Read This Before You Give Advice to a New Mother

Posted by a newly pregnant woman (me) whilst on holidays- hence the photo!!


Recently a patient of mine, who was a new mother, came into my rooms and broke down after being approached in a cafe by a stranger whilst bottle feeding her child. An elderly woman, probably well-meaning, came up and asked her if she had issues breast feeding and ‘ oh what a pity it was that the baby was on the bottle already.’


Cue the look of shock/horror on my face, which I quickly had to hide because I didn’t want the patient to know I was utterly flabbergasted by this other woman’s highly intrusive comment into her life.


Wow – where’s the boundary? When you see a woman with a child you have NO idea about her story. You don’t know if the child was conceived accidentally on a holiday or if time and thousands of dollars were saved, borrowed and hidden away to pay for the medical bills to conceive him or her. You don’t know if the mother’s birth was so easy she sneezed and it was done, or so traumatic she needed too many stitches and the obstetrician lost count. So how can we, as a complete stranger, pass judgement or give advice?


The truth is when we look at a mother and baby we know nothing about their story.


To the woman breast feeding in the park – go for it – good on you! The immune benefits to your child are fabulous. But by the same token if you are bottle feeding (out of preference, because you had supply issues, because your nipples were scratched and looked like a war zone, because you had to go back to work at 3 months to support your family and breast feeding wasn’t feasible) – good on you too, you are feeding your baby and doing a bloody amazing job.


Both women are trying their best. Both women are feeding their children. And both women are nailing motherhood.


Let us stop the judgement and celebrate mother’s for all the amazing things they are doing and trying to do. And if you have a comment or piece of advice PLEASE (oh pretty pretty please) ask if this under slept, exhausted women who has a child requiring her attention for its every single need wants to hear it.