10 Questions You Shouldn’t Ask a New Mom

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1. When are you due?

1. When are you due?
It's a seemingly harmless question, except when asked to a hormonal new mother two weeks after giving birth.

2. Did you give birth naturally?

2. Did you give birth naturally?
I respect anyone who chooses natural childbirth but would rather not be judged for choosing to get an epidural.

3. Is it a boy or girl?

3. Is it a boy or girl?
If the little one’s name doesn't make it obvious and the baby isn’t wearing pink or blue, it's ok. You'll figure this out soon enough without having to ask.

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4. Are you breastfeeding?

 4. Are you breastfeeding?
The last thing a new mother needs is a guilt trip over how she's feeding her baby. Besides, it's really not your business.

5. Is the baby eating enough? How often does she go?

5. Is the baby eating enough? How often does she go?
Unless you're a doctor, nurse, lactation consultant or recruited expert, don't give a new mom another reason to worry about feedings and wet diapers.

6. Are you getting any sleep?

6. Are you getting any sleep?
If the baby is a few weeks old, the answer to this question will always be no. Sleep deprivation is a normal -- and expected -- part of being a new mother.

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7. Are you planning to go back to work?

7. Are you planning to go back to work?
This question can be rephrased in a number of ways: Can you afford to be a full-time stay-at-home mom? How will you possibly be able to leave your baby with a stranger? How are you going to manage working and having a kid? Just don’t go there and you’ll both escape the stress this question will cause.

8. How much weight did you gain?

 8. How much weight did you gain?
Losing the baby weight is a long process for many of us and one that I didn't want to start thinking about when my kids were a couple of weeks old.

9. Are you sure you should be going to the (fill in the blank) with the baby?

9. Are you sure you should be going to the (fill in the blank) with the baby?
Having an infant doesn’t mean you’ve been put under house arrest. Sometimes, all a new mom wants is a chance to get out of the house without being judged. At times, just going to the supermarket with my newborn son (exciting, right?) was all the change of scenery I needed.

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10. Are you planning on having another?

10. Are you planning on having another?
I really couldn’t imagine this right after giving birth. Please don’t ask.

See also:
10 Things Never to Say to a Pregnant Woman
5 Things You Shouldn’t Say to a Bride

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49 thoughts on “10 Questions You Shouldn’t Ask a New Mom

  1. the question about breast feeding and going to work is surely annoying………… I AGREE

  2. Whoa, I have had four kids and none of these questions would annoy me!  In fact you have outlawed everything fun to talk about after having a baby!  What is safe to ask? 

  3. Do you think the alternative questions in # 7 are more stressful and complicated?

  4. Most moms offended by most of these questions just need to get over it.  Why is everyone so easily offended by everything?  Get a grip.  Most people most of the time are simply trying to be nice – friendly.  If they asked no questions, they would be uncaring.  

  5. soon ill become a dad..and yet i still nervous about whats going 2 happen..since it was my first time 2 have a baby..

  6. As a mom I can understand most of them but Is it a boy or girl? Geez! Lighten up.

  7. All these questions except the first are normal questions for friends and family to ask. Even strangers haven’t seemed reluctant to discuss some of these topics. I  have been a little irritated when people have asked my daughter after the birth of her second baby: “Are you finished now?”

  8. All these questions except the first are normal questions for friends and family to ask. Even strangers haven’t seemed reluctant to discuss some of these topics. I  have been a little irritated when people have asked my daughter after the birth of her second baby: “Are you finished now?”

  9. I think asking a new mom this question right after giving birth is really unnecessary.  I mean, come on, just let the new mom enjoy this baby she just had.  Farther on down the road, some parents decide to have more children and some parents decide not to have more children.  This is a very personal choice.  I don’t think this question is too rude to ask, but I just think it’s too hard for a new mom to answer right away.

  10. I feel that deciding when and where a newborn baby is taken out of the house is up to the baby’s parents and only the parents.  As long as the baby is dressed appropriately for the weather and is kept safe, I don’t think the new parents should be judged about this matter.

  11. I absolutely hated it when people asked me this question.  My weight has always been a pretty touchy subject with me and anyone who knows me would agree.  I think that this is a very nosy question and is totally unnecessary to ask.

  12. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with asking new parents this question.  Just make sure you’re not judgmental in any way about their answer because it’s up to each individual parent to decide what works best for their own family.  Just make sure to be respectful of the new parent’s choices.

  13. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with asking new parents this question.  Just make sure you’re not judgmental in any way about their answer because it’s up to each individual parent to decide what works best for their own family.  Just make sure to be respectful of the new parent’s choices.

  14. I think this is one of the stupidest questions someone could ask a new parent.  Even people who have never had children should know that new parents don’t get a lot of sleep.  If someone did ask me this question I wouldn’t get offended; my most likely response would be “Duh!”

  15. I think this is one of the stupidest questions someone could ask a new parent.  Even people who have never had children should know that new parents don’t get a lot of sleep.  If someone did ask me this question I wouldn’t get offended; my most likely response would be “Duh!”

  16. I totally agree with the author’s response to this question.  As a first-time parent, I was already high-strung and worried about everything anyway.  I didn’t need anyone giving me any extra reasons to worry.

  17. Back when my daughter was a baby, this was one of the nosiest questions people asked me.  I feel that as long as I’m feeding my baby in a healthy way, it’s not anyone’s business which method I’m using.  Also, I think this question is just kind of plain rude to ask.

  18. This question is slightly on the rude side.  I mean it’s not the worst thing that can be said, but I feel that it is really no one’s business whether I chose to get an epidural or not.  If I want some close family members or friends to know that I got an epidural, I will tell them.  Really, why does it matter how I gave birth?  The thing that really matters is that in Feb. 1996 I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl.

  19. I agree with this first one.  Although most of the weight came off relatively soon after giving birth, I did still retain some of it.  I was a home health aide and was at an elderly female client’s house a few months after giving birth and she asked me when I was due.  Normally this question wouldn’t have bothered me at all, but since those crazy hormones were there, it seriously offended me.

  20. It depends on who asks these questions!  If its a close friend or a close relative, these and many more caring questions will be asked since most moms rely with confidence on these people they know are close to them.  Strangers or anyone that does not know the mother well, should refrain from most of these questions should make short and sweet comments along with their congratulation.  Bottom line, don’t ask questions that are none of your business.  Put yourself in the mother’s place and don’t ask a question that you would not want to hear if you were her.  End of discussion.

  21. It depends on who asks these questions!  If its a close friend or a close relative, these and many more caring questions will be asked since most moms rely with confidence on these people they know are close to them.  Strangers or anyone that does not know the mother well, should refrain from most of these questions should make short and sweet comments along with their congratulation.  Bottom line, don’t ask questions that are none of your business.  Put yourself in the mother’s place and don’t ask a question that you would not want to hear if you were her.  End of discussion.

  22. The author says in #6 “Sleep deprivation is a normal — and expected — part of being a new mother.”
    If you put aside ethno-centric views, study natural practices, look around the world and into history, and get co-operation, I think you might avoid sleep deprivation.  Open your mind to changes of habits, attitudes, customs, and practices.  While not a parent, I have adopted a more natural attitude and practice.  I never have sleep problems and every adult I know does, parent or not.  Start with (a mother) Tine Thevenin’s book The Family Bed.

  23. Pretty silly if you ask me. I don’t think many new moms would be offended at these questions.

  24. Those questions aren’t that bad. How about”Were you big before the baby?”  “Who’s the daddy?” “Did you plan to have this kid?”  “Who’s paying the bills, since you’re single and don’t work?”

  25. Had this happen after a couple of my babies were born.  It is absolutely devestating!  I didn’t think I looked that bad!

  26. Any doctor worth his degree will tell you NOT to bring a newborn to a public store?mall because of all the germs and strangers trying to get in the baby’s face.  Remember, newborns have not had all of their innoculations yet and could very easily become infected.  You never know who’s shopping at your local mall!

  27. I think the only new moms that might be sensitive to that question are ones who were very overweight to begin with. 

  28. I don’t think that’s a distasteful question to ask a new mom.  I think the “rephrased” questions are in bad taste.  “can you afford”… etc. 

  29. well i think the advice is quite relevant and appropriate… 1 hav a six month old daughter and some of these questions really start to irritate by the time theyve been asked 100’s of times…. ppl just cant keep their gobs shut and some of them would be asking questions despite knowing the answers welll ….

  30. Perhaps the scale is marked in kilograms.  One kilogram = 2.2 pounds so the scale could measure up to approximately 286 lbs.

  31. Most if the questions are rude unless you know the mom, but for heaven’s sake RD, quit perpetuating the idea that we must/should be offended by something as harmless as a question. We Americans ate already too thin skinned as it is. If you don’t want to answer, DON’T. People have the right to ask anything. We have the right not to answer.

  32. What’s left to talk about?!  Yes, some new mothers will be overly sensitive (like the author apparently), but many new mothers are eager to talk about things like feeding, sleeping, and yes, even poop, especially with other mothers. Many new mothers feel very isolated and overwhelmed with a new baby, and it helps to talk to other people. If you’re afraid to ask questions, the mother might feel that you just don’t care. Everyone talks or jokes about sleep issues. It’s an easy topic if you want to bond with other parents. Heck, there is even a new sitcom about it coming out this fall. 
     

  33. I certainly don’t agree with the majority of no-no questions.  For heavens sake – if the parent insists on giving the child a non-gender name, I don’t want to have to refer to the child as an “it” until I see the diapers changed!  A question about how many hours does the child go between feedings at night is an opening for conversation.  With the posting of these supposedly offensive questions, I wouldn’t bother to visit a family with a new child.  Sounds like the author definitely was from either the west or east coast.  Midwesterners aren’t huffy about these questions.

    1. And again, generalizing about east and west coasters. Like I mentioned before, I’m sure people from every and any place would “raise the same eyebrows”, if you get my meaning.

  34. I’d say you shouldn’t ask ANY woman when she is due unless you know for a fact that she is pregnant!

    1. When I was in my early 20’s, I had someone ask me when I was due.  Thing is, I wasn’t pregnant.  I am in my mid-40’s and have NEVER been pregnant (not by my choice, but that’s another story).  I happened to be wearing a smock top that day, and it looked like a maternity shirt.  The person was actually embarrassed when I answered “I’m not pregnant.”  On a humorous note, I remember someone once said “Never ask a woman if she is pregnant unless you see a baby emerging from her body at that very moment!”

  35. does anyone else find the numbers on the scale very funny? the highest number is 130, really? a scale like that would have bothered me a lot more than any of these questions!

  36. Very good advice for people you don’t know well.  For those one knows well, the information is probably known already. 

    1. And yet I’m sure people from every and any society would say the same thing.

  37. Just out of curiosity, what questions are you supposed to be able to ask a new mom?  I have 5 children and none of these questions would have offended me when asked in an appropriate, non-judgemental manner. 

    1. I have 2 kids and 2 grandkids. Neither my daughter or I were ever insulted by questions like those listed! I also wonder as you do Amyjolfin, what questions do we ask?

    2. looks like all we’re allowed to say to a new mom now is “hi” …. i think the author is too uptight and sensitive. smile a little.

    3. looks like all we’re allowed to say to a new mom now is “hi” …. i think the author is too uptight and sensitive. smile a little.

    4. You can ask “Can I help you with anything?” and “How are you feeling?”.  Although I believe the author is a tad hormonal and sensitive, I do recall being taken aback by some of the questions I got from strangers.  I have twins and I’ve had everyone from a waitress to a man standing behind me in line at Target ask if I used IVF.  And if they were donor sperm children.  And if I chose their genders.  One old man on the beach yelled “Octomom!” to me after he greeted my sons.  The problem is not about people being oversensitive, it’s about strangers having absolutely no manners.  Manners are a wonderful thing.

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