12 Taboo Topics for New Moms

Sponsored

ABC Mouse Banner

by: Erin Dower
New motherhood brings a bundle of joy — as well as a lot of prying questions, judgmental comments, and unwanted advice about raising a baby. We've compiled some awkward and awful real-life anecdotes from moms. Learn what topics call for caution or complete avoidance. Go ahead and share constructive parenting tips, but tread carefully, moms!
TouchySubjectsPostpartum,MomBreastfeedingNewborninHomeNursery
Breastfeeding vs. Bottle-Feeding
This is the "mother" of all sore subjects for new moms. Some mothers breastfeed for years, while others do it for months or weeks, and some don't try nursing at all — and that's all okay. Breastfeeding has great health benefits for babies, but pediatricians still say formula-feeding is a fine alternative. If breastfeeding vs. bottle-feeding comes up in conversation, be open to everyone's point of view and personal experience.
TouchySubjectsPostpartum,BabyWearingPlasticDiaper
Cloth vs. Disposable Diapers
Sure, cloth diapers are the "green" and old-fashioned option. But they can also be higher maintenance than disposable diapers. One new mom we know had multiple pushy offers from her mother-in-law to receive a cloth diaper service as a baby shower gift — but she knew it wouldn't fit her busy lifestyle as a working mother, so she declined. Avoid voicing strong opinions on how someone else should cover baby's bum.
TouchySubjectsPostpartum,BabyBoyWrappedinBlueBlanket
Whether to Circumcise
Circumcision is a hot topic of debate. The common practice of removing a male baby's foreskin has some risks and some benefits. The American Academy of Pediatrics, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Family Physicians, maintains that there is not enough data to medically recommend or oppose circumcision. Whether to do the procedure is a private decision for parents to make.
TouchySubjectsPostpartum,AfricanAmericanBabyGirlPlayingwithBlock
Baby's Name
Parents put months — or even years — into choosing a baby name. If a friend shares her list of baby name ideas and asks for your advice, let her know your favorites, but keep any negative comments about your least favorites to yourself. If you think her ultimate baby name pick is too trendy or too common, it's best to bite your tongue. She'll probably remember your feedback forever.
TouchySubjectsPostpartum,WomanHoldingBabyPushedinWheelchair
Birth Experience
Every woman has a different birth plan and childbirth experience. Whether it's a natural birth at home or a hospital birth with an epidural, to each her own. Remember that some women have a thrilling childbirth experience, and for others it is traumatic, so be sensitive if you start exchanging birth stories.
TouchySubjectsPostpartum,BabyBoyorGirlinGreenHoodie
Boy or Girl?
One of our staff members admitted, "I have made the mistake of assuming that a baby was a boy or a girl." If you meet a baby and you're not sure of the sex, hold off on saying "he" or "she" until you can get some clues from the parent. Ask something like, "What's your baby's name?" If people get confused about the sex of your infant, remember that it's a common mistake and proudly introduce your boy or girl.
TouchySubjectsPostpartum,MomWorkingonLaptopwithBabyinBackground
Working or Staying at Home
We all know the world has changed since Leave It to Beaver. Whether a mom returns to work or stays at home, each option has pros and cons and can bring mixed emotions. No one and no situation is perfect. Think of the common challenges facing every mother, and be supportive of each other rather than comparing and competing.
TouchySubjectsPostpartum,InfantBoyFrowningandCrying
Colic, Crying, or Fussiness
Babies cry. Sometimes a lot. You may be tempted to decode a baby's every cry, based on your own experience: "She's hungry." "Someone needs a nap." "She's colicky." "Another tooth is coming." Mother knows (or can at least guess) best, so leave it to her and her pediatrician to determine what's bothering a frequently fussy baby.
TouchySubjectsPostpartum,TripletGirlsinCribTogether
Conception and Fertility
It's impolite to ask about a baby's conception. "Some people asked, ‘Was it planned? Was it a surprise? How long did it take to get pregnant?'" one mom on our staff recalled. "I thought they were very personal questions."

Other staff members with twins have been asked, "Were they natural?" or "Did you have fertility treatment?" from people with inquiring minds. "I thought that was very rude to ask," one mom said.

TouchySubjectsPostpartum,AttachmentMomSnugglingBabyGirl
Parenting Style
No two mothers have the same exact child-rearing style. There's a wide range of parenting methods, and moms find what's best for them and their family. While books, articles, and blog comments may praise or bash attachment parenting or "Tiger Moms", parenting is not a science. Avoid commenting on another mom's methods, like saying she coddles too much.
TouchySubjectsPostpartum,HappyBabyBoySittingUp
Baby's Size and Development
Babies grow and reach developmental milestones at their own pace. Constant remarks on a baby's size and repeated questions about whether she's doing X yet (sitting up, crawling, walking, or talking) can be wearing on a mom, especially if her baby is way ahead of or behind the curve. "Sometimes it was tiring hearing about how big my babies were," said one mom on our staff.

"People used to always comment on the size of my son's head," said another mom on staff. "I could see it and didn't need to be reminded every day. Luckily his body caught up with his head size!"

TouchySubjectsPostpartum,TiredMotherHoldingNewBaby
Mother's Body After Baby
The postpartum weeks and months are tough enough without the whacky questions and insensitive comments moms receive. A few moms on our staff recall hearing, "You look tired" right after their baby was born. Duh! Another comment a new mom hopes never to hear is "Wow! You look great — you finally lost the baby weight." Finally?

Every mom has her own stories like these. What crazy comments and questions did you get as a new mom? And which of these conversation "rules" have you broken when talking with other moms?