If you can’t say something nice, keep your mouth shut. And if you’re not sure that what you’re saying to the mom of a newborn is nice or not, err on the side of caution and definitely keep your mouth shut.We’re tired. We just spent 9 months waddling around like Shamu, only to get the baby out of us and have to keep waddling around like Shamu while also caring for Flipper 24/7.
So that means we’re necessarily sensitive on top of being utterly exhausted. Which means even if you think you’re not being insensitive, chances are, you are.
Here are 7 things you should never say to the mom of a newborn (particularly if you want the mom of a newborn to ever say anything to you ever again):
1. “Your baby is so pretty! She doesn’t look anything like you…”
Gee, thanks. Be sure not to let the door hit you on the way out. On second thought, let it.
2. “She’s so fat!”
Yes, I acknowledge my baby girl is chubby. But that’s why they call it baby fat. Because she’s a baby. She doesn’t move around much. She’s just doing her job, which is eating. Because she’s a baby. What’s your excuse? Shall we come up with a cute name for your fat while we’re at it? On second thought, fat isn’t cute on an adult. So maybe we should both keep our mouths shut. Oh, and P.S., no girl ever wants to be called fat. Even if she’s just 6 hours old.
3. “It’s so little!”
This is exactly what parents of boys really don’t want to hear in reference to their bouncing boy’s private parts. Boys are strong. Boys are handsome. Boys’ penises should not be referred to as “so little,” even if it’s the truth. “So little” should be what you tell a postpartum woman in reference to the size of her waist. Beyond that, you should understand that “so little” is how much I’ll be thinking of you in the event that it’s how you refer to my baby boy’s penis. Don’t you know better than to never, ever say anything about the small size of a male’s penis? Even if he’s just 6 hours old.
4. “He’s so cute”
My daughter might have no hair, but that doesn’t make her a him. You’ll know my baby is a girl by her pink clothes and, quite possibly, the bow I’ve glued to her head. Those things make her a girl. No hair doesn’t make her a boy. No hair makes her a baby. Many babies are born without hair. Even the girl ones.
5. “He’s crying? He must be hungry.”
Really, Sherlock? Because I’m fairly certain I picked him off my breast not 10 minutes ago right after he ate — for 45 minutes. But I’m sure my kid will appreciate that you’re looking out for him in the event that I must be starving him because you, with all of your medical expertise, have determined his cry must mean that I’m dumb enough to not feed him. It’s not possible he has gas, right? Or that he wants to suck on a pacifier, right? Or he needs his diaper changed, right? Have you stopped to consider that maybe he’s crying because he doesn’t like you and your unsolicited advice? Because I’m on 14 minutes of sleep in the past 3 days and it kind of makes me want to cry.
6. “Are you worried about her using a pacifier?”
Yes, I spend my spare moments cowering in the closet under the linens and on top of my turtlenecks weeping at the prospect of my baby going off to college with a pacifier still glued to her mouth. Yes, I’m terrified that she’ll likely humiliate herself at her wedding when the pacifier has to be pried from her mouth so she can properly seal her union with a kiss. Forget about pacifiers appropriately soothing newborn babies and helping prevent SIDS. Thank goodness you’re here to tell me all about the perils of pacifiers. How would I have ever have known these things without you?