Things Not to Say to a New Mom

Pregnancy & Postpartum

New Mom


by Lindsey Metrus

Remember that first year after your first child was born? While your baby more than doubled in size, you endured sleepless nights, changed thousands of diapers and sang "Itsy Bitsy Spider" at least 20 times per day. It's a wonderful time—don't get us wrong—but it definitely comes with some challenges. 

Some people try and help new moms through the first year by dishing out advice. And while the intentions may be sweet, the words sometimes come out sour. So before you start doling out advice or sharing stories, do the new mom (and yourself) a favor and avoid these zingers:

"My baby slept through the night so early on." That's fantastic for you and your baby, and it must have been total bliss. To a mom who's been putting the cereal in the fridge and the milk in the pantry in her sleep-deprived state, this adds fuel to the fire.

"She looks nothing like you!" Really? The last thing a mom wants to hear is that her child, whom she gave birth to, doesn't resemble her whatsoever. It's truly not even a joking point, so avoid saying this at all costs, even if you believe it to be true.

"Are you going back to work soon?" This is such a sensitive subject, for several reasons. Many moms toy with idea of not going back to work at all. Or they feel some separation anxiety leading up to that first day back. Just avoid this subject altogether. 

"Oh, you're not breastfeeding?" Ah, the great breastfeeding debate. How a mom chooses to feed her baby is her business. You don't know the full story here, so just don't go there. 

"Let me try and help your baby stop crying." Saying this is like saying you know how to comfort the baby better than the mother does. You may as well say, "You're doing it wrong." Only step in when asked. 

"You look so tired." Just a friendly tip: Don't ever say this to a new mom—or anyone, for that matter. It's about the same as saying, "You look awful." No one wants to be told that.

"My baby never cried." Not only is that probably a lie, it's not helpful. If the mom asks for tips for managing crying, feel free to share some like, "Try bicycle legs to soothe a gassy tummy," or, "Maybe she'd like going in the swing."

"I could never have someone else raise my children." When a new mom returns to work, she will need someone at home to care for her baby. That's all there is to it. If a mom isn't in a financial position to stay home with her baby (or she wants to return to her job), this shouldn't be frowned upon. Just support her choice. 

"How much weight did you gain when you were pregnant?" Nope. No. Never. Unless that info is offered up, you don't need to know. 

"When are you planning to have another?" Let her get through this adjustment before giving her something else to worry about. She just had a baby. 

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