10 Things You Should Never Say to a New Mom
New moms are living in a state of complete uncertainty – the world as they know it has been thrown into chaos and despite all the classes they took and books they read, there is no way to really prepare someone for motherhood. So, during this delicate time when a new mom is trying to find balance in her life while surviving on no sleep and with a new baby literally sucking the life out of her, friends and family should be extra supportive and offer to help any way they can. Unfortunately, more often than not, people tend to do the opposite and offer unsolicited advice or ask inappropriate questions. Coming from a Taiwanese family where people are super honest and blunt with their thoughts, I have definitely heard my share of unwelcome comments. So, whether you are a mom of three with tons of experience or not even a mom, please take care to not say these 10 things to a new mom.
“Sleep when the baby sleeps.”
Great, I will, while I sleep, will you be washing the dishes, doing the laundry, and vacuuming the carpet? Oh, and when I wake up will there magically be dinner for the whole family? No? Well then, I guess I WON’T be sleeping when the baby sleeps because there are way too many things to accomplish with nobody to do them.
“You look tired.”
Really? I thought I looked fabulous with large, dark circles under my eyes and lackluster skin tone. With a newborn who wakes up every 2 hours to breastfeed and wants to be held all the time, what new moms aren’t tired? So, thanks for stating the obvious and wasting 5 seconds of my precious time that could have been used for sleeping so I don’t look so tired.
“Are you happy you have a boy/a girl?
Just…why? Why would you ask this question? You realize we can’t exactly return the baby and exchange for another one with a different gender? Let me tell you, after housing the baby for 38 weeks in my belly and reading about everything that could go wrong, I was happy as a clam just to hold a healthy baby in my arms.
“Is your baby sleeping through the night?”
I love how people usually ask this question right after saying “you look tired.” What, you think I am partying it up all night long while my baby sleeps soundly through the night? Oh, your baby is sleeping through the night? If I were not so exhausted, I would probably chase you down and punch you in the eye.
“My baby never cried.”
Well, isn’t that just fantastic for you that you happened to give birth to a happy-go-lucky baby and I gave birth to a hell spawn. My son was a world class crier. Within hours of his birth, the nurses at the hospital unanimously concurred that they had never heard a newborn cry so loud and for so long. They had to repeat many of the newborn tests multiple times because he was crying too hard to get an accurate reading. When my father-in-law visited when my son was about 6 months old, he recommended that I take him to different doctors until we figure out why he was crying so much…not knowing that I had already taken him to about a dozen medical experts with no results. And guess what? Now he is a happy toddler who apparently just needed to grow out of a horrible phase. So, I hope your happy little baby who never cried is a terrible toddler now who cries over every little thing. No just kidding, I would never wish that on anyone.
“Are you breastfeeding?”
I am a huge proponent of breastfeeding, but I understand that it’s a personal choice and, sometimes, despite some moms’ best efforts, breastfeeding may not always be possible. What is important is that the baby is getting all the nutrients that he/she needs, no matter the source. After attending various breastfeeding support groups, I really have come to appreciate my breastfeeding journey, because some moms went to hell and back to try and breastfeed their babies without success. So, unless you see a mom taking out her boob to nurse her baby (in which case, the answer to this question is kind of a ‘duh’), let’s leave this potentially sensitive topic alone.
“When are you planning to have the next baby?”
I just endured hours of pain, my vagina looks like it has been through World War 3, and I have a baby attached to me pretty much at all times, so sex is not exactly at the top of my list. And you know how the bees need to bring the pollen from a male flower to the female flower for fertilization to happen? Well, there are definitely no bees buzzing around here at this time. So, let’s just table the “next baby” talk for a while, shall we?
“After I gave birth the weight just melted off me!”
Oh goody, look at skinny little you who could fit into your pre-pregnancy pants within weeks of delivery. Now get out of my sight so I don’t feel so bad about wearing my maternity pants over my still pregnant looking belly. Some of us don’t have the super fat-burning genes that some others are gifted with – we actually need to work hard to lose weight. And since running on the treadmill while nursing a newborn is not an option, I guess nothing will be melting off me for a while.
“How can you leave your baby and go back to work?”
I don’t know, how can I? It’s hard enough to leave my baby with anyone, even someone I trust, because that someone is not me. I am the mom and I am supposed to be with my baby, and there is nothing that could lift the overwhelming guilt looming over my head all day at work. So, stop rubbing salt in the already painful wound and leave me alone.
“Are you sure your baby is getting enough milk?”
Breastfeeding is wonderful, but breastfeeding is stressful. For the first few months, all the baby depends on for food is your breastmilk, and unless you are pumping and feeding the baby from a bottle, there is really no telling how much milk your baby is actually getting. However, as long as your baby’s weight is going up, then keep on nursing and ignore negative people putting doubts in your head about breastfeeding. You are doing great, mama!