What not to say to a pregnant woman or new mom

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“You’re breastfeeding your newborn too much” and “Why are you running when you’re pregnant?” are some of the standout irritating things I heard when I was a new mom and pregnant, respectively.

I know people mean well and don’t intend to hurt with their comments or advice, but I believe that some things shouldn’t be said – and should either be left to a doctor (if it’s for more expert advice) or remain a thought bubble, i.e. never spoken out loud. It’s already a challenging, scary, unknown and exciting time without the “advice”, cautionary words, smug guidance and unhelpful anecdotes.

“It’s already a challenging, scary, unknown and exciting time without the ‘advice’, cautionary words, smug guidance and unhelpful anecdotes.”

If I had to write a guidebook on what not to say to a pregnant woman or new moms, here’s what it would look like.

Pregnant moms:

  • You’re so small. Is the baby okay?
  • Are you sure you’re not having twins?
  • You’re going to give birth naturally, right?
  • You really shouldn’t be doing/eating that.
  • I did “x” in my pregnancy, and I think you should do it too.
  • Sleep as much as you can because you won’t be sleeping for years to come!
  • Is this your last baby?
  • Aren’t you worried that you’re too old to have a child?
  • Is all your weight gain healthy? What does your doctor say?
  • Did you plan this pregnancy?
  • It’s going to be very uncomfortable in the summer.
  • All those night feeds in the middle of winter – poor you!
  • Just wait… it gets so much harder from here.
  • Can I feel your stomach?

New moms

  • Oh, my word – he’s huge!
  • Is it a boy or a girl?
  • All the crying must be so hard for you.
  • He looks like a little alien!
  • When I was a new mother, I used to do x, y and z, and had a much easier time than you are.
  • Shame, you look exhausted.
  • You’re breastfeeding, right?
  • My baby starting sleeping through at five weeks.
  • It must be so nice to be on maternity leave and not have to worry about anything.
  • I was back in my normal jeans after two weeks.
  • I’m so relieved I don’t have to go through this phase again.
  • Shame, why is your baby bald?
  • How much weight do you still need to lose?
  • Are you planning for the next one yet?
  • Is your baby in a routine yet?

Tanya Kavorsky Profile Image no bgTanya Kovarsky is a mom of two (Max, 8 and Rebecca, 1.5 years) and works by day in PR and communications, and by night as a blogger on Rattle and Mum. She loves Paris, Jelly Tots, pink things, makeup and sneakers, and running (she can tell her kids that she’s run 11 Comrades and 14 Two Oceans). She also has a personal blog, Dear Max + Rebecca.

Also read:

What I wish someone had told me when I was a new mom
How I embraced my post-baby body and self