Remember that first year when your child was born? While your baby doubled in height and tripled in weight, you encountered sleepless nights. While you changed hundreds of diapers and sang ‘Johnny Johnny Yes Papa’ 25 times a day, your baby slept in your arms giving you the ultimate pleasure and joy. It’s a wonderful feeling, no doubt, but comes with its own challenges and hurdles.
Motherhood to a new mum is a roller-coaster of a journey filled with emotions; a difficult journey to most of them when they are bombarded with unsolicited advice and tips.
Though family and friends try to exhibit earnest intentions, at times the words might not be appropriate for that moment. So before you start sharing your advice, please be careful to not use these phrases in your conversation with a new mom.
1) “She doesn’t really look like you. Does she?”
Just imagine anybody saying this to you, it’s heartbreaking. The new mom struggles to bring her child into this world, and this is the last thing she would like to hear from anybody. Instead, tell them what they would love to hear, that their baby is the cutest in the world.
2) Sleep when the baby sleeps
This is one of the most intriguing advice that could be given to a new mom. It is practically impossible to follow this, as there are scores of unfinished work that have to be completed before the baby’s nap is over. Or the new mom could also have another kid to attend to, which makes it highly difficult for her to squeeze in time for a nap. The best thing you could do is to offer help with her household chores or taking her older one out for a walk so that she can stretch her legs a bit.
3) Why is your baby crying out so loud all the time?
Well…as a matter of fact, babies do cry. Some non-stop, but not without a reason. Babies cry for different reasons, due to acid reflux, being colicky, too sleepy or hungry, and stomach or ear pain among other things. But to pass such a remark to a new mom might make her feel desperate and helpless, or might even make her feel that she is miserably failing as a new mom. It would be wiser for you to comfort her by sharing your own experiences, or by offering to sit through the noon with the infant so that the mother gets a much-needed breather to recoup for another tough day.
4) When are you joining work? Or will you be a Stay-At-Home Mom?
This is one question which haunts every new mom. Giving birth to a baby is a challenge in itself, she definitely deserves to spend exclusive work-free time with her baby. Whether she chooses to join work early or takes a long break, it is her personal choice. Or she might opt not to join work at all and prefer to be a full-time mother. Some moms find it difficult to leave their child under other’s care. Well,…that is her personal decision. Nobody has a right to judge her decision.
5) Are you breastfeeding your baby?
That is kind of private, right? It is totally a personal decision of the mother and also depends on whether her body is able to produce sufficient amount of milk. New moms are very well aware of the benefits of breastfeeding, but situations are not the same with all the new moms. Some might have lactation problems, or medical issues, work pressure or some other reasons which we really should not be interfering with. Breastfeeding is compulsory for the first 6 months. While some moms discontinue before that, there are others who might even continue longer than that. New moms might feel a little awkward to talk about such sensitive issues. Mothers know the best!
6) “Is it a boy or a girl?”
This is one of the most awkward questions that a new mom could ever face. It makes her scream that her baby is not “it”, but a boy/girl. When did babies become “things”? Especially when the baby is decked with a red romper, or a Mickey Mouse character onesie with a matching cap, mittens, and booties. The best way to know the gender would be to ask the mother in such a way that is not offending or mocking. Like it could be, “How is the baby doing?”, then the mom would reply, “she is doing great, except that she sleeps very less,” or something like that. This will save you and the new mom from embarrassment and awkwardness.
7) Does your husband or your in-laws help you in taking care of the little one?
A new mommy is already struggling with diaper changes, sleepless nights, figuring out why her baby is crying, trying to tidy up the house, things that may seem undoable many a times. We don’t even have a clue as to what hardships the mother has gone while conceiving, or while giving birth. What can you possibly do if she is managing it all by herself? Questions like these only irate and depress her even more, making her feel that she is battling this all by herself. With growing nuclear families and commitment to work at the office, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the family to support them throughout the day.
8) My baby slept through the night when she was 5 weeks old
Not all babies are the same. Some might take a little longer to adjust to the schedule, while some moms might not have to struggle much. It is just a matter of time. As if there were less things to feel miserable about, remarks like these diminish their confidence levels and may make them feel unlucky to have given birth to a baby so demanding and energy-draining. You can advise her to check if the baby has ear pain, or if the baby is well fed or not. This will help her to stay calm and composed.
9) The worse is yet to come
We all know that phase of life where toddlers keep crawling and picking crappy stuff from the floor and putting them straight into their mouth! Or the curious minds who like to explore things and jamming their cute little fingers while closing the drawers. The new mother is already in a glass of emotions, where the new parents and the baby are slowly trying to settle down and feel comfortable with each other. They are hoping to see better times very soon. As the baby grows, the bond of love and attachment also grows. The parents are always in anticipation of good times ahead! So telling them such discouraging things is not going to do them any good. So, let us just refrain from saying such things.
10) Weight-y issues!
Every new mom has curves and bumps, and yes, probably a higher number on the weighing scale. Bragging to an exhausted new mom about how you lost your post baby weight 6 weeks after your delivery will definitely make her feel terrible and depressed than ever before. Everybody is unique, and stories about your incredible shrinking waist will only make the other new moms feel sick and awful. The only help you can offer is to not talk about it at all.
Also, a lot of people brag about how quickly their child’s weight tripled in just less than a year, while some struggle to double in the same time. Each child is different. And so are their metabolic rates and eating preferences. Some may refuse to eat anything solid, while others may take an hour to finish a bowl of soup. Don’t be judgmental. Every doting mommy makes immense efforts in nurturing her little one.
We bet you can relate to at least some of the above pointers. Would love to hear about the most annoying things you heard as a new parent or your own advice to all those family and friends of new mommies who will soon be visiting to bless the little munchkin!