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5 Ways to Make New Mom Friends

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You're a mom! Congratulations! Or shall we say, “Welcome to the club.” It's time to bond with total strangers over leaky boobs, poop production and other topics that would repel even the friendliest of people under normal circumstances. You'll find yourself sharing (and oversharing) at parks and playgroups with women from all walks of life — women with whom you may have only one thing in common: motherhood. Sure, it's a great opportunity to make new friends, but it's also a great way to stomp on social land mines, blowing yourself into “mommy oblivion” (otherwise known as that dirty park bench in the hot sun). To help you make the right impression, we compiled a list of things new moms say that could get them kicked to the curb like the full contents of a Diaper Genie:

“Jake's off the charts. He's so big and healthy.”
“This isn't the county fair,” says Wendy Haldeman MN, RN, IBCLC and co-founder of the Pump Station and Nurtury in California. “One of the things that concerns me most when you put a group of mothers together is that they start to compare their babies. Every baby excels in different areas, and they all end up in pretty much the same place.” So keep your bragging to a minimum, at least until you know the mom better. Once you become fast friends, there will be lots of opportunities to share your excitement over milestones. Related faux pas: Your little Madeline is tiny! That's so cute!”

“My daughter has been sleeping through the night since she was 2 weeks old.”
In the mommy world, this is like saying, “I won the lottery and don't ever have to worry about money again!” Congratulations, but you'd never share this news in a homeless shelter. Think of it like this: Most of the women in your playgroup haven't had a full night's sleep since their second trimester. Instead, share your sleep success stories with your own mother (who will probably curse you too, since you didn't sleep through the night at 2 weeks either). Related faux pas: “Simon just loves his naps. He'll fall asleep anywhere!”

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“You didn't circumcise your son? What's he going to do when he grows up? How humiliating!”
OK, maybe you wouldn't actually say, “How humiliating,” but it's clear that's what you think. Your shock at another parent's personal choice is obvious, and judgmental behavior won't endear you to anyone. “[As moms] we need to spend more time supporting each other's attempts at mothering,” says Haldeman. “Everyone has a different belief system, and we should use these differences to learn from each other. What's right for one family isn't always right for another, but that doesn't make it wrong.” Keep your opinions to yourself. Related faux pas: “We didn't circumcise because we think our son was born perfect.”

“I would never feed my baby formula!”
“To nurse or not to nurse?” That question has divided new moms since the invention of the “wet nurse.” Breastfeeding versus bottle feeding is an extremely personal choice, and it is every mom's right to decide what is best for her baby — and for herself. Moreover, you don't know what circumstances may have led to her decision. What if the mom wanted to breastfeed but couldn't? Comments like this suggest “I think what you're doing is wrong.” And if a mom feels like you are judging her choices, you can bet you won't make her playdate list anytime soon. Related faux pas: “I can't believe you're still nursing her.”

“You're working? I could never let somebody else raise my baby.”
There are a million reasons why moms work “outside the home.” (We qualify that because we know being home with kids is a full-time job!) The reasons range anywhere from necessity to loving their careers, but one thing is for sure: Almost no one goes back to work because she doesn't want to be involved in raising her child. Working moms are just as wrapped up in the day-to-day tantrums, worries, fears, triumphs and general tedium associated with child-rearing as stay-at-home moms — and to imply (if not outright say) otherwise makes you sound narrow-minded, and a little foolish. Related faux pas: “You're not working? I could never stay home full-time with a baby. Aren't you bored?”

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