Phrases to avoid when seeing new moms

Try to be a bit more sensitive to new mamas!

New moms are tired mentally, physically and emotionally, try to be a bit more supportive by avoiding the following phrases:

“You look tired”

Yes, we know!

Chances are new mothers haven’t properly slept yet.

Whether it was arriving home after giving birth with no complications, or having an emergency C-section with a baby in the NICU or from being exhausted from popping out the boob to breastfeed every three hours, new mothers are very aware that they are tired, and guess what, it’s because yup, you guessed it, they’re tired!

No one needs a constant reminder that their outward appearance matches their inward turmoil, thank you very much.

Alternative phrases:

  • May I help you?
  • I can feed them (if baby is being bottle-fed)
  • Take a break while I hold them, if you are okay with that?
  • Is there anything I can do?

“Sjoe, that’s a big/small baby”

Why does this matter so much to everyone?

Whether your baby weighed 4.2 kgs when they came out or 700 grams, it shouldn’t matter!

It’s not a competition of which mother is stronger, more fit or who can handle more. One mom’s baby might weigh 4kg and be perfectly healthy, another may weigh less but have complications. Let’s get out of the habit of commenting on babies and their weight.

Alternative phrases:

  • Your baby is cute
  • Your baby has beautiful eyes
  • Your baby’s eyelashes are amazing
  • Oh, look at their toes!

“So you still haven’t lost the baby weight yet?”

Nope, we’ve been busy birthing new life and rearing new life, so we’ve been a bit preoccupied.

Alternative phrases (even if you lie):

  • You look amazing
  • Your skin looks great
  • You look beautiful
  • Wow, I can’t believe you just had a baby

“You look like a real mother now”

What exactly does this phrase mean? You look old? You are wearing too many yoga pants?

First-time mothers are grappling with a range of emotions including questioning who they are. Of course, motherhood is now a large part of who they are but they are evolving and still getting used to the idea of being a mom, while still clutching on to being a wife/partner, a friend, a daughter, a sibling and a host of other things.

Yes, we love being a mom, but we are still trying to be other things too. We are the sum of all the parts.

Alternative phrases:

  • Motherhood suits you
  • You are doing a great job being a new mom
  • I am proud of you

“Your baby has a pair of lungs on them”

Yes, they do, it’s how they breathe and it’s also how they communicate. Babies cry, and if this makes you uncomfortable you may want to wait until the baby is of school-going age to visit. We won’t judge you for not seeing us for five to six years.

Alternative phrases:

  • Is she/he okay?

Unsolicited advice on breastfeeding/bottle-feeding/nappy-changing/medication

Unless you are a qualified doctor or registered pediatric nurse – stop the unsolicited advice.

Here’s why: most of the advice needed has already been given by the doctor or nurse once a child is born.

Every baby’s journey is unique, from birth weight to health issues to generally just differing, so it’s important not to confuse new mothers with unsolicited advice unnecessarily. Things such as medication or methods that worked 20 years may not apply now, times have changed!

Telling a new mom about something that ends with the statement: “And my children turned out fine” is always annoying for a new mother.

Alternative phrase:

  • If you need advice or have questions don’t hesitate to reach out to me

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