We've all been there. Utterly sleep deprived and walking around like a zombie fuelled on caffeine and cake. Well I'm not sure it's all of us really - I convinced myself I wasn't the only one to get through those months. You drag yourself to a coffee morning or baby group and smile nervously at some of the mums, as you're well aware this is the only human interaction you'll get today. And then one of them mentions something under their breath that makes you think "really? did she really just say that?" It turns you into a Tiger Mum, fiercely protective of your little one. If only you'd only had a couple more hours sleep, you'd (probably) be much quicker at thinking of something appropriate to say.
Unfortunately during this time, we're all a little bit sensitive and I've always thought that a little more care over what you say to others - you know, that filter that we sometimes turn off after a glass of wine - goes a long way. So here's a few phrases that you should only say to a new mum at your peril...
-Your little one is tiny! She's so much smaller than X over there.
-You little one is huge! She's so much bigger than X over there.
-You're breastfeeding him again? Maybe that's why he's so big.
-You're not making your own food from scratch?
-Maybe you should just give her water, then she should sleep through the night.
-Is she not walking yet? My girl was walking months ago.
-You let her watch TV? I've heard children who watch TV before the age of 5 are mentally scarred for life.
-You're not breastfeeding?
-She's such an easy baby, it must be a piece of cake.
-It's only going to get worse and worse from here.
My personal favourite was people telling me what an easy baby. It used to drive me mad, as I'm not sure it was so easy during the witching hour every night! Because really, it's not easy for any of us. Every baby and family are different, so why not show a little bit of empathy and just support each other. A friend of mine told me the other day that she felt so alone and judged at these comments, but equally never wanted to say anything because she didn't know whether she was over-reacting. This made me so very sad. We should be building each other up, rather than knocking each other down with the odd barbed comment.
The irony is that now we are more settled into a routine, the sleep deprivation is starting the ease off, and everything is easier. Sleep really is that magic ingredient we all need. But until the broken nights come to an end, let's just remind ourselves how amazing we all are.
This article first appeared on Bridie By The Sea