I’m honored to introduce our first guest post on Piece of Cake Parenting! I collaborate with many wonderful writers and plan to add in a guest post each month. This month’s post was written by Brooke from Mother Me Crazy. As a new mom, she knows exactly what phrases you should avoid saying to new moms, and what things you can say and do instead. Read her great post below. Then leave a comment with your thoughts on what phrases you should never say to a new mom.
Becoming a parent is probably one of the most difficult things a person can do in their lifetime. The nay-sayers will argue that there are more challenging things in life. But I, along with many other parents, disagree.
Bringing a child into this world comes with so many ups and downs. You have some people telling you to do it this way and others telling you to do it another way. Mom has so many hormones running through her body, and you never know what kind of mood she will be in. For that reason, and that reason alone, here are 5 things you should never say to a new mom.
1 – You Look Tired
Yes, she looks tired. That is because she IS tired. She probably woke up at least 3 times last night, and each time in a miserable way – an obnoxiously loud cry from her hungry newborn baby. During the day, everyone says to nap when the baby naps, but that doesn’t happen. The baby finally goes down for a nap, you sit down to relax for a second. But the next thing you know, your baby is awake and hungry again.
New moms are well aware that they look and are tired, and there is no reason for you to remind them. For all you know, she may be feeling the best she has all week, and you just ruined it with your unwarranted comment.
If you notice that the new mom in your life is looking a bit tired, instead of telling her so (because you KNOW she’ll snap at you), I’m sure she would appreciate you helping her out by washing her dirty dishes, cooking her supper, or taking the baby for a walk while she has a nap.
2 – You Still Look Pregnant
Did you know that it takes 6-8 weeks for a woman’s uterus to return to its normal size after giving birth? This can cause her to still look pregnant for a while.
Remember those hormones I mentioned at the top of this article? Well, they cause all kinds of mindset changes after giving birth. She may have been the strongest woman you know pre-pregnancy, but postpartum she falls apart at the slightest of things.
It’s common courtesy to not mention any woman’s weight or physical shape. But most certainly keep it to yourself if it’s about a woman who just gave birth. You don’t know what she may be dealing with on the inside and there are many mental and physical changes women go through after having a baby. She may hate her postpartum body and it could be a cause of her postpartum depression. On the flip side, she may absolutely love her new form and be deeply offended her with your comment.
If you notice your postpartum friend is looking a little out of shape, maybe instead of telling her so, you could ask her if she and baby want to join you on a nice stroll in the park. Or wait until she makes the decision to start working out, and then ask if she would like some company and encouragement.
3 – Why Aren’t You at Home Resting?
Many parents like to take their baby out, whether for a short walk, to the grocery store or to someone else’s house. There is no reason for a new family to stay at home if they don’t want to. If you stayed in your house for months on end, wouldn’t you go a bit stir crazy? I know I would.
If you see a new family out and about, please remember that their life does not come to a screeching halt because they had a baby. In fact, just the opposite happens. Life gets crazy and busy. All of a sudden, people you haven’t seen all year want to come to see the new baby. Aunt Karen, Cousin Sheryl, and that long lost friend from high school who wants to catch up. It is okay to entertain these people and continue your normal social activities after starting a family. And no one should be judged for doing so.
I’m not saying new parents do not need rest, because they do! Refer back to the “You look Tired” paragraph if you need a reminder. I am just pointing out that new parents still need groceries, fresh air, and time to pick up their mail.
Please do not judge them for living their lives and bringing their new baby along with them. Instead, try holding the door for them and their stroller or picking up that box of cereal that fell out of their grocery cart. The parenting life is a hectic one, you can make it a little bit easier for them by being a polite person.
4 – You’re Breastfeeding, right?
Some women do not have the capability to breastfeed. Other times babies don’t have the capability to breastfeed. And some mothers simply don’t want to breastfeed. But that’s okay.
All mothers know that there are many benefits to breastfeeding. It is jammed down our throats from the beginning of pregnancy. Breastfeeding is a very personal decision, and not every new mom has the desire, ability, or patience for breastfeeding. There is no good reason to criticize a new mother about the way that their baby is being fed, provided their baby IS being fed.
You probably don’t know why the new mother in your life decided to formula feed rather than breastfeed. Did you know that there are quite a few medications that prevent a mother from breastfeeding if she is taking them? Or that a lot of moms, including myself, have an extremely low milk supply, which means that the baby cannot get enough milk to survive from mom alone. When this happens, parents need to supplement with formula, or even strictly formula feed.
Instead of asking new moms if they are breastfeeding, and possibly making them feel guilty for not being able to, consider asking the following questions instead:
*How are you doing?
*How is baby doing?
These questions are far more supportive and will allow for further conversation. In her answers, mom may voluntarily tell you whether or not she is breastfeeding. But if not, then she does not have to tell you. Just know that even if she is not breastfeeding, she still has her babies best interest in mind.
5 – Isn’t That Your Job Now?
Mothers, especially the new ones, get tired, and they will complain about the general tasks of motherhood. Their complaints are a way for them to vent. She’s not saying she isn’t going to do those tasks, just that she doesn’t really want to.
All at once, there are so many new things on a new parents plate, like boiling baby bottles and doing a load of laundry every other day. When a new mother is venting about these things, DO NOT in any way, shape or form say “that’s your job, isn’t it?” It is incredibly offensive and makes her feel like she is an inadequate mother and partner.
Instead, try asking if she would like you to take something off of her plate. Offer to babysit for an evening while
At the end of the day, it’s simple.
When you encounter a new mom, simply be kind and both you and the new mom will be happier and more fulfilled.
Inspiration for this post came from my awesome friends on this Twitter feed.