the mom by dishing out advice. While our intentions might be sweet, our words might come out sour. So, next time you go visit a new mother then keep in mind a few things you should never say to a new mom.
So what not to say to a new mom?
A new mom has so many emotions running through her, and one doesn’t know what mood she will be in. So, before we start giving her advice on how she should be raising her baby or begin questioning her parenting skills, we should keep in mind a few pointers. We asked a few mothers what comments annoyed or infuriated them the most and made it into a list. This can be shared with those who need a reminder of things to never say to a new mom.
1. You still look pregnant!
Well, no Kidding! After growing a baby for 9 months, things just don’t shrink back to normal in a matter of a few days-It takes time.
Mokshada, a mom of two, says “My husband’s friend said that to me and I just wanted to punch him in the face. I just had a baby, give me a break”
2. Are you on maternity leave? It must feel so good to be on a break!
It is not a break! Of course, it is an amazing and exciting time but a mom spends most of her time recovering from a C-Section or some other stitches.
Pallavi, a mother to a little boy, says “I would actually laugh whenever someone said that to me. I mean common now moms, we all know being stuck in a house with a little baby with loads of chores and no time to shower or eat is not a gala time !”
3. Don’t you feel bad going back to work? I’d be nervous leaving her with a stranger!
Which parent doesn’t? Every mother knows what is best for her child. Going back to work after maternity leave is not an easy task. From choosing childcare, coordinating schedules with their partner, a plan for pumping breast milk and 100 other things, a mother has to prepare emotionally as well. Both parents take a lot of time to find that trusted partner with whom they will be leaving their child. Asking such questions will only diminish her self-confidence in raising her kids and not allow her to focus on work.
Janki, a mother of three, says” When I decided to go back to work after my 2nd child, everyone around me asked if my career more important than my family? or How could I let someone else raise my children? Who cooked for my kids?. They had no idea how I was managing both tasks.”
4. You’re not formula feeding, are you?
Well, let the mother and the child’s pediatrician worry about what’s best for him. There’s no need to advise or judge a mother on the feeding methods she chooses for her child. Breastmilk is the best for a baby, but some moms struggle with breast-feeding.
Reshmi, mom of 4, says “My friend’s husband started advising me on my decision of formula-feeding and how all their kids were breastfed and grew up healthy. I just looked at him and said ‘Dear, No breast No opinion. Period.'”
5. Do you enjoy breastfeeding?
All that matters to a mother is that her baby is getting fed properly and is healthy. A happy baby equals a happy mother.
Nikita, a mother to a 3-month-old, says “A colleague of mine asked me this once, and I was like ‘No, just no. You cannot ask anyone that.’”
6. Oh dear, you look tired!
Yes, she does. That is because she is tired. Spending sleepless nights and feeding the baby can be tiring for a new mother who is still recuperating post-pregnancy. She has noticed the recent eye bags and dark circles she’s been getting. So, there’s no need for us to point that out and make her feel self-conscious.
Sakshi, a mother to two boys, tells us that she got so annoyed with people telling her how tired she looked, that she decided to let people know that. To anyone who says she looks tired, she says, “Well, try sleeping with a crying baby and then getting up early the next day to get the elder kid ready for school on time. Repeat this every day and see whether you get tired or not. ”
7. Are you sure you want to have that glass of wine?
No, of course, she is not sure. She is probably not sure of anything these days. Like everyone, she knows breastfeeding moms need to be cautious of drinking but that doesn’t mean she can’t enjoy a glass of wine. She has read the same facts as us and is completely aware of the do’s and don’ts of motherhood. A mother knows what’s best for her child, so let her enjoy that glass of wine.
“Whatever goes inside you, goes to your baby. You do know this right?” Pooja, mom to a 3-year old, recalls her friends, relatives telling her time and again.
8. You should start exercising!
Maybe she will, maybe she won’t or maybe she hasn’t thought about it yet. A new mom is exhausted and sore and probably doesn’t want to be told off for her weight in any way. Every mother goes through a different postpartum experience both physically and mentally so it can be a sensitive topic for her. So, we should just refrain from commenting on a mom’s weight before and after birth.
Rimmi recalls her most shocking moment when someone asked her when she was due, while she was holding her two-month-old son.” I was embarrassed and didn’t know what to say. Then my husband and in-laws said it was probably because I hadn’t started exercising yet. That was really hard to hear. ”
9. He/she doesn’t look like you at all!
It seems harmless and funny, isn’t it? But a new mom is going through a turmoil of emotions and hormonal changes. So we must remember this too falls under the category of things we should never say to a new mom.
Ravina says ” 10 people have said that to me in the past 1 month..do you want me to cry? Do you seriously want me to cry! I was there during both painful labors and I get no credit for having them because they look like their dad !”
So, when in doubt, just go with complimenting the new mother on doing a wonderful job and being a wonderful mother.