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What to Say and What Not to Say to a Mom-to-Be

Understand pregnancy for what it is: A wonderful and beautiful experience, wrapped up in a colossal shift in hormones! Not only is the new mother dealing with the uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy, but also with anxieties and fears of motherhood (not to mention feeling like a beached whale half the time!). New mothers need a tremendous amount of compassion and support throughout the nine months of pregnancy and beyond. Here are a few things to keep in mind when offering advice, support or criticism to a new mother.

On the Issue of Pregnancy and Postpartum Weight:

What to say (with sincerity):

  • Honey, you look terrific!

  • Pregnancy becomes you.

  • You need to gain weight, our baby's well-being depends on it!

  • Honey, you just had a baby! You look great for just having a baby!

  • You're having our baby! That automatically makes you beautiful!

What NOT to say:

  • Wow, you're BIG for____months!

  • Well, at least people know you're pregnant!

  • Should you be eating that? You don't want to gain too much weight.

  • Hey, try breastfeeding! That should take the weight off!

  • Oh, I didn't realize you already had your baby!

On the Issue of Bottle Feeding vs. Breastfeeding

What to say:

  • Let's take a breastfeeding class together.

  • I know a friend who's breastfeeding her child. I'll put you in touch with her.

  • Breastfeeding is a beautiful experience to enjoy with your baby.

  • There are lots of great formulas out there for you to choose from if breastfeeding doesn't work out for you. Talk to your doctor to find out which formula will work best for your baby.

What NOT to say:

  • Breastfeeding is for mothers who are too cheap to buy formula.

  • I wouldn't breastfeed if I were you. I tried for three months and gave up because it was too hard.

  • Formula is unhealthy for babies. He'll be sick all the time.

  • Mothers who love their babies breastfeed their babies.

  • Breastfeeding is "dirty" and perverted, especially if done in public.

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