Top 3 things NOT to say to a new mom…
My first 4 (almost 5) months of motherhood has been a rollercoaster ride of emotions and an amazingly steep learning curve! When I was pregnant, a lot of friends warned that people would offer a lot of ‘unwanted’ and ‘bad’ pregnancy/parenting advice. However, I didn’t find this happened to me much. Probably because it was my first and I didnt know what to expect anyway! Two of the best pieces of advice I got while I was pregnant; first from a male clerk in a baby store who said ‘ the best advice is do whatever works for you now… you won’t mess up your kid for life’! with all the conflicting advice from friends, relatives and health care professionals this really is the best advice to calm a nervous first time mom! Also, my OB said in regards to labour ‘Don’t listen to all those people who say labour is awful; they aren’t good friends’! Although I had every possible labour complication happen in the 2 days (yes, 2 full days of labour ), I barely remember it and when I think about it I think, ‘it wasn’t that bad’! My husband however, is scarred for life!
Anyway, what I have found in the past 4 months is a lot of offensive comments from friends and family. I know they are not trying to be offensive but, I think as a Mom, I will always feel guilty and I will always question myself. The last thing a new Mom needs is comments from her support system that further make her question her ability to be a great Mom. So here are a few things I have texted to Linda to vent about because I was hurt and offended. And, it turned out she got many of the same comments and was always upset by them! Please do not say these things to the new mom in your life…
1. She/He is hungry AGAIN?
The answer to this question is YES!! I am exclusively breastfeeding my baby and it was THE most important thing that I needed to do for my baby. The thing is, breastmilk is very easily digested by baby in 60-90 minutes. Formula is much more difficult for a baby to digest. The difference is that breastfed babies need to eat much more frequently than formula fed babies. Usually soon after their little bellies empty in 1-1.5 hours!
Also, when you are breastfeeding you have NO idea how much breastmilk baby is actually consuming. The only true way to tell if they are getting enough is that they have enough pees/poops per day and they gain adequate weight. SO, as a new breastfeeding mom, I OFTEN (probably daily at first) questioned whether he was getting enough milk and when Someone says ‘he is hungry AGAIN’! It made me more fearful that I might be starving my child!
2. You are a human pacifier!
The answer to this is ‘yes, maybe, but I am 100% ok with that’!! First of all, see the above explanation. Secondly, like I said above, breastfeeding my baby was the most important thing to me which meant he needed to latch properly. The research I did about the use of pacifiers / bottles and nipple confusion and latching problems was not clear. So, I did not want my baby to have a pacifier! If that meant that he nurses to comfort himself, feel secure and fall asleep; then I am doing my JOB as a mother and not replacing it with a pacifier!
3. Does he sleep through the night?
The answer is NO! He does not! And from what I hear from moms with toddlers is he probably won’t …. for a least ….3 years?!? Again, as a new mom I am questioning EVERYTHING! And this comment makes me think ‘should he be sleeping through the night? Am I doing something wrong? Maybe I should be sleep training / letting him cry it out?’ OR maybe he is just a baby who doesn’t quite sleep through the night and I will continue to do my JOB as a mother and get up a comfort him until he falls back to sleep.
In my opinion, as long as I am getting enough sleep to stay healthy and function then this is no big deal! Honestly, I made a half-assed attempt at sleep training but it didn’t work for our family so moving on. I also talked to our Dr. About his lack of sleep, her answer was ‘do whatever you have to do to get the sleep (me and babe) need’!
So, there it is! If you are a new mom, you can relate but what do you do about it?!? Well, this was awesome advice from my very wise sister…. LIE!!! Just tell people (especially friends and family who will continue to ask..) what they want and expect to hear!
If you are not a mom yet, or your children are older, remember, a new mom is on an emotional rollercoaster and what you think is an innocent question might be hurtful or make mom question her ability!
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