6 Things You Should NOT Say To a New Mom

Entering the world of parenting is a tough gig and hurtful comments do not make it any easier. 

by Nikki Pennington | Staff Writer for The Snap Mom

I recall very vividly being a young and scared new mom. The day we were discharged from the hospital, I looked at my husband and said “They really just let us leave with him like this? How do we know what to do?” The exhaustion hit me like a ton of bricks: he had colic, he wouldn’t breastfeed, and I was pretty sure I was doing everything wrong. I needed someone to tell me what an amazing job I was doing. Someone to tell me that being a new mom is really hard. I honestly needed to hear from other moms the mistakes they had made as new moms so I could feel slightly normal. Maybe, just maybe, I was not doing this whole thing completely wrong. Instead, I found people would say the wrong things, well-meaning family members would forget I was sleep-deprived and sensitive. Friends that were not yet moms didn’t realize the damage they were causing with words. I felt that all my mom friends were judging how I was doing everything. Here is a list of the things that were said and were the most hurtful. Six things you should not say to a new mom.

1. “I’m surprised you haven’t lost that baby weight yet.”

4things7

I had this said to me three weeks after giving birth! Fully unaware as a new mother that you do not instantly lose the baby belly as soon as baby is delivered. I was so unaware in fact that I actually took only my pre-baby clothes with me to the hospital. Talk about an emotional breakdown in the hospital when those jeans wouldn’t go past my big toe. As a new mom, you really don’t care about the weight as much as you care about what others think about the weight. When someone points it out, it is so hurtful. Instead, try and tell the new mom how great she looks for just having a baby! Tell her she is glowing. Even tell her you would have never known she just had a baby if you didn’t know her. Yes, you can see the weight she gained. She is fully aware of every pound, so there is no need to point it out.

2.“You do realize what is in baby food, right?”

4things6

I went on a play date with my son, another first time mom friend, and her son. It came time to eat, and I happily whipped out my fancy can of baby food serving it to him as I always had right out of the jar. Suddenly, she pulled out a high tech container full of pureed, homemade baby food. She even put it in a nice little bowl. She looked over and said “You do realize what is in baby food, right?” Insert look of disgust on her face here. I went home and cried my eyes out! I officially felt as though I had been the worst mom for giving jar baby food to my son. I wish she would have ignored the situation or instead explained to me why she chose to make her own baby food. Even better if she had asked me if I would like to learn how to do it.

3. “You just gave up on breastfeeding?”

4things5

My first son wouldn’t latch. I was unaware of how to maintain my supply. I drank soda, ate the wrong things, and didn’t drink enough. I did not come from a family that breastfed; they always used bottles. My in-laws came over to visit our son, and the moment we pulled out the bottle, you would have thought they had seen a ghost. My mother-in-law who breastfed said in front of everyone, “So, you just gave up on breastfeeding? You do know it’s what is best for your baby don’t you?” I agree, it is best. However, every mom and every family is different. Pointing it out to me that way only made me feel worse for my lack of knowledge on the subject of breastfeeding. I wish she would have said, “Breastfeeding is so hard. I had so many struggles with it too and wanted to give up.” Or “If you decide you want to try again, while you still have a supply, let me know, and I would be happy to help you and give you all the tips and tricks I learned along the way.” Even a simple, “I support you either way.”

4. “You need to get him/her on a sleep schedule.”

4things2

Listen, let’s be completely honest here: there is no magic trick, book, keeping baby awake during day, or baby cereal in bottle {not recommended} that will make baby sleep through the night or for longer periods. Each baby gets on a schedule when they are ready. The only thing the books and other “tips” is going to do is stress you out. When my mother-in-law gave me a book, swearing she had all three of her boys sleeping through the night in one month, I believed her. I obsessively gave my son baths during the day, trying my best to keep him awake so he would sleep through the night. I missed out on lots of naps when he was sleeping, and ended up still being awake with him at night. I promise you, baby will sleep through the night when they are ready. Instead of giving someone a book or a schedule to try, maybe just offer to come over so they can sleep. Offer to stay the night one evening and tend to baby through the night to give mommy and daddy some rest.

5. “He/She is sweet now, just wait until they get older.”

4things

This is one I heard a lot after my first son. I would always brag about how sweet he was as a baby and without fail, “Just wait until he gets older.” As a new mom, I am in a constant of state of bliss, a tired, losing my mind, I just want a shower kind of bliss. I don’t need to hear that my son will grow up to be unkind to me, or that he will give me a hard time later on in life. I know there will be struggles ahead, I also know that I chose to be a mom. Simply because babies turn into teenagers with hormones and heavy emotions doesn’t mean I will see my child as anything less than precious and sweet. Try saying “It’s not easy the older they get, but it’s completely worth every minute.” Maybe even, “When they get older it’s challenging, but you are going to handle it great!”

6. “He/She looks nothing like you.”

4things1

This my friends is equivalent to cursing a new mom out. I just carried this child for nine months, spent hours in labor, and now you tell me they look nothing like me and everything like their father. When we first brought home baby, all the family came over to see him again. Suddenly, it was a constant echo of how much he looked like his father. “Wow, it’s so crazy, it’s like they are twins.” I would secretly inspect him over their shoulder, finding every little feature that was mine, even the way his right ear curls a little to the left, that is all me! I pulled out my baby photo album pointing out the resemblances trying to convince them that he in fact looked more like me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he looks like my husband, I know that this means he will grow up to look like a very handsome young man. However, you can tell me this later on in life, not right after I birthed him. Instead say, “I just can’t tell who he looks like more. It’s a tough call.” Lie to me, I promise it’s a white lie that will not do any damage.

Today, three babies later, I still hear these things and even though I am not a new mom, they still can do damage. I am more confident about being a mom, so I know some things on the list I would be able to laugh off or respond with humor. All of us moms were in fact a new mom at one point, try to remember to be sensitive and supportive. Being a new mom is tough enough already, let’s not make it worse on each other.

nikki adminNikki is a stay at home mom to three high spirited boys. Three years ago she became a motherless daughter after losing her own mom to terminal brain cancer. When she is not playing the role of referee for the boys, she spends her days trying to encourage and inspire others that are on the grief journey.