10 Things Not to Say to a New Mom

Think before you speak to a new mom.

Bringing up baby is full of surprises -- none more potentially irksome than having to listen to well-intentioned folks say the most outrageous things. Just when you'd gotten used to people patting your stomach as though it were a roadside shrine, you have to adapt to outings in which your brand-new infant is the entertainment du jour for a host of strangers. Being a celebrity isn't all it's cracked up to be. Let's tune in to 10 things new moms don't want to hear -- ever.


10: Your Baby Is Ginormous

Who are you calling fat?

If your baby is a big 'un, you know it without being told. As a matter of fact, you know precisely how large your child is from the birth you just went through. Chubby cheeks and knee dimples look good on a baby, so there's something vaguely insulting about comments that suggest your little angel's wings are a bit too small to support his girth.


9: Your Baby Looks Like a Little Monkey

OK, so the well-meaning stranger is referring to those adorable capuchin monkeys and not baboon babies -- right? But still! If you've ever seen an ugly baby (and you probably have) the last thing you want is for someone to suggest your newborn is less than perfection. He's gorgeous -- right now -- this minute. Even if it's good to know he'll grow into his ears, out of his double chin and away from that lopsided but adorable squint, an insult is an insult.


8: Is That Drool on Your Shirt?

Drool: It's what they do?

Yes, breastfeeding damp spots can be very embarrassing. But so can any number of other post-pregnancy mystery spots and stains. Have you noticed yet that motherhood is a dirty business? Grime and goo magically glom onto any serviceably clean piece of clothing a new mom owns (usually work clothes, naturally). It's an unwritten law of nature that a mom's garments must be spat on, speckled, spilled on or spotted within 20 minutes of putting them on -- and this will go on for at least the first year of motherhood.


7: Where's Her Hair?

Bald babies aren't funny. They look like aging character actors and are magnets for well-meant remarks about wispy hair, thin hair, late hair or, our favorite, family hair problems. Here's the great equalizer, though: The only thing worse than a remark about a baby's thin hair is a comment about a baby being too hairy. Now, which would you rather have to deal with?


6: Aren't You Thrilled?

When you finally had the baby, you were gratified but exhausted. After you brought the baby home, you were sore but exhilarated. Once all the family visits were out of the way, you were weary but enthusiastic. Now, you're just dog tired. Thrilled doesn't even begin to apply -- and looking pleased and perky while wiping spit-up off your shoulder is starting to get old.


5: How Much Baby Weight Have You Lost?

What's this obsession with baby weight, huh? You'd think a few extra pounds were cause for incarceration. It's hard enough to deal with lack of sleep and the new responsibilities and rhythms of motherhood without having to take on the issue of residual pregnancy flab, too. Here's a thought: Let's talk about your weight for a while.


4: When Are You Planning the Next One?

One at a time, please.

Are you serious? After pulling a pineapple out of your left nostril, would you feel like repeating the experience anytime soon? Proponents of having children in rapid succession should explore the advantages of multiple births -- or as they say in the animal kingdom -- litters. It's faster and easier, and there's less wear and tear on the soft tissue.


3: Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Has your sleep deficit reached the point of no return? As in, there aren't enough hours left in your lifetime to catch up? Take heart. Once the hallucinations kick in, you could start having some fun again. Until that blissful day, get cranky. It's the best way to curtail stupid questions.


2: Your Baby is Too Young to Be Out

Ah, the well-meaning remarks of opinionated moms and grannies everywhere. They have suggestions about the baby's wardrobe, how to feed him, how to burp him and how to comport yourself in acceptable mommy style. They're full of -- hints and ideas. Actually, it's probably more nostalgia than anything else. After all, there's nothing quite as nice as rocking a baby in your arms, and those days are too brief. Take a hint. Well, not the actual hint, but the unspoken mandate to appreciate these times. They may not be the fairytale you expected, but you'll miss them someday just the same.


1: When's the Baby Due?

Oh, gosh, what a bomb. The baby is at home with Grandma, and you're enjoying the luxury of a well-deserved afternoon out. You're thinking about having a macadamia and white chocolate cookie when a friendly matron accosts you with this brutal, eviscerating remark. Do you tell her you've already delivered, thank you, or just smile and drift away to cry in private? Whatever you do, leave the firearms at home.

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  • American Pregnancy. "Eating for Two When Over/ or Under Weight." Undated. (3/24/11).http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/eatingfortwo.html
  • Baby Center. "When can my baby start sleeping through the night?" Undated. (3/24/11).http://www.babycenter.com/408_when-can-my-baby-start-sleeping-through-the-night_1368534.bc
  • Crawford, Leslie and Sierra Senyak. "The New-Mom Body Survey: 7,000 Women Tell It Like It Is." Baby Center. 12/20. (3/24/11).http://www.babycenter.com/0_the-new-mom-body-survey-7-000-women-tell-it-like-it-is_3653252.bc
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