Five phrases we need to stop saying to new mothers

Giving birth seems to invite all sorts of opinions and input from everyone from close family to complete strangers. Here are some of the more common phrases new moms hear, and why they are problematic.

Breast Is Best

I breastfed both my children for about two years each (both directly from my breast and via pumped milk in bottles). I loved the bond nursing built between myself and my kids, and I am proud of myself for being able to do it for as long as I did. However, just because breastfeeding was right for me, doesn’t make it right for all mothers.

All who want to breastfeed should be supported in every way possible. However, many new moms are unable or prefer not to breastfeed, and need support as well. Breast milk is truly amazing, no debate there. However, breast milk is not the only way to feed a baby. Breast milk may be remarkable, but what’s more remarkable is a mom who is supported in her choices.

Sleep When The Baby Sleeps

When my first child was about three months old, I returned to work. I was fortunate to be able to do my job from home — or so I thought. I quickly learned managing a full time job and caring for an infant was a daunting task. Instead of resting when my baby slept, I was scrambling to get my work done.

Babies take a while to settle into a routine, so I can appreciate the idea that moms, who may have to be up a lot during the night, take advantage of any opportunity to get rest. Unfortunately, “when the baby sleeps” is often when moms need to work, catch up on oither responsibilities, squeeze in a meal or some time to read a book in peace. If anything, new moms need others to step up and support them as much as possible, so they can get the rest they need.

When Are You Having Another?

Having a baby takes a huge toll on the body. New moms need a lot of time to physically, mentally and emotionally heal from childbirth. For some, this child may be the result of many years of infertility treatment. For others, their child may be the rainbow baby they prayed for after loss. Other moms may have suffered from a traumatic birth experience, and are far from ready to think about having another child.

New moms don’t need to be bombarded with questions about future kids. If you matter to them, you will learn about pending babies when the family is ready to share that information.

When Are You Going To Lose The Baby Weight?

Pregnancy weight gain and postpartum weight loss is unique to every mom. Some have no trouble dropping back down to their pre-pregnancy weight, while others take no longer or never do at all. All post baby bodies are beautiful, and moms should never feel pressured to “bounce back” after giving birth.

Of course, if you suspect someone you love is having trouble with her postpartum health, and that it may be related to deeper issues, such as postpartum depression and/or anxiety, you should offer encouragement and support.

Let Someone Else Hold The Baby

When someone has a baby, friends and family are excited, and many want to hold the child, because, well, babies make people smile. Often this turns into a free-for-all with good-meaning folks demanding to get their hands on the newborn, even when the mom is not ready to allow others to hold them.

The bond between mother and baby is truly special. Many new moms need/like to keep their babies close to facilitate feeding, regulate baby sleep cycles, and to keep their newborns calm. They should never be shamed or questioned for holding their babies too much.

There are many other phrases I could add to this list, and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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