As a new mum, having some visitors is wonderful.
When close friends and family come to see you and your newborn, it's a chance to show off your little bundle of joy; it's an opportunity to talk to an adult for what might be the only time that day.
The thing is, some visitors say things they shouldn't. Here's a crash course in what not to say when visiting a new mum.
1. "You look tired"
Thanks, Captain Obvious.
New babies bring with them a lot of sleeplessness. It goes with the territory: they don't understand that their parents are used to long hours of rest when it's dark. During the night, they still need lots of cuddles and feeds and nappy changes – and all of this gives a new parent eye bags like they've never had before. Having that pointed out is never appreciated.
When in doubt, don't say anything at all about how a new mum looks. It's not important.
2. "Your baby has … cute toes"
We're onto you, people; we know this is code for "your baby's a bit ugly". And you should never say it, or even hint at it.
I once heard of a woman who insisted that her family tell her if her baby was ugly, and they all agreed. The story goes that she gave birth to the ugliest baby any of them had ever laid eyes on, yet the new mum's eyes sparkled as she enthused, "Isn't he the most beautiful thing you've ever seen!"
How could they break the news to her? They couldn't do it, so instead they all said, "Yes. Yes, he is."
That's how to talk to a new mum about her baby.
3. "When are you going back to work?"
You might have just read a story about a mum who's on her laptop within an hour of giving birth, but a heads up: that isn't the case for 99 per cent of us.
Most of us are wide-eyed with nerves and confusion at how to get through the next months, and work is the furthest thing from our minds when we've just had a baby. All that happens when you bring up the subject of work is that we feel like we're not achieving enough by just being a mum for a while.
4. "Will you have another?"
I stayed in the hospital for just two nights with my first baby and, in that first 48 hours of being a mum, many pieces of advice and questions were thrown at me.
By far the worst was this: "Will you have another baby?"
Seriously. Don't EVER ask this while a mum is still in the hospital. (Or, you know, ever.) I was so busy staring at my new baby wondering how on earth I'd manage to keep her alive, and I couldn't even sit down without crying in pain – the furthest thing from my mind was doing it all over again.
5. "She's going to hate that when she's older"
One friend came to visit my second baby (yes, I did go back for another … eventually), only to bestow upon us these words: "Oh, she has a double crown; she's going to hate that when she's older".
I didn't even know what a double crown was, but the way she pointed to my baby's hair it was apparent it was the way her hair swirled in two different directions at two points.
So, here's the lesson: don't point out a baby's faults to its mum. Especially not when the mum in question is still in the throes of post-baby bliss.
As soon as she left, I whispered to my baby, "You're perfect just the way you are". And I haven't stopped whispering that to her since.