We all know that a new mom* has many things going on. She’s hormonal, sleep deprived, questioning her ability as a mother, breastfeeding (or trying to), did I mention she has no sleep? Everyone means well, and sometimes we don’t quite know what to say and the wrong thing comes out. Before you utter another word, try to replace any of the following with “You’re doing a great job!” (Yes, all of these have been said to me.)
1. Are you going to have more babies?
Let the woman have a break!! She just had a baby. It doesn’t matter if this is number 1 or number 4, do not ask if she is having more kids. It’s possible that she had a tough time conceiving and this will open wounds you don’t know about. Maybe around the 1 year mark, IF you are good friends. Do not ask a random mother in the grocery store. Appropriate Variant: There is nothing appropriate about asking a new mom if she is going to have more babies.
2. Are you going to try for a girl/boy?
Maybe the mom is happy to have all girls or all boys? Maybe it’s none of your business? Maybe they did try for a girl/boy and got the opposite and she is dealing with the emotional baggage that comes with that. Appropriate variant: nothing! Don’t ever ask if mom is going to “try” to have the opposite sex baby.
3. My child didn’t sleep for a whole year!
New moms don’t want to hear that!!! She wants to know that there’s hope, that she will sleep longer than 2 hours at a time, that she won’t feel like a zombie every day. Give the woman some hope! Appropriate variant: How is your sleep? Are you able to nap when the baby does? or listen to her story and then say “My baby did the same thing.”
4. Want to come over to my house for tea?
This is very well meaning. After all, moms need support, friends, and company, but…. The appropriate variant is: I’ll bring lunch over and we’ll go for a short walk around your house! Would you like me to come over and hold your baby while you have a shower? Offer to go to her. Sometimes, the thought of going out with a baby (and other kids if it’s not her first) is overwhelming in itself.
5. Your baby is so big! Your baby is so small!
Be careful with this one because the baby might have had medical problems, may have been in the NICU for a while, or the parents might have her on a strict food schedule due to weight. Alternatively, the baby might be quite large because of other medical issues, and the parents might be sensitive to that. Appropriate Variant: Your baby is so cute!
6. You have such a good baby!
You have no idea if that baby was up all night, or was crying the whole way in the car to her destination. Babies have a knack for knowing when they should be angelic and when no one is around to cry their faces off. Appropriate variant: He looks so sweet when he’s sleeping/laughing/smiling.
7. Now you have the perfect family!
What was the family before? Appropriate Variant: What a perfect addition to your family!
.Appropriate Variant for all: You look amazing and you’re a wonderful mom!
What have you been told where you looked at the person dumbfounded and unsure of what to say? Let me know in the comments!
*New mom in this article is used to signify any woman who just had a baby. It doesn’t matter if it was her 1st baby or her 5th baby. She is still a mom of a newborn.