10 Things Not to Say to a New Mom

Don't say any of these phrases when talking to a new mom. When in doubt, say "Congratulations!"

Sleep when the baby sleeps

mother holding sleeping baby

This sounds like sage advice, but many moms know it's almost impossible to follow. When else are you supposed to get anything done if not when the baby's napping? It's also hard to squeeze in a nap if you have other kids that need your time and attention. "I wish people wouldn't tell you to 'sleep when the baby's sleeping' without offering help!" says Eileen Zyco Wolter, a mother of two from Summit, New Jersey. The next time you're at a new mom's house, offer to watch the kids or straighten up around the house so she can lie down for a bit.

Wow, you look tired!

Sleepless nights go hand-in-hand with parenthood, and unless a new mom lives in a house without any mirrors, she's probably noticed those bags under her eyes. Pointing it out to her -- even in a sympathetic manner -- might make her feel self-conscious about her appearance.

"People would ask me, 'Are you sleeping?' The answer is always a depressing, 'No,'" says Carrie Carroll, a mom of twins from Arlington, Virginia. "Another one is: 'Have you had a chance to relax or have a little you time?' Again, the answer is a sad, 'No!'"

Your baby sure does cry a lot!

All babies cry, but mentioning that her baby is especially fussy might confirm a first-time mom's worst fear: that she isn't a good mom. It's okay to offer up a tip if it's helpful ("My son cried a lot and we discovered he had acid reflux."), but don't diminish the stress she might be going through. "I don't care if you're a 'seasoned veteran' in the mommy world and you know that just because my newborn refuses to sleep doesn't mean a lifetime of therapy. As a new mom, it is the end of the world to me and it is a big deal, so let me freak out if I want to!" says Leslie Haywood, inventor of Grill Charms and mom of two from Charleston, South Carolina.

It only gets worse as they get older!

When parents are in that newborn phase -- no sleep, constant feedings, and no time for themselves -- sometimes all they have to keep their sanity is the knowledge that it will get better.

"My husband had a ridiculous travel schedule and I was alone with our colicky baby a lot," says Sally Murdoch-King, a mom from Portland, Oregon. "To anyone who says parenthood gets tougher or just wait until they are three, four, or 15...they are dead wrong! Your love grows and grows the more you know your child, and while things may be frustrating, you have more and more good times to reflect on as a parent to get you through the bad."

Did you really want a boy/a girl?

When Amy Williams had her second boy, she was shocked when people looked at her sympathetically and asked, "Awww...didn't you really want a girl?" "It is awful to hear that and [it's] so negative," Williams says. "Babies don't come with an exchange policy. Having two boys has been the most exciting adventure of my life -- it's been a blast!"

Instead of ignoring rude remarks, Williams took action and designed a fashion brand for moms with boys called Boymom; it celebrates the joyous adventure of raising boys. After much demand she created a second apparel line for moms of girls, Girlmom.

Find a Baby Name

Browse by

or Enter a name

Parents Are Talking

Add a Comment