When I was a new Mum I found there were always certain key comments that came up. Some from complete strangers. Some from other Mums. Or family. I’ve compiled a short, easy to use list…feel free to add your own THINGS to AVOID too.
1. So are you breast or bottle feeding?
None of your business. Jog on.
2. When is the baby due?
This actually happened to me 4 months AFTER I’d had my daughter. Never ask anyone if they’re having a baby unless they actually TELL you themselves. Makes life so much easier and avoids so much embarrassment (yours and theirs).
3. Aren’t they weaned?
A passive aggressive question that makes new Mums squirm as they suddenly get into a wild panic and start Googling why they haven’t weaned their three day old baby yet and how to start immediately.
4. Ooh he’s/she’s…big/small/round/fat/red/thin/ like an ape/old man/a bald Jon Bon Jovi
It’s hard to come up with things to say about a baby and its appearance. Actually, on reflection, these comments are probably okay. Babies pretty much all look the same and the size is fairly uncontroversial but WHAT A JOLLY, LOVELY BABY! is probably the easiest and least offensive thing.
5. How long are they sleeping for?
Please. Just get the kettle on, brew a strong cup of coffee (coffee machine is even better) and hand over some nice biscuits. Babies don’t sleep. It’s like asking a man whether he has a penis. You know the answer. Men have penises. Babies don’t sleep. Makes it easier for everyone if we just remember this.
6. And how are you sleeping?
Ditto. Pretty obvious what the answer will be.
7. Have you booked baby yoga/French lessons/aerobics/karate/movement/sensorial immersion sessions?
If they have they will tell you but new Mums don’t need the pressure of trying to think about this crazy (and frankly pretty silly) developmental STUFF on top of all the other bits and bobs. I took my daughter to baby yoga when she was about two weeks old. She looked at me like I was mad. On the way home I forgot to tie her into the buggy and she almost fell out as I pushed her up into the hallway. The lesson is…baby yoga was unnecessary. I should have spent more time in bed.
8. So how’s the weight going?
I didn’t think anyone would ASK but people do tend to do it in inadvertent ways. They raise an eyebrow as you force fistfuls of cake into your mouth. Or they may bore on about how they’re doing the 5/2 again and last time they lost all the weight in about three days. Or they talk about a celebrity and how they’ve sprung back into shape right away. This is a direct attack on a new Mum. As with the sleep thing. It’s a no-go area in my book.
9. Have you put them down for nursery/school/secondary yet?
Again panic inducing. Stop it.
10. So when’s number 2 coming along?
Jeez. Leave it will you? Maybe this person doesn’t want another child. Maybe they do but they can’t. Maybe just thinking about having one makes them want to hide under the duvet and never come out again.
Okay, I get it, I know this all sounds negative and moany. The truth is new Mums don’t need a LOAD of questions. In my experience they need to talk about things that perhaps aren’t baby -related so they can access the person they were before. So how about – do you fancy the new postman who looks a bit like Dave Grohl? Or – have you seen that great series with the woman from Mad Men in it? Or even- shall I take the baby for a stroll in the buggy whilst you lie down on the floor and have a little weep?
Or just a big hug and say nothing at all.