Being a new mum can be a wonderful experience, but it can also be exhausting. From learning to care for a newborn to surviving on minimal sleep…it’s enough to stress anyone out. The last thing a new mum needs are insensitive comments that make them feel anxious and insecure. Here are five things you should never say to a new mum.
1. I hope you’re breastfeeding. It’s the best thing for your baby!
Out of all the silly comments you can make, this has to be the worst. Whether a new mum chooses to breastfeed or formula-feed is a personal choice. Sometimes mums can’t breastfeed because they don’t produce enough milk or for other medical/personal reasons. Sometimes they simply choose not to. Whatever the reason, it’s not for you to judge. All any new mum has to do is what’s right for her and her family. Then everyone will be happy.
“You’re doing a fabulous job. Your baby is lucky to have such a wonderful mum.” That’s it. Period. Be there to help and support your friend. That’s all you have to do.
2. When are you going to have another baby? I’m sure your baby would love a sibling.
Unless you want to be hit on the head with a dirty nappy, this is definitely a no-go zone. Most new mums are so sleep deprived and busy caring for their newborns that the last thing on their minds is when, or if, they’ll have another child. The only thing a new mum is thinking about is when she can get some sleep. New mums are far too busy worrying about how they’ll get through the day to think about tomorrow.
“I can only imagine how exhausted you must be. Just take it one step at a time. I’m always here to help if you need me.” This is all any new mum needs to hear.
3. You look exhausted! You should get some sleep.
It’s hard to imagine that anyone would be stupid enough to say this, but believe me, it does happen. A lot. As any new mum knows, sleepless nights are part of the deal. In fact, most new mums will experience enough sleepless nights to make them feel like they’ve been hit by a very large bus. The last thing they need is a well-meaning friend stating the obvious. I guarantee that most new mums are more than aware of how they look. They’re probably just too exhausted to care.
“You’re looking well” Find something to compliment her on. While she’ll probably disagree with you, it might be enough to boost her spirits. And that’s what a good friend should always do.
4. You’re on maternity leave? It must be nice to have a break.
Seriously! Don’t even think this, let alone say it. Having a baby may mean that some mums get time off work, but they definitely don’t stop working! Motherhood is one of the most physically and mentally demanding roles that a woman can take on. If you think that cleaning up someone else’s poo and spending the day covered in baby vomit sounds like a relaxing break, you’re wrong. At least when you’re working outside the home, you get to clock off when the job is done. Motherhood requires your attention 24/7. You can’t just clock off when you’ve had enough.
“I bet you’re working harder than ever before. If you need a break, I’m here” or “How about I bring you dinner. Which night is good for you?”
5. My little angel slept 12 hours last night.
Really? Who cares? Even if this is true, no new mum needs to hear it. Most newborns will require attention at some point during the night. They may need a feed, a nappy change, or even just a gentle reminder that you’re not far away. Whatever it is, the majority of new mums will need to attend to their newborns during the night.
On very rare occasions, some babies do sleep through the night from a young age but this is not the norm and nobody needs to hear about it. Telling a new mum how well your baby slept will only add to her anxiety.
“I remember feeling totally overwhelmed during this phase. What can I do to help?” or “Do you want me to look after the baby while you take a nap? I can pick up some groceries for you if you prefer.”
At the end of the day, all any new mum wants to know is that she has friends that she can count on. Friends who listen to her, support her, love her, and never, ever judge her. Do this and you’ll have a friend for life.