1. Hold it in
So, your mummy mate’s not burping her baby the way your health visitor suggested, but if it’s working, let her get on with it! We know it’s hard to hold your tongue when you think your way is the best, but don’t jump in with a put-down about what she’s doing. It’ll make you both feel bad.
“Be less direct than ‘You’re doing that wrong’,” says Rosalie Ajzensztejn from Parentline Plus. “Try, ‘I wonder about this’ or ‘I’m not sure if it’ll work for you, but…’ when giving advice.”
2. Don’t judge
It’s all too easy to be a backseat driver, or a backseat mum in this case. “I’ve been on the receiving end of lectures about the chemicals in nappies,” says Liane Moore, 30, from Bingley, mum to James, 12, Ewan, 19 months, and Niamh, 15 weeks. “But I’ve found the best support is when someone offers advice when I’ve asked for it or they’ve seen I’ve been struggling with something. Starting a sentence with, ‘What you should do’ is never helpful, and neither is tutting or rolling your eyes.”
Have a baby and see you social life blossom! (according to research)
3. Be all ears
Whether your mummy mate’s ringing for a moan about her man being no help or in hysterics ’cos her baby is refusing to eat, if she needs a shoulder to cry on, or even just a chat, keep your ears open. “Next time you meet, try just listening, rather than simply waiting for your turn to speak,” says life coach and mother of two, Antonia Confalone.
“Keep an eye on your friend’s body language too, and if you think she might be having problems, try and get a partner to hold the fort and arrange to meet her without the distraction of kids now and then.” If meeting up is hard because of your new baby, don’t forget to make time for a phone call or email, she’ll really appreciate the contact even if it’s not actual face-to-face time.
4. Curb the crowing
Naturally, when your baby first smiles, you’ll want to bang on about it. If you catch your baby’s first crawl on film, who wouldn’t want to replay it eight times? Well… possibly not a mum who doesn’t feel like she or her baby are measuring up. “While there’s nothing wrong with being proud of your baby’s developments and achievements, you can discuss it with friends, but save the full-blown bragging for grandparents and aunties and uncles,” says Antonia. “That way, you won’t make other mums feel bad that their baby hasn’t reached that milestone yet.”
5. Invite her out
Being welcoming to other new mums is a fantastic way to keep you all sane, and shows there’s no need to be alone without any grown-up company. “Many mums who meet when their children are babies remain friends for years to come,” says Rosalie. “Keeping sociable with other mums is great for the baby too, as they learn to interact with other children at a young age.” Off to Ikea to check out cots? Invite your mate along too for a second opinion and make it a fun lunch date.