Don’t Cry Over Spilt Milk Meaning
Definition: Don’t spend your time worrying about things of that past that cannot be changed.
This idiom is a classic English proverb that warns people not to worry or be upset about things that have already happened or things that cannot be undone.
If someone says to you, don’t cry over spilt milk, you are likely to be moping around over a something that has already happened, racking your brain for ways you could have changed the outcome.
The problem, however, is you cannot change the past; the milk have already been spilled. The proverb, therefore, puts a focus onto the future.
Origin of Don’tCry Over Spilt Milk
As with many idioms, not much is known about the origin of this well-known English saying. Most sources point to the 1888 book authored by George Ogilvy Preshaw titled Banking Under Difficulties as its first use resembling the wording we see today.
A man who had just been robbed of his cash, despite his current predicament, states,
- It was no use, however, crying over spilt milk.
As a general saying, however, the phrase appeared to be much older. James Howell, a 17th-century Anglo-Welsh historian and writer, apparently used the phrase in his 1659 book Paramoigraphy (Proverbs):
- No weeping for shed milk.
This would make the idiom over 350 years old.
Example of Don’t Cry Over Spilt Milk
In the modern day, as in the past, one person might tell another to stop crying over spilt milk if he or she is dwelling on circumstances that cannot be changed.
For example, if you fail an exam in school and continue to let this affect your mood and your other schoolwork, you could be said to be “crying over spilt milk.”
Instead, as the phrase suggests, you should focus on the future and study more for your next exam.
- Mugabe Skerritt, an employee who learned about the closure today, said there’s no sense in crying over spilled milk. –New York Post
- Yeager leans forward in his plastic chair: “Rules aren’t for relaxing. Look, I don’t cry over spilled milk. Everything I did was for duty, not for publicity.” –USA Today
Crying Over Spilt or Spilled Milk?
In case you are wondering, this idiom can use either split or spilled in its construction.
- There’s no sense crying over spilt milk.
- There’s no sense crying over spilled milk
Both of these phrases are equally acceptable.
Additionally, this phrase is usually seen as a negative imperative, but it can also function in a positive sense.
- Don’t cry over spilt milk.
- He was crying over spilt milk, so I told him to leave.
Both constructions work. For more on this, see here.
The English idiom don’t cry over spilt milk is a popular saying that tells people not to be upset or saddened by things they cannot change from the past.
This story is a member’s personal experience and opinion, and is part of their healing process. Please be aware that some of the stories on Crying Over Spilt Milk are of more severe or complicated cases of Gastric Reflux. Serious or complicated cases of Gastric Reflux are rare. If you think you may be disturbed by some content, please visit this page before deciding to read further: Infant Gastric Reflux Stories
Hannah was born on the 11th of January 2001 right on her due date. Right from the start she pretty much cried all day, but I just thought that was what babies did. After being in the maternity centre for a week and Hannah still wasn’t feeding properly it was time to go home. She didn’t seem to like the nipple in her mouth at all and she had chewed up my nipples so bad they just bleed all the time. We got home and on the first night she cried the whole time till 10 p.m., and then she passed out and slept till 4 am. Then it was very hard to get her to go back down after her next feed. This carried on for two weeks until we couldn’t stand it any longer and had to get the midwife to come and visit at 10 p.m. and she decided to stick her finger in Hannah’s mouth (which should have been done before we left the hospital). The midwife found that Hannah had a shallow palate, which was why she kept gagging on the nipple and she wasn’t getting any milk so that is why she cried all the time. So then we gave her a bottle and she slept like a baby. I had decided from the start that I was definitely going to breastfeed so I was referred to a lactation specialist in a city not too far away. We took Hannah to her and she was brilliant. She told us that Hannah had a sensitive palate and showed us how to massage it with our fingers to desensitise it. Hannah fed really well for the first time and we were so happy. She continued to get better at her feeding but quite often she was hard to settle and wouldn’t sleep. It was like she was uncomfortable after she was fed, so I asked the Plunket Nurse to come around and observe her but every time Hannah was a perfect little angel.
I was then talking to one of my friends and she said her baby had had silent reflux which is when they don’t spill but swallow it back down. I decided to take her to my doctor. The doctor didn’t really believe me. I think she thought I was being a neurotic first time mother but she gave me some Gaviscon to try anyway. It didn’t seem to do much good and it was hard to even get it into her, so I decided to get a second opinion and took her to another doctor who told me she had colic. Being a first time mother I willingly believed what he told me and went away happy that I now knew what was wrong with her. But things just got worse and worse. She wouldn’t sleep all day and just screamed and cried unless she was rocked to sleep, and if you stopped rocking she would wake up. The only good thing about her not sleeping all day was that she slept through the night – only from sheer exhaustion I think. She would have a feed and then come off the breast screaming so we decided to try her on formula. This did help for a short time but things soon got bad again. We then decided to take her to a Plunket Family Centre in a nearby city so they could watch her for a while. Again she was a perfect little angel. She didn’t sleep long but she was quite happy. They decided that it must be wind and again I willingly believed. So back home we came thinking that we knew what we were dealing with (little did we know really). Finally I was fed up. I decided to take her to yet another doctor. And again she was a perfect angel. This doctor had a smirk on his face and said there is nothing wrong with her, so I said that I would like a referral to a paediatrician. He grudgingly gave me one adding that he didn’t think it was necessary. So we waited and waited……no appointment came.
By this time Hannah was 10 weeks old, so we rang Plunket and they suggested a paediatrician in another city. I rang them on a Friday and had an appointment on the Tuesday. Straight away the paediatrician knew by what I described what was wrong with Hannah. He also did some allergy tests but she didn’t seem to have any sort of allergy. He gave us a prescription for ranitidine (zantac). After a week she seemed to be a bit happier but she still wasn’t sleeping and then it seemed to get worse again, so the paediatrician suggested that we try her on cisapride (prepulsid). By about six months of age she was starting to act more like a normal baby, (what ever that means anyway). I gave up the breastfeeding when she was three months old, as I thought I had given it our best shot. We then tried her on soy milk but it just seemed to make her worse again. Next we put her on goat’s milk and she just lapped it up. By the time she was eight months old, I would say she was pretty much better.
She still has her bad days but very few. She is now 20 months old and just occasionally she will have a bad night. We have put it down to giving her fatty food, even just a few of our chips if we have fish and chips seems to be enough to unsettle her at night, so we try not to give her fatty food. Also through the first months of Hannah’s life I ended up with postnatal depression (no wonder you probably say). I don’t think the reflux helped, but I got help straight away and all was well after about two weeks of antidepressants. Mother and baby are doing well now and I love being Hannah’s mum so much that we are now trying for another.
The moral of the story is if you think there is something not right with you or your child keep going to the doctor until someone takes you seriously. And never give up – it all comes right in the end (well at least it did for us).
Welcome to the continuing saga of Hannah’s reflux story. Well I guess it was too good to be true that it would all go away and get better just like that. Sorry everyone but the reflux came back, well I don’t actually think it every really went away. Instead the few bad days and nights slowly got worse over the next year. Hannah would wake up several times a night just crying even screaming sometimes but we didn’t know what was wrong. She even got this cough all the time that wouldn’t go away and the doctor thought it might have been asthma so put her on asmafen for a while. It did help but then it came back again so we thought it might have been hay fever so we tried claratyne. Great stuff it worked and the cough didn’t come back till the same time next year.
Mum and Dad looked after her while I was in hospital having her brother, Kees, and they just about pulled their hair out as she was so grizzly all the time, and she couldn’t sleep because of her cough and was just turning into a handful. We just put it down to her feeling sick and not being able to be with her mum. Hannah’s cough eventually dried up again but the moods and the crying at night just got worse. Hannah was starting to ask for a lot of milk and telling me she had sick in her throat all the time.
We took her to the paediatrician and he put her on 10mg losec. Then my in-laws suggested we go to a naturopath as they had heard good things about them and reflux. So we all went and he told us we had parasites, and to try a wheat and dairy free diet. He put us on natural remedies as well. Hannah got worse and the losec didn’t seem to be helping. Next visit to the paediatrician he had a look at her tummy which had always been big. Everybody told me it was fat but I always thought her tummy shouldn’t look so bloated out all the time like that. He did a gluten blood test (or gluten markers as he called them) on her and when the results were available he said there was a bleep on the test but he wasn’t worried at this stage and would test her again in a year’s time. After a couple of weeks I just couldn’t see my child suffer like this anymore so decided to finally put her on a dairy and gluten free diet. We also had an alternative unproven form of testing for allergies, which I believe really does work. At the top of the list was gluten and then milk. She was a different child just about straight away, and the dark circles under her eyes have gone and she has energy to play which she didn’t do much before as she just got puffed easily. When I went back to the paediatrician he said he that I had done the right thing. She is actually sleeping through the night now as well, and has been since she has been gluten and dairy free.
© Shell and Crying Over Spilt Milk Gastric Reflux Support Network New Zealand for Parents of Infants and Children Charitable Trust 01/07/2004.
MY BROTHER’S (KEES’S) STORY SO FAR
Page last updated 12th November, 2013