How often do we hear this said?
But the question is does it really?
Whilst many would recognise it's not ideal nor desirable for a baby to have an unhappy mother, does that automatically mean the reverse is therefore true?
I was a really happy mum when I brought home my first bundle of joy, didn't stop her screaming every evening for several hours though. Happy mum didn't equate to a happy baby.
To all the mums who have reflux babies - would you singing, dancing and being extra happy create a happy baby?
If all it took to make a baby happy was a happy mother, how much easier parenting would be!
But here's what I think happens....
The parent may start out zippee de do dah happy, but give them an infant who is unsettled, windy, squirmy and who wont be put down - mix in some breastfeeding pain, parents becoming increasingly sleep deprived and soon you have an "unhappy parent".
Should I feel bad for doing "X" to cope asks the mother - even if evidence shows this isn't the "best"...
Absolutely not come the replies - happy mum = happy baby!
I hear it a lot in practice - I was a lot happier once we started doing "X". But examine further and it isn't the introduction of X that has saved the day, but that it caused the cessation of "Y" ie whatever was actually the problem. Ask them if they could have resolved "Y" a different way, would they still have chosen "X" - the answer is often no.
The other trouble with the "happy mum" statement, is that its assumption doesn't recognise there may be other ways to resolve "Y" or that there may be any longer term impact of the choice than happiness - either short or longer term.
Of course a mum shouldn't feel bad for needing to resolve a difficult situation - but does a truly informed friend assuage with false reassurance (after all doing X and making mum happy may not result in a happy baby)? Or do they help mum explore all her options and pick the right path for her?