friendship

What NOT to say at mothers' group.

Zip the lips on these 10 topics.

Like your first day of school, it’s a right of passage for new mums.  At some point in those early, sleep-deprived, milky weeks of motherhood you will venture, possibly un-showered and smelling faintly of baby poo, to your local Early Childhood Centre to join a mothers’ group.

You may not have friends with kids and have realised that bonding with these strangers, who just happened to pop out a baby at the same time as you, is the key to surviving the rollercoaster that is the first year of motherhood.

Remember, all new mums have sensitivities around their babies and motherhood so conversation at mothers’ groups can be a veritable minefield. To sidestep the most contentious issues, here are the top 10 things not to say at mothers’ group:

1.  “Giving birth is so easy.  What is all the fuss about?”

So your baby painlessly slipped out of you greeted by a chorus of angels.  Guess what, the mother whose baby split her from her vagina to her a-hole probably doesn’t want your perfect labour rubbed in her face.

"This is probably the most controversial topic to broach at mothers’ group. Many of the mums who are bottle-feeding are not doing so by choice and have had a traumatic journey to arrive at this method of feeding." (Image via iStock)

2. “Is that breast milk in that bottle?  Why aren’t you breastfeeding?  You know it’s best for your baby, don’t you?”

This is probably the most controversial topic to broach at mothers’ group.  Many of the mums who are bottle-feeding are not doing so by choice and have had a traumatic journey to arrive at this method of feeding.  Breastfeeding can be tough for so many reasons so mums don’t want to hear how easy breastfeeding is for you, how long your nipples are, how you make breastmilk soap and how you squirt breastmilk into your baby’s eye to cure its conjunctivitis (actually those last two topics are quite interesting, but you get the idea...).

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3. “I weigh 5 kilos less than I did before I conceived little Johnny.”

Lucky you!  For many mums it takes months, if not years to shift the post-baby weight (if ever...).  It’s great that you are body-confident but be sensitive of others coming to terms with their post-baby figure.  And no one wants to hear about how breastfeeding six times a day got rid of all your cellulite...

4. “There’s a reason that dummies are called dummies: they make your baby dumb!”

Ouch!  Know your audience people!  At least 50% of the babies in your group will be latched onto a dummy at some point so best to keep any negative opinions about the use of soothers to yourself.

"Know your audience people! At least 50% of the babies in your group will be latched onto a dummy at some point so best to keep any negative opinions about the use of soothers to yourself." (Image via iStock)

5. “Pre-packaged food is fast food - it’s bad for your baby.”

As with breastfeeding, don’t comment critically on what other mums are putting into their babies’ mouths.  Introducing solids is a messy, time-consuming and frustrating process.  You don’t know the mother’s particular situation or her baby’s food preferences.

6. “Keep your baby away from little Johnny!”

As babies start to move around, they will inevitably crawl over each other. They seem to love to poke each other in the eyes, may scratch one another and there may even be some biting (eek!). Of course you need to ensure the safety of your baby but don’t act like some kind of beefcake bodyguard; your baby is learning how to engage with and react to other babies. Do not get out your nail clippers and start trimming other babies’ nails!

7. “He’s only four months old and little Johnny can already write his name...”

Your baby’s crawling at 5 months?  Walking at 9 months?  Finishing university at 11 months? Other mums can clearly observe your child’s development for themselves, there’s no need to brag about your baby’s miraculous skills (save your boasts for your partner and the grandparents who will listen to you wax lyrical on this topic for hours).

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"Keep your childcare horror stories to yourself, especially around the time when mums start going back to work." (Image via iStock)

8. “How much do you earn?”

Don’t ask specific questions to ascertain whether going back to work is financially viable or not.  People don’t like to talk about their salaries in any situation and at mothers’ group, this is just plain awkward.

 9. “Did you hear about the paedophile working at that Childcare Centre down the road?”

Keep your childcare horror stories to yourself, especially around the time when mums start going back to work.  Leaving your baby in someone else’s care is one of the hardest things that a mother has to do and it doesn’t need to be made any more traumatic.

10.  “Did you know your baby has a flat head?”

Yes of course the poor mum knows, and is probably extremely sensitive about it.  Don’t comment on other babies’ issues unless the mum brings it up herself and is soliciting advice.

What have I missed?  Have you put your foot in it at mothers’ group? Share your experiences below.

Want more? Try these: 

We are the most messed up mothers' group ever created.

The 5 kinds of mums you'll meet at mothers' group. 

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