Well-meaning friends and relatives often have a lot to say after a new baby is born, but it’s best to take these phrases out of the conversation.

Whether you’re expecting your first child or welcoming your third, chances are you’ve been the recipient of unsolicited parenting advice. After all, there is something about motherhood that makes women (and men) want to share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

The good news is most of these remarks come from a place of love. Parents, siblings, and friends just want to help. Unfortunately, even well-intentioned advice can be harmful.

Here are seven hurtful and inadvertently harmful comments new and expectant mothers hear.

It may surprise you that this comment tops our list. I mean, what could possibly be wrongwith such a motivational and forward-thinking statement?

Well, in short, saying, “It gets better,” is dismissive. It fails to acknowledge how hard things are in this moment, and it minimizes thoughts, fears, and feelings.

So what can (and should) you do? Keep comments sympathetic and empathetic. Let the new or expectant parent voice their frustrations and concerns, and listen.

What you can say instead:

“It’s okay to be frustrated. You are not alone.”

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Why it’s problematic: Parenting newborns is hard. Very hard. They are temperamental, needy, fickle, unpredictable, and helpless. They rely on you for food, comfort, sustenance and life, and that is a lot of pressure.

Sure, baby snuggles are awesome, but sleep deprivation sucks, and you don’t have to like it. At all.

What you can say instead:

“Parenting is tough, but you’ve got this.”

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If I had a quarter for every time someone told me, “I miss that age — enjoy it!” I would be pretty darn wealthy.

Well, at the very least, I would have a pocket full of change, and while this sentiment — like its predecessor — is well-meaning, it’s hurtful and potentially harmful, particularly to individuals struggling with postpartum depression and other perinatal mood disorders. Trust me.

Telling someone with PPD this is as good as things get is actually terrifying. This remark made me feel scared, helpless, hopeless, and like there was no end in sight.

What you can say instead:

“I miss that age, but I sure don’t miss the crying (or fussiness or sleeplessness). It’s a lot. Is there anything I can do to help?”

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Telling parents what they should or shouldn’t do is an absolute no-no. Why? Because every person is different, every baby is different, and remarks like these aren’t productive or supportive. They only discourage, dishearten, and undermine new parents.

Instead, show support and foster positivity by encouraging and empowering the moms and dads in your life to make their own decisions.

What you can say instead:

“Do what you’ve got to do.”

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After my daughter was born I received a lot of unsolicited insight — even from my mom. I heard things like, “You always loved baths. Why is she crying now?” You might hear from acquaintances, “Oh, my baby was colicky, too — maybe you should try a swing,” or “Is she still spitting up a lot? My baby did better with a slow-flow bottle.”

While I understood the idea behind each question and suggestion, comparing newborn behaviors and parenting methods is unrealistic and unfair. Consider coming from a place of empathy when you talk to any new parent.

What you can say instead:

“That must be tough. Is there anything I can help you with?”

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While there is something to be said for this suggestion — newborns, for example, need to be fed every 2 hours and babies of all ages thrive on consistency — being too firm can cause undue angst, anxiety, and stress.

Schedules will change, for both you and your baby. So instead of pressuring yourself to feed your little at 9:00 a.m. and nap them at 10, have grace.

What you can say instead:

“Babies are tricky. Every time you think you get ahead of them their routine changes or a sleep regression hits. Try to be patient, you’re doing great.”

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One of the most common questions new parents hear is, “Are they a good baby?,” and the reason is simple: it’s an easy question. An icebreaker. A “How’s the weather?” type of question.

But the problem with this question is that good — in this case — means quiet. Calm. It refers to a baby who is easygoing and sleeps through the night, and for parents who do not have a “good” baby, this question is triggering. It makes them feel like they are inadequate and/or doing something wrong.

The truth is all babies “act out” and cry. It’s normal. Sleep issues are also common, and every baby has fussy minutes, moments, and (yes) months.

What you can say instead:

“It’s okay to love your new life and be frustrated by it at the same time. Hang in there!”

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Kimberly Zapata is a mother, writer, and mental health advocate. Her work has appeared on several sites, including the Washington Post, HuffPost, Oprah, Vice, Parents, Health, and Scary Mommy — to name a few — and when her nose isn’t buried in work (or a good book), Kimberly spends her free time running Greater Than: Illness, a nonprofit organization that aims to empower children and young adults struggling with mental health conditions. Follow Kimberly on Facebook or Twitter.