I know, most people commenting or saying something to a new parent are saying it with good intentions (you would hope!). They might think they are helping or being nice. Many people actually don't know what to say after the first "congratulations" and in this post, I am focusing on the worst things to say to a new parent. As a new mother, you get asked so many questions over and over again by different people that you feel you need to print the answers out and hand it to people. The last thing a new parent needs is worrying about giving answers or being asked questions that are silly, rude or simply not anyone's business! So here is the list:
Have you started exercising?
The answer is NO, OK? Unless I was already hitting the gym 3 times a week before becoming a mother, chances are I am too busy and too exhausted to even think about exercise. The new mother has definitely already heard this and read about it and I can assure you she is already feeling guilty about it. No need to remind, thank you!
When are you having the next one / getting the baby a sibling?
Er, why do you ask? Do I have to have another child because you expect me to? Or because you think it is a good idea? Do you need exact dates? If a new parents asks for your advice regarding this, then feel free to give advice. Otherwise, this isn't really anyone's business. Even if you are a relative. In fact, especially if you are a relative or a brother/sister/mother in law, etc!
A new parent..actually any parent, is probably thinking about this issue already. They might have a perfect number on their mind, or they might not be sure yet. This specially applies for relatives who want to encourage parents to have the second or third child. You are not raising this child, so please do not put pressure on parents.
Let the baby cry
Yes, the new mommy knows about the Ferber's method (and other methods too!). The problem is, even the original Ferber's method itself does not include leaving the baby for prolonged period to cry! Specially young babies in the first few months. It is also needless to say it feels horrible for the new mom. The fact that it worked for you 30 years ago does not mean it is what everyone should do.
Commenting the child's appearance
"But they don't look like you", or other comments about the baby's size. In some cultures even comments about the baby's skin color being different! I just find it plain rude.
Give me the baby, she will stop crying
You can offer to help by asking the parent if they need it. Otherwise, they should have the freedom to learn how to deal with their baby. Even though you might want to help, interfering without being asked is going to leave the parent with less self esteem and is not a nice gesture.
Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash