The next time you’re about to talk to a new mum about her newborn, take a moment to consider what you’re about to say.
According to a new study carried out by Channel Mum, which surveyed more than 2,000 participants, there are certain phrases that you should never, ever say to a new mother.
As motherhood can be stressful enough, especially for new or first-time mothers, criticism or backhanded comments from other mothers or family members can make this time harder, in addition to severely annoying new mums.
Some of the phrases most likely to offend or anger a new mum are obviously critical, like “I would never let my child eat sugar” or seemingly innocent, such as, “breast is definitely best.”
Other examples of things to avoid saying at all costs include, “Oh, are they not walking yet?” “You’re very brave parenting that way…” and “My little one slept 12 hours last night.”
Although some of the comments on the list seem innocuous enough, anything that seems critical of a new mum or a particular parenting choice is a big no-no.
A spokeswoman for Channel Mum said the study was carried out as a reminder that “Words are a powerful weapon, and some of these phrases will seriously wound a mum’s self-esteem” and “Whether these phrases are said accidentally, clumsily, or on purpose, they help neither the person saying them or the person receiving them.”
And while other mums are most often the guilty party, with 16 per cent of mums admitting they have been accused of being competitive and 25 per cent admitting to knowingly saying something that would wind up another mum, more than a quarter of respondents say the mother-in-law is also at fault for not thinking before commenting.
So before you decide to comment aloud on your own child’s speed of growth, talking, or other incredible development, or comment on another mother’s parenting choices, keep in mind the impact it could have on new mums.
The full list of what not to say to new mums is below:
- He’s a bit of a handful, isn’t he?
- I would never let my child eat sugar
- My little one slept 12 hours last night
- Breast is definitely best
- You spoil your child
- Don't you feel bad going back to work?
- I had all the cleaning and cooking done by 9am this morning
- Giving a child an iPad is just lazy parenting
- Oh, are they not walking yet?
- I wouldn't let my child watch that much TV
- You look tired, are the kids playing up?
- I wouldn't dream of giving my child a dummy
- Anything that starts with 'when my child was their age...'
- I think he's just playing you up because you're his mum
- My child will literally eat anything
- Oh, are they not talking yet?
- Oh, is she not sitting up yet?
- The teacher says my child is Xx years ahead of his reading/writing age
- Oh, didn't your child get invited to their party
- I could never miss a school trip with my child
- My child was dry at night well before the age of XX
- My son wouldn't struggle with the words in that book
- My child always eats their fruit and vegetables without a fight
- I can't believe XX can count to 10 already
- My child is already toilet trained
- Well, he is very bright
- You're very brave parenting that way...
- I couldn't bring myself to buy a nativity costume, I'll hand-make mine
- I don't hold my child like that
- We always eat together as a family
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