When in doubt, say “Congratulations”.
New mums can be overwhelmed. By the toddler who needs so much attention, by the very many visitors who sometimes do not say the nicest or the most helpful things, by their post-pregnancy body and the adjustments biology had to make. No matter how many books we read, or how much advice we listen to, we cannot fully prepare for a baby. Which is why we try as much as possible to avoid emotional confrontations as new mums. Our guests are divine. Especially when they bring food, gifts and when they take care of baby while mummy naps or better, takes that badly needed bath. However, comments and remarks are thrown here and there during conversations. And they might not be the nicest things to say to a person with a newborn. Keeping that in mind, here are 7 things not to say to a new mum.
1. “I thought you would get twins. That belly was too big for one baby.”
So sorry to disappoint you, but it it’s just one.
Avoid commenting on a woman’s weight and everyone will be happy.
2. “Anyone can be a mother if you became one.”
Well, errm yes. Thank you. I am glad I cleared that up..
This is simply inappropriate and warrants the mum to kick you out of her house, peacefully of course.
3.“Why do you still look pregnant?
Funga tumbo “Wrap a corset around that stomach”
I assure you, they did not leave the second baby inside there. Oh trust me. I checked. And yes, nitafunga (I’ll tie it up). In fact, I am headed to the “stomach tying” place as soon as I am done raising my daughter. That is never.
I have been asked, at two months postpartum, when my due date was.
4. Your baby is tiny
No mother wants to hear, after eighteen hours of labor, that their baby is tiny. Even if their baby IS in fact tinier than even she expected. Instead, you should say, “Your baby is gorgeous.”
Or just say, “Congratulations.”
5. Sleep when the baby sleeps
Baby laundry accumulates to three baskets in less than a week. With baby burp, soiled onesies and dirty shawls from all the visitors’ hands. Sleeping when the baby sleeps does not make sense for a lot of new mums. It is an opening to catch up on the pile of laundry, to tidy up the house or rest. I have come to learn that sleep does not mean you are rested.
Instead of just suggesting they sleep when the baby sleeps, offer to help. Offer to clean the pile of dishes left by other visitors before you. Tidy the living room while she naps.
6. You look tired
While it may be innocently pointed out, telling a new mum they look tired only makes them self-conscious about their appearance. Sleepless nights come hand in hand with parenthood. The new mum has probably noticed her tired looking eyes and does not need a reminder.
Again, instead of telling her she looks tired, offer to help around the house while she rests with her baby. Cook her a large meal and stack the fridge so she rests for a few days.
7. When are you going back to work
When/if she want to go back to work is none of your business! Let the new mum be a mum first. Let her enjoy motherhood and bonding with her newborn child without the constant judgement or prodding.
There are times when silence is golden. One of them is when you visit a new mum and have nothing good to say.