7 Things NOT To Say To A New Mom

0IHHGNXUCHWe 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.

My own birth story

Baby TylerWhen we found out we were expecting another baby, we were so excited! Our third boy! Below is my birth story, as remembered by me.

While being 39 weeks pregnant, I won tickets for my son’s hockey team to attend the Canucks’ Heritage Classic game on March 2. This was a big deal! The boys hadn’t been to a Canuck’s game in a few years, and what a bigger event than the Heritage Classic?! It was all set that Gary (my husband) would take the boys over and I would stay home and not have a baby.

Fast forward to 1am on March 2, when my water breaks. Right, no heritage classic after all. I called my wonderful midwife who came over to administer my antibiotics – because I was GBS+. I went back to sleep with tiny twinges. At 5am, we woke up to the alarm to take the boys over to Vancouver. I convinced Gary that he should still go, and things may not get started soon anyway. Previously, my water had broken with both boys and both times took 8+ hours to begin labour. Gary left at 5:30 to pick up another player on his way to the ferry. Contractions began as they left at 5:30am (of course they did). At 6:30 when Gary arrived at the ferry, he called and let me know that he was going to send the boys over on the ferry with the team, and his mom would meet them on the other end to take them to the game, and he would come home. He got back to the house around 7am.

While he was gone, contractions were coming every minute-minute and a half. They were about 45-60 seconds long. I was managing pretty well on my own. I kept doulaing myself through the whole thing! Relax the shoulders, bend the knees, use gravity, drink water. We called Michele back at 7:30 to come back to the house as things were picking up rapidly. Gary was being helpful making sure everything was in order, and pushing on the right spot on my back during contractions. Michele arrived close to 8am, did a quick check and happily said I was 7cm dilated! (If she said 3cm I was going to FREAK OUT!) Contractions kept coming every minute with not much rest in between. They were hard and fast. I kept repeating out loud, as I was bending my knees rhythmically, “I’m ok, I’m ok, I’m ok”. 20 minutes later, we checked again and I was almost 10cm dilated with a little cervical lip left. I knew that the only way to get the lip out of the way was to completely relax my body and ride the contraction. I relaxed and went to a place I’d never been before. I was calm, I was rested, I was riding the wave. Then for the last half of the contraction, I lost it! I needed to move, and I needed to do it now. The lip was gone, and I could start pushing my baby boy out!

His head was way down already, and he was easily seen. After several pushes, he was almost out! The second midwife, Joanne, arrived as the ears were coming out. A casual “Hey! I’m having a baby, come join the party!” from me, and a few more pushes and his head came out! I remember thinking, just get the head out and then everything else will be easy! Right, I forgot about the shoulders! Once the shoulders were out, I was holding my squishy new baby. 9lbs 13oz of pure love was born at 8:33am at home – only 3 hours after contractions began. His head was said to be that of a 6 week old baby, and not one tear for me. Yay perineum!

Being my own doula has really shown me how if you can relax, give in to the process, and embrace labour, miracles can happen exactly as you intend for them to. There is a difference between pain and suffering, hence my mantra “I’m ok”. I was in pain with the contractions, but I knew that I was ok. Pain is just a side effect to receiving an amazing gift, and it was all worth it. (again)IMG_2469

One of the first things I said to my husband was “You can still make it to the game!” To his credit, he didn’t go. 😉



*Each of my births have been completely different. The first one was a natural hospital birth 13 hours. The second one was an induction in hospital with an epidural, 6 hours after contractions began baby was born. This time was a natural home birth, 3 hours. Each one happened perfectly for the time I was in and for what I needed. I wouldn’t change any of them.

The “Real” Hospital Bag

When I was pregnant, I was getting ready to pack my hospital bag and looking at all the crazy lists they had online, listening to all the advice from people (who didn’t have kids), and watching all the looks my husband was giving me (are you bringing that???). I’ve now compiled a REAL list of things you will ACTUALLY use.  Let us all know what you packed that you loved or hated for your labour experience.

For the baby

  • 2 outfits. (one for a girl and one for a boy, or if you know, 2 so that you can pick) I recommend a sleeper. If you are having a c-section, you may want to pack 3 or 4 sleepers depending on how many days you will be in the hospital with the baby.
  • Car seat (base already installed into the car and checked by a certified car seat installation specialist. You can have this done weeks before at a fire station or a hospital. Ask your hospital where you can have this checked. This is very important to do to keep your child safe)
  • A stuffed animal or blanket you got especially for this moment. You want to be the first one to give your child a present? Bring it with you!

Wow, what a short list for a baby. really? that’s it? Yes. That is it. The hospital will have everything else you need. Diapers, wash cloths, even a little hat for them to wear outside. They have babies everyday in the hospital, they are prepared. I took a few diapers into my take home bag to make sure, and I even took the pads for the heavy bleeding. (I do recommend an extra blanket if you are having a winter baby)

For you

Make sure you bring your birth plan if you have one or make decisions about what you want during the birth of your child. It won’t happen as you imagined it, but if you set out some guidelines they will help you balance the labour process and avoid any confrontation with doctors. Try to talk to your birthing coach, doula, or prenatal instructor, about this.

  • If you are being induced or having a c-section and will have to wait around:
    • cards, or something else to pass the time. this sounds dumb, but we actually used ours for 5 hours while the Oxytocin was working through my veins
    • Snacks for hubby or birthing partner – they get hungry, you are not allowed to eat
  • Comfortable PJ’s for after the baby is born. Many many lists say a night gown with buttons, but I found those super ugly and expensive, seriously I’m not going to wear it again! I opted for comfy pants and I wore the hospital gown backwards (opening side to the front instead of to the back) so that I could breast feed.
  • Something to drink. You can’t eat, but they let me drink. I had Emergen-C with me in the hospital which we just mixed with water. It has tons of vitamins and is super good for you, so if you’ve been in labour for a while this is a great pick me up. As long as the hospital lets you drink, this is your friend. Much less sugar than Gatorade and they are like $0.99 per package. However, I can never drink them again because they remind me of labour, but it worked at the time.
  • Note book/Notepad and Pen to record baby’s time, weight, height, etc. I recommend this. You will remember it forever, but if you are hopped up on Fentanol or an Epidural, you may not remember in the moment. This is also a good place to put a list of people to call with phone numbers.
  • Camera with fresh battery and an empty memory card. Nuff said.
  • Music. Find out if your hospital will have a CD player or Ipod player for you to use. We played classical music during the labour (you couldn’t hear it through my screaming), and at 6 months, it was the only music our baby would fall asleep to. Amazing, strange, and awesome all at the same time! Pick something you like, you may have to listen to it a lot.
  • Your own Pillows in your own pillow cases. The hospital will have some sort of shortage on pillows. I guarantee it.
  • Lip Balm, a hair tie, toothbrush, brush, any other toiletry you think you’ll need. It can make you feel like a real person again after going through labour.
  • An extra pair of socks or two. This is my NUMBER ONE tip for mothers to be. Many say that they didn’t think of socks. I birthed in socks, they got dirty, I wanted more socks. Your feet will probably get cold, and the blankets they give you at the hospital leave much to be desired. You cannot wear slippers to bed, so bring socks. 2-4 pairs of socks. they don’t take up much room.
  • Full-Butt underwear. No tampons after labour! Big, Giant, Monster sized pads is what you get to look forward to for 5-14 days after. Fun! They will give you some pretty sexy mesh underwear to wear after labour. That’s right ladies, I said MESH. They recently changed the post birth underwear to thin cotton. If your nurse will give you an extra pair or two to take home, do!
  • Clothes to go home in. Think Yoga/sweat pants and a loose fitting top. Of course if you are one of those women who lose all of your baby weight as soon as the baby comes out, you may want to bring your old Jeans, they might fit.

Things you DO NOT need to bring with you

  • 5 different nursing bras. Bring ONE. Do not buy many nursing bras. Day 3 after labour, your boobs will magically grow another 2 sizes or so. You will not know what size you need. WAIT until you need them!
  • 3 suitcases full of stuff. You will most likely be fine with one small suitcase or duffel bag.
  • A million snacks. YOU cannot eat anyways once labour starts. You can eat afterwards, but then you can get the good stuff from anywhere!

Dads should pack a change of clothes and swim shorts if they want to get into the tub or shower with mom. They should also have some cash for anything they want to buy at the hospital (Starbucks, Tim Hortons, etc).

If you do not have a doula, things like a tennis ball for massage or massage oils might be handy as well. If you do have a doula, ask if they will be bringing these things with them.

Good luck out there all you moms and moms to be! I wish you a relatively pain free labour!!