New mamas are just about as strong as they come. We feed babies around the clock. We become accustomed to getting by on little sleep. We are adjusting to a monumental life transition. And we're doing it all in the ways that are right for our babies, our families and our selves.
So, honestly, the last thing we need is passive judgment from others. In a new blog post about 10 things never to say to a new mom, Khloe Kardashian is just saying what so many of us are already thinking.
"You never know the private struggles someone could be going through and how terrible it may be making them feel," says Kardashian, explaining questions about whether she was breastfeeding only added to her sense of guilt when she decided formula was best for her and baby True.
According to a 2016 study published in the journal Maternal & Child Nutrition, 67% of formula-feeding moms felt some degree of guilt and 76% of them believed they needed to defend their decision. On the other hand, breastfeeding moms reported feeling guilt about neglecting other members of the family or obligations.
That goes to prove just how (unfortunately) easy it is for moms to put pressure on themselves—so the very last thing we need is to feel like we have to justify our personal decisions to other people.
As Kardashian continues, also off-limits should be all questions about child birth and why you don't have time to go out with friends, which is an unfair accusation. "A new mom is likely already sad about this, so this statement will most definitely cause tears—or anger," Kardashian says. "Not a good idea."
In fact, it's worth reconsidering what we ask women about before the baby is even born. As Kardashian shared on Instagram earlier this week, she experienced the pregnancy side-effect of fuller lips and the comments she received from strangers made her feel unfairly self-conscious. "So my lips look crazy and massive," she said as a disclaimer for still-to-air footage of Keeping Up With the Kardashians shot during her pregnancy. "Trust me I know and I HATED it!"
Of course, often times these questions or comments are backed by good intentions—or just because it seems like a "normal" topic of conversation. Case and point: If I had a dollar for every time a well-meaning friend, family member or stranger asked how my baby was sleeping, my little one would have a pretty hefty college fund. But while I came up with a pretty good canned response—"he's a better eater than sleeper"—it was always an unpleasant reminder about how challenging our nighttime situation was proving to be.
Kardashian seems to be in the same boat as me, saying, "never ever ever bring up sleep" because "sleep deprivation is literally a form of torture." #truth
So, what can you say to a new mom? Plenty! Try a few of these suggestions on during your next conversation with a new mom:
- You look beautiful.
- Your baby is perfect.
- And, best of all: Do you want to take a nap while I do the dishes?