New parents are often inundated with advice and suggestions from loved ones who “mean well.” And while you might occasionally be endowed with a golden nugget of information, most of the time, you wish that person had left their little comment to themselves. When talking to a new mom, people tend to forget that she’s most likely in a vulnerable place. Most moms value general support over advice—no matter who it comes from or how “heartfelt” it really is. It is best to avoid common controversial topics and instead focus on her, the baby, and what you can do to help her transition into motherhood.
Here are the top 12 topics it’s usually best to avoid….
1. Natural delivery vs C-section
The decision to have a C-section or natural delivery is between a woman and her doctor. This is a sensitive subject for most new moms so you should avoid discussions on the pros and cons of each delivery method. Keep in mind that she’s already delivered her baby, so this debate is now a moot point.
2. Breast vs bottle
As a parent, you may want to share your knowledge and experience with a new mom. Before you start a discussion regarding breast feeding, remember how overwhelmed you were when you became a mom. If your friend has decided to bottle feed her baby, respect her choice and don’t try to convince her to breastfeed.
3. Swaddling vs sleeping bags
Baby sleeping bags are “in” right now, so you might be tempted to weigh in on the matter. Understand that different things work for different people. So if your friend prefers to stick to swaddling instead of sleeping bags, that’s her choice.
4. Baby’s size and development
You may think you are complimenting a new mom when you tell her that her baby seems older than his actual age, but she may not see it in the same way. Your friend may wonder if her baby is fatter than he should be and could get hurt by your comments.
5. When to start solids
There isn’t a specific age when babies should start solids, and it often differs from one baby to the next. Instead of telling your friend when to wean her baby, you can offer your support by suggesting she read up on baby-led weaning so that she can make an informed decision.
6. Organic foods vs GMO
Some people feel that GMO foods could have an impact on the quality of a mother’s milk, but there is no evidence to support this. Even if you feel strongly about GMO and organic foods, don’t thrust your opinions on a new mom as she is already dealing with a lot.
7. Whether/when to circumcise a male child
Circumcision is a very controversial topic, and the decisions regarding it rest entirely with the parents. Avoid asking your friends about their plans to circumcise their baby and instead, leave it to them and their doctor to make the right choice.
The vaccine war rages on with anti-vaxxers and pro-vaxxers refusing to budge from their opinions. New parents often receive plenty of conflicting advice from family and friends so it would be best to avoid this subject altogether. Parents will discuss their options with their child’s doctor to determine the best course of action for their child.
9. Cloth vs disposable diapers
“Green” cloth diapers are much better for the environment compared to disposable diapers. However, they require a lot more time and effort which means that this might not be an option for everyone. Do not make your friend feel guilty about her choice to use disposable diapers. At the most, you can offer a cloth diaper service as a gift for the baby.
10. Sleeping Arrangements
People often ask about sleeping arrangements since co-sleeping is another hot topic of conversation. Unless your friend specifically asks you for your opinion and experiences with co-sleeping, don’t offer any suggestions.
Babywearing can have a negative impact on a baby’s health and even cause hip dysplasia. However, when done right, there are plenty of benefits of babywearing. Do not instigate a conversation about babywearing, but if you see that your friend is using her carrier incorrectly, you can gently point it out.
12. Stay-at-home vs working
Most new moms would prefer to stay home and take care of their little ones but are unable to do so due to financial constraints. You know that your friend is making the best choices for her family, so instead of comparing, focus on being supportive.
Pregnancy and childbirth take a toll on women, and it is estimated that 50-75% of all women experience postpartum depression. A new mom needs the love and support of her friends and family, so only intervene if you realize that her depression or anxiety symptoms are unusually severe.
Anita Fernandes has been writing extensively on health and wellness for over a decade. She has expertise in nutrition, fitness, public health, and weight loss and has contributed content to a variety of leading digital health publishers. Anita has a unique perspective on healthy living and lifestyle,as she has battled and overcome chronic back pains. She shares her experiences in an effort to help others overcome the physical and mental health problems that can sometimes seem insurmountable.
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