12 Things Dads Should Avoid Saying To New Mothers

12 Things Dads Should Avoid Saying To New Mothers

News dads, gather round, there’s something you should know. You know how one of the reasons you fell in love with your partner was her great sense of humour and ability to laugh at herself? Yeah, well, that’s gone. At least for a little while. The hormones, the sleep deprivation and the lack of confidence in her mothering abilities may have left your partner feeling a little less humorous than usual. So, just to be on the safe side, until your partner’s sense of humour returns (and don’t worry, it will!), you might want to avoid making any of the following comments:

What Not Say #1: “Can’t You Stop That Baby Crying?”

What she’ll likely be thinking: Can’t you? This is your baby too. Why don’t you offer to help out and soothe the crying if it’s so bloody easy? I’m not leaving her to cry because I love hearing the sound of that screechy newborn cry. I’m not a sadistic mother, I’m trying my best here.

What Not Say #2: “It’s Your Turn to Change The Nappy!”

What she’ll likely be thinking: My turn? My turn? Is that how this works then, an equal division of labour split down the middle? Only, I didn’t notice the time you spent lugging around an enormous bump? And I mustn’t have been paying attention during your half of the childbirth. For some reason, I can only remember my own efforts in that department. And, wow, aren’t you a discrete feeder? I haven’t noticed you whip even one boob out to feed our child. Oh, and I hate to be pedantic, but you spend half of every day at the office, and I change every nappy whilst you’re gone, so surely this is actually your turn.

What Not Say #3: “Honey, You Go Out, I’m Happy To Babysit!”

What she’ll likely be thinking: Great, thanks so much, here’s your $20. You were always my favourite character in the Babysitter Club books. Oh wait, hold on, weren’t those books about a group of school friends? Hmmm, now that I come to think of it, I can’t even think of one dad member in the club. Could that be because, perhaps, dads are dads, not babysitters? If I choose to go out, you’ll still be parenting, not babysitting, right? So please, please, don’t ruin a perfectly nice offer by implying that you would be doing me a huge favour by looking after your own child.

What Not Say #4: “I Think I’m Too Exhausted After Work To Help With The Baby Tonight”

What she’ll likely be thinking: Yeah, it must be great being on a dad contract with flexi time. Oh wait, no, that’s not a thing. TAKE THE BABY. Since I opened my eyes this morning, through each breastfeed, each spit up, each nappy change, I have been waiting for you to walk in through the door at exactly 7pm. I love the baby, and I love getting to spend this time with the baby, until 7pm. Then it’s your turn. I need to use the toilet without an audience, I need to have a bath, but mostly, for about ten minutes, I need to feel like myself again. So. Please. TAKE. THE. BABY.

What Not Say #5: “Must Be Nice Hanging Out With The Baby All Day!”

What she’ll likely be thinking: Yes, it is nice. I love it, but it’s also really hard. I’m not just hanging out with the baby, I’m looking after her. I’m essentially her slave. I feed, change, wipe, soothe, burp, cuddle, sing to, talk to, carry, and entertain her. I am her teacher, her nurse, her best friend, her protector and her butler. I put her first every single second throughout the day. It is nice, but it’s exhausting.

What Not Say #6: “Must Be Nice Having Coffee And Cake All Day With Your Friends!”

What she’ll likely be thinking: Oh yes, it’s great. Plus it’s really relaxing, because the baby usually demands feeds for half the time we spend out of the house. And the other half of the time she’s pooing, or weeing, or spitting up, and dropping things on the floor repeatedly. It’s so relaxing. Thanks for completely underselling what I do all day.

What Not Say #7: “Why Don’t We Start Formula Feeding?”

What she’ll likely be thinking: Look, maybe you think you are being supportive, by offering me another option, but you’re not. You’re making me feel unsupported in my choice to breastfeed. I want to breastfeed. Sure, it’s hard. It might hurt for the first few weeks, and I may end up exhausted from the night feeds, but that doesn’t mean I want to stop. Instead of waving a bottle in my face each time I complain, can’t you come up with real ways to help me? If I’m complaining about sore boobs, run me a bath and let me have an uninterrupted soak. If I’m tired because I’ve been up all night, take the baby downstairs and let me have a lie in the next morning.

Don’t forget to read BellyBelly’s article about how crucial a partner’s support is to breastfeeding success, here.

What Not Say #8: “We Never Have Sex Anymore!”

What she’ll likely be thinking: Call me when you’ve pushed a baby out, then we can talk about sex. I may still be sore from birth, I’m definitely exhausted, and I’m at the mercy of my hormones. And, no offence, but my hormones just really don’t seem that interested in sex at the moment. It takes every ounce of strength just to get through the day. Having a new baby is exhausting, and though I’ve never been happier, I really don’t feel like sex at the end of a long day. We will have sex again, one day, probably when you stop asking me for it, because the fact you are doing that is really making me dislike you.

You might also like to read this article, Why Doesn’t She Want Sex After Having A Baby?

What Not Say #9: “What Do You Do All Day?!”

What she’ll likely be thinking: Wow, what a tactful question. Thank you, that has really made me feel valued. Remember that time I had a bath for one hour while you stayed downstairs with the baby? You soothed, you sang, you burped, you changed nappies and you cuddled. I do that. And more. All day long.

What Not Say #10: “My Mum Thinks…”

What she’ll likely be thinking: I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but I really don’t care what your mother thinks. I can tell from her facial expressions and snidey comments that she thinks I am doing everything wrong. I don’t care. She has raised her children, now it’s our turn to raise ours.

What Not Say #11: “How/When Are You Going To Lose The Baby Weight?”

What she’ll likely be thinking: Well, I’ve already tried giving birth, and that seems to have worked out pretty well. Next I’ll probably begin an intensive routine of waiting for my uterus to shrink back down, and see what difference that makes. Thanks for asking though, I wasn’t feeling quite self-conscious enough before. At least now I am fully aware that you have noticed that my body has changed. Did you see my stretchmarks, too?

What Not Say #12: “Working Hard?”

What she’ll likely be thinking: I know, this is a joke. I can tell by the smug look on your face. Yes, ok, you just walked in from work, and i’ve sat on the sofa with a glass of wine in my hand, and a sleeping baby on my chest. But five minutes earlier, I was running round clearing up snotty tissues, muslin cloths, dirty nappies and soft toys. What you’re seeing now, is the first time I have sat down all day, the first minute I’ve had to even think about a glass of wine. So please, please don’t make jokes about it. I’m too tired to explain why it’s not funny.

It sounds like a lot of rules, and you’re probably wondering what it is you are allowed to say. Well, that’s simple. You can say what a great job your partner is doing, what a great mother she is, and how lucky your baby is to have such a great mother. Say that, please, and nothing else. She won’t ever tire of hearing it.

Don’t worry, these rules won’t apply forever. Just until the hormones and sleep deprivation die down, and your partner is feeling more like her old self again. Then feel free to make as many wisecracks as you want.

Last Updated: March 28, 2015




  1. WARNING RANT IN PROGRESS: Wow, I couldn’t even finish reading this. This is the b**chiest thing I’ve ever seen from this website. (I usually love this website.) As anyone who’s visited my Facebook page knows, I’m a mother of two beautiful baby boys and if my partner ever said “Go ahead, I’ll be glad to babysit” I sure as hell am not going to be thinking what’s on this. I’ll be thinking: “Finally, some me time.” I appreciate my partner’s willingness to go to work everyday to pay for the things we need. I sure as hell am not going to be thinking and I quote: “Yeah, it must be great being on a dad contract with flexi time. Oh wait, no, that’s not a thing. TAKE THE BABY. Since I opened my eyes this morning, through each breastfeed, each spit up, each nappy change, I have been waiting for you to walk in through the door at exactly 7pm. I love the baby, and I love getting to spend this time with the baby, until 7pm. Then it’s your turn. I need to use the toilet without an audience, I need to have a bath, but mostly, for about ten minutes, I need to feel like myself again. So. Please. TAKE. THE. BABY.” I’ll be thinking: “I love this man and am SO lucky to have one that’s willing to be the man I know he is and help support our wonderful children.” There are too many “Dads” out there that say things like “I can’t do this, sorry” and walk out of the mother and child’s life. I am so disappointed in Belly Belly for allowing this through editorial. There are so many things wrong with this post. None of it even considers what the father actually contributes.

    1. It was written tongue in cheek Elizabeth 😉 BellyBelly has some very serious, heavy topics, so we do like to lighten it up sometimes. Although it often gets many comments from mothers who have heard one or many of these things and felt quite hurt. We all react differently to different comments, we all have different feelings, but it was all said tongue in cheek.

      1. Ya this whole thing may sound very b” chy but to b honest i have personally felt this way. When my son was born till now (but now ive grown use to it) i have felt very jealous, unapprieciated, the only one caring for our son. My son is almost two and i can count on one hand how many times ive even had to just relax. My boyfriend was hardly every there and that excludes him from working. Job is a job and i understand that but there is other responsiblities like our son then just goin out partying, going to bars, and looking for every reason to not b home. I work two jobs, come home and care for our son, take care of the house and pets, and anything that needs to b done at home while he was always out. It hurt knowing the one i loved never wanting to b home and b there for our son. He never helped and even if he did take our son for 20min to let me shower he made it seem like a favor and hold it over my head. And when i did get chances to me time he played the guilt trip or made me feel i didnt deserve it. There is some truth to this stuff posted on belly belly. Some women do feel this way. Feel like they are a single parent caring for an infant and a overgrown baby whose suppose to b a father and a partner.

    2. I hear you but everyone is different if you dont agree keep scrolling but I fully agree with this and love the fact that they posted it and see you dont like it I do like it but that doesn’t mean either one of us is more right about the matter then the other is keep calm and just don’t stress about it not worth stressing over 🙂

  2. I loved this… Men say things in the wrong way and without thinking a lot of the time. Giving dads a heads up and explaining why we would get mad about things is great because a new mom doesn’t usually have the composure or energy to explain it this well. My husband was really bad about the dad flex time thing the first time around… He would say things like “sure you can go to the movies, as long as its a late show so you can put the baby down first.” I would get so mad over this, but now our little man is older and my husband loves watching our son. I realize now that my husband was just extremely nervous and worried about watching a newborn on his own and he still wasn’t used to being responsible for someone other than himself. Pregnant now with our second and hubby plans to keep the baby home with him on his days off. It’s just a stressful learning experience for both parents and clear communication and thoughtfulness is key!!

  3. The next time I see my mother I am going to give a special hug and kiss because she must have raised me right. I would never in my wildest dreams would I say any of those things to my wife nor act like that. As soon as I got home I knew that I had baby duty. When they woke up at night I went and fed and changed them. When my wife needed to go shopping, I stayed home with the baby. Why? Because I respected my wife and felt our marriage was a partnership. And with all partnerships relied on our own strengths and weaknesses to cover all that needed to be done.

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