Things to avoid saying to a new Mum

Things to avoid saying to a new Mum

Think about it. A new mum has spent 40 weeks growing a baby, and then potentially a couple of days in labour. She’s knackered and emotional, and has a new baby to look after whilst adjusting to an entire new world. The last thing that she wants to hear are other’s thoughts and opinions parted onto her own. She will welcome them and smile, however underneath they could be causing her worry, anxiety and self-doubt, when she’s already got enough on her plate.

When you become a parent for the first time your mind goes into overdrive. You question everything, and you even question your own ability. That coupled with pain from the giving birth and sleepless nights, you are treading on eggshells with a brain that’s a live wire. Anything can tip you over the edge.

I speak from experience having had my daughter nearly three years and I’m due my second in a matter of weeks. I remember some of comments, which looking back were ridiculous, but at the time were enough to annoy the hell out of me and make me feel like I just wasn’t up to the job. That is the job of Motherhood.

So if you’re reading this and you know someone who has recently had a baby or you know someone who is about to give birth, here are a list of things to avoid saying to a new mum. Of course we love hearing your praise and kind words, but some opinions and judgemental comments needs to stay where they are – in your head, not to be spoken.

Mum sleeping or trying to sleep

As a new parent just under three years ago, some of the things that really got my goat were:

Is she sleeping through yet?

No of course she’s not sleeping through the night yet, she’s a baby, she has no concept of time and needs a feed every 2 hours.

So when are you having another?

I’m pretty sure I was asked this being wheeled out of theatre after my c-section. My immediate response after a 60 hour induction and c-section was “never”!

Sleep when the baby sleeps

This is really easy to say, however when you have the washing, cleaning and cooking to do, plus 11 million other things, it is virtually impossible to sleep when the baby sleeps. Also as a new parent I actually feared sleeping when the baby slept, just in case something happened to her.

Those are just some of the things said to me when I became a parent, and here’s what a bunch of lovely bloggers also had to say:

  • “Isn’t baby sleeping through the night yet? Mine did at 3 weeks old.” Argh!! I don’t want to know! says Hampshire Mums
  • I have a love hate relationship with the phrase ‘sleep when baby sleeps’ says Real Mum Reviews
  • “Doesn’t he look like his dad” says Amy Treasure
  • “Oh it’s just a phase it will pass, you will sleep in a couple of years” says Anklebiters Adventures
  • “Or the classic – ‘when are you having another??’ when your stitches are still healing and you can’t even sit down without wincing. Sure, that’s the exact thing on my mind right now!!!” says Real Mum Reviews
  • “Is he good? No actually, he’s stolen all the scissors, pooped in the washing machine and I’m pretty sure he’s trying to start a war with North Korea” says And Another 10 Things
  • “Enjoy this time and cherish every moment. Yes we know we should enjoy it and they grow up fast but we don’t need reminding especially if we are having a bad day, particularly exhausted and feeling overwhelmed” says Chilling with Lucas
  • “Did you tear? Oh, you didn’t? Wow! Good Girl!” – I had this comment so many times. And from people who I don’t know very well! What is people’s fascination with whether or not you managed to birth a child without causing too much damage to your lady bits? says Pushing The Moon
  • ‘You need to do X, Y and Z’ – whenever I heard that phrase I instantly ignored what came after. I hated all the unwanted advice. We’re doing just fine, you know? And maybe, just maybe, my baby is different from yours, says Mummy Alarm
  • “Sleep when the baby sleeps”. My baby was ill, so hardly slept at the beginning. Also “It’s not possible for a baby to be awake for that long at this age”. It is and it was, says Katy Kicker
  • I hated all the comments from the Grandparents like ‘in my day we didn’t do it like that’ or “why don’t you try”. You already feel like you’re getting so much advice from everyone and I found trusting my instincts was always best, says Surrey Mama
  • My mother in laws favourite. “Oh did you have a bad night? You look tired!” says Mummy Fox
  • I’ll say from personal experience of a new mum with post-natal depression, my doctor – “you have a lovely, healthy baby, there’s nothing to be down about”. This was detrimental to me and my health for over a year. Also, I hated family telling me “You’re only creating a rod for your own back” in regards to rocking my babies to sleep, picking them up when they cried, etc, says Dolly Dowsie
  • Before I had even had my daughter I was told “oh you’re really going to struggle when the baby is here” Why are you trying to set me up to fail? Obviously it’s going to be hard it’s a massive massive lifestyle change, says Candyfloss and Dreams
  • If breastfeeding, “when will you stop feeding him, do you think?” It has no impact on them; I’m not sure why anyone else needs to know plans to stop breastfeeding, particularly if there’s been a tricky start, says Baby Foote
  • ‘You really shouldn’t hold her so much – you’re creating a rod for your own back’. My baby, my rules. And as far as I’m concerned you CANNOT spoil a baby with too much love, says Less Refined Mind
  • If breastfeeding ‘just give them a bottle, it’s easier’ says Nomipalony
  • Are you going to lose some weight now? Yes my wonderful mother said that to me the day after an emergency section with me first, says This Mummy Loves
  • I got asked some awful things when I had my twins the worst was ‘Are they IVF babies’ people somehow feel they have a right to ask whatever they want, says A Day in The Life of a Mum of 6
  • “If you pick them up every time they cry, they’ll keep expecting it – they know how to push your buttons” – and any other indication that your baby is manipulative, says Keep Up With The Jones Family
  • “About breastfeeding I was often told to share her and let other people have a feed with a bottle” Er no thanks, she’s perfectly happy with my breasts! says My Mummy’s Pennies
  • ‘Oh were you too posh too push?’ I had this from a young girl shortly after my first emergency c-section, says What Hannah Did Next
  • “Are you going back to work soon?” – seriously, when a new mum is trying to navigating the choppy waters of new motherhood the last thing she is thinking about in her sleep deprived mind is when and how she will return to work. This question is more likely to push her over the edge than be well meaning so please refrain! says Motherhood: The Real Deal

Mum breastfeeding her baby

Those are just some of the things to avoid saying to new parents. We are always looking for support, a friendly hug or a shoulder to cry on will do. What we are not looking for are opinions and passing judgements. So if you’re talking to a new mum or mum-to-be, just think a little before you speak, as you never know what impact your words may have.

Generally anything related to sleep and feeding are questions to steer away from. You may think that you’re helping that new mum, however they will appreciate you so much more if you made them a cup of tea, or brought them a big bar of chocolate or cake, or gave them a glass of wine.

For some strange reason I’m oddly looking forward to hearing these again once my second arrives, and this time round I’ll be making sure to take them with a pinch of salt.

What was the worst thing said to you when you become a parent?

Claire x


Things to avoid saying to a new mum

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24 Comments

  1. Amy Fox May 5, 2018 / 7:55 am

    Thanks for including me Claire. I can relate to most of them! Everyone should have to read this before visiting a new mum! x

  2. Amy Fox May 5, 2018 / 7:55 am

    Thanks for including me Claire. I can relate to most of them! Everyone should have to read this before visiting a new mum! x

  3. Talya May 5, 2018 / 9:08 am

    You should get this printed in every local paper so EVERYONE can heed our words! Thanks for the inclusion x

  4. Tubbs June 6, 2018 / 12:50 pm

    The Tubblet was bald when she was born and very little hair in the first year so our worst was, “What a lovely boy …” In pink. PINK. Not because we liked it, but in an attempt to help people out … Neither of actually hit anyone but we came close a few times!
    Tubbs recently posted…#BeatPlasticPollution for #WorldEnvironmentDayMy Profile

  5. Sara @ Magical Mama Blog June 6, 2018 / 3:27 pm

    Oh all of these irk me so much! Why can’t people just shut their mouths if they’re not going to say anything positive and constructive? Why do people feel the need to gush out unwarranted advice? Has it ever helped anyone? Oh! Let’s just cut it off now and not give any new moms advice or stories. Just support and congratulations.
    #fortheloveofblog

  6. This Scribbler Mum June 6, 2018 / 6:55 pm

    It’s like so many don’t know how to be tactful around new mums. Yeah sleeping while baby sleeps is like how does that happen? #fortheloveofblog

  7. Ooh, the “rod for your own back” comment used to make me wince! I hated it! And all the negativity about co-sleeping, that really got on my nerves! #fortheloveofblog

  8. The Rhyming Mum June 6, 2018 / 7:46 pm

    I know on the most part people are just trying to be friendly and make conversation but some people just need to learn when to say nothing at all. Especially when you’re really hormonal and have had zero sleep – there are some things you just don’t need to hear! #fortheloveofblog
    The Rhyming Mum recently posted…A poem to smile about – plus WIN £80 of Brush-Baby goodiesMy Profile

  9. Rhonda | Small Things Over Time June 6, 2018 / 8:05 pm

    Yikes. These make me cringe. Hopefully, we can all forgive and forget and extend each other a little grace. #fortheloveofBLOG

  10. Tracy Albiero June 6, 2018 / 8:41 pm

    Ha ha ha…having another! I got that after I adopted our 7 year old. So you going to adopt another. #fortheloveofblog
    Tracy Albiero recently posted…Butt prints in the sand…My Profile

  11. Briony June 6, 2018 / 9:20 pm

    The absolute worst thing that was said to me was ‘oh you put all your baby weight on around your face didn’t you’
    CHARMING #fortheloveofBLOG

  12. The Aspiring Yummy Mummy June 6, 2018 / 10:24 pm

    YES! The ‘when are you going back to work’ question when baby is just a couple of weeks old is the worst! I can’t bear the thought of leaving my baby for a couple of hours to have my haircut, please don’t ask me to think about leaving them all day. x
    The Aspiring Yummy Mummy recently posted…Visiting LEGOLAND Windsor with a toddler and baby.My Profile

  13. The Squirmy Popple June 7, 2018 / 6:41 am

    No new parent wants to hear any comments about sleeping – they’re exhausted and don’t need any tips or to hear anything about how well your baby slept! It’s not helpful and will only make them feel worse. #fortheloveofBLOG
    The Squirmy Popple recently posted…Should we all work four-day weeks?My Profile

  14. na June 7, 2018 / 10:59 am

    Ah this made me chuckle – and it’s so true. But truthfully I don’t mind being asked these questions, people are just trying to make conversation most of the time and I am sure I have said these things myself! #fortheloveofblog

  15. Jennie June 7, 2018 / 8:42 pm

    Hahaha – I absolutely love these!
    Visiting from #fortheloveofBLOG

  16. Noleen Miller June 8, 2018 / 11:48 am

    So true. Sometimes it’s best to keep quiet or if you want to say something – think before you say it. Being a new mum is already so overwhelming to still have others posing questions, giving constant advice and pointing out faults will drive that person nuts #fortheloveofblog

  17. Ali Duke June 10, 2018 / 9:14 pm

    I know people mean well, but they have a knack for saying something really annoying at the wrong time. The sleep when the baby sleeps seems to be he worst thing people can say, I know it annoyed me.
    #fortheloveofBLOG

  18. Nicola June 11, 2018 / 9:06 pm

    It’s amazing how people need to have their say. My most annoying was from the older generation, if the baby was crying at say 2 weeks old, “Oh he must be hungry…give him some baby rice!” #fortheloveofblog

  19. Jordan August 2, 2018 / 9:47 pm

    Very good list, I agree with those points completely.
    Give them some baby rice so they sleep through – the worst.

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