My best friend Heather is a new mum who has had some hilarious and some outright worrying experiences with people who talk utter shit. Heather is a real down to earth honest mum who won’t lie and pretend it’s all been plain sailing.Testing times have not been made easier by the utter demeaning and patronising shit other people say.
Here’s Heather’s guide to what NOT to say to a new mum…Oh and guess what, it’s not just for those who have no experience with children. Other mums should also take note!
“The baby is crying because…”
The baby is crying, my blood pressure is rising, I’ve got a sweat on and freaking out. Even if you think you speak baby proficiently, you don’t speak my baby. So please don’t profess to know why my baby is crying – ‘she isn’t hungry, you just fed her’ ‘it’s wind’, ‘it’s just a protest cry'(wtf?!) or, the Victorian classic: ‘she’s stretching her lungs to develop them properly’. When you do this, you undermine our ability to figure out for ourselves that you know what, sometimes we just don’t know. And that’s okay.
“I won’t let a baby change my life”
Don’t have one then. A baby changes your life – it’s enriching, testing, painful, wonderful and awful all at the same time. If you want your old life, stick with it. Don’t say this to a new Mum who is thinking; fuck I want my old life back.
“In my day…”
Who’d have thought up to date research would help us to make more informed decisions? When we know better, we do better. We no longer use leeches to treat a fever and brandy isn’t an NHS approved teething remedy.
“Is he/she good?”
Robbed the post office last week, but otherwise, yes. Oh you’re asking if she sleeps through?! No. Say this and automatically make a Mum feel like she’s failing. Again.
“Breast is Best/Fed is Best”
No and no – this isn’t a competition. Breast is not best; it’s biologically normal, (humans are designed to consume human milk). Fed is not best either, it’s just, well, not dead. Not feeding is hardly an option is it? So if a new Mum is struggling with breastfeeding, don’t undermine her efforts or pressurise her – get her some proper support from a lactaction consultant. And don’t presume a formula feeding Mum hasn’t struggled/made an informed decision.
A new Mum needs a lasagne, a fresh load of washing and a brew. Oh, and a massive high five because a baby just exited her body and she is incredible.
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