7 phrases to use when you need to ask for help


Do you know what new parents need most? Okay, yes: sleep, of course. But do you know what else they need—and rarely ever ask for? 


So many of us have internalized the notion that we can and should “do it all” that it can be hard to know how to ask for help when we need it.

If simply saying, “I need help!” feels vulnerable, or if asking someone directly for help feels like an imposition, you’re not alone. But you do deserve to feel supported. Raising a baby isn’t meant to be a one-person job.

Unlearning those “supermom” and “superdad” beliefs takes time—and time is the last thing new parents have in abundance.

The next time you need help but aren’t sure how to ask, consider trying one of these seven empowering phrases: They’ll help you get what you need, when you need it most.

1. “What would you like to help with?”

So often, well-intentioned loved ones say “Just let us know how we can help,” and new parents nod in hazy appreciation. Instead, immediately respond with this follow-up question, which puts the onus back on them to come up with ways they can be of service. 

2. “You know what we could use more than baby clothes?”

Well-wishers often come bearing gifts, and while fancy newborn-sized outfits are certainly Instagrammable, they probably aren’t at the top of your real-life, down-in-the-diaper-trenches wish list.

Be honest about what you do need, whether that’s diapers, a gift card to use toward a house cleaner, or a grocery run. 

3. “I could really use your expertise on this.”

Know a mom who effortlessly rocks a baby-wearing wrap, but you can’t figure out where to start with yours? Ask her to give you an in-person tutorial.

Hate the stroller you registered for but can’t begin to research a better one? Crowd-source recommendations from your local parents group on social media. Whatever the need, there’s probably someone in your local circle to tap for input and advice.

4. “Some of you have asked if …”

Have you ever noticed how some influencers will kick off a post by marveling how so many people have asked them about, say, where they got their crib, or how they styled their nursery? Who knows if anyone actually asked them, but it certainly caught your notice, right?

Take a page from their playbook. In your next group text or email (or heck, your next Instagram story!) to people in your support network who want to help but don’t know how, kick off with “Some of you have asked how you can help us out…”

Then offer a handy list of your favorite takeout spots, or a few days and times that you could use a babysitter while you take a shower or nap. A bit of gentle suggestion goes a long way. 

5. “That won’t work, but how about this idea?”

When an in-law offers to come stay for a week to help, it might be hard to say no. Sure, you could use the extra pair of hands, but at what emotional cost?!

But remember, you can negotiate offers to get the help you really want. Suggest a nearby Airbnb or give your MIL dates for a long weekend versus a more extended trip. 

6. “You set up a meal train before, right? Would you mind doing one for me?”

Sometimes, the new moms and dads with the biggest social circles end up with the least help: everyone assumes someone else is on it. If you think that’s the case, consider reaching out to a friend who’s taken the lead in the past.

There’s not much to organizing a meal train—a signup sheet for homemade meal deliveries to keep the new family fed—and it’s a great way to rally a large group without having to ask everyone individually.

7. “Good question. Do you mind asking my partner?”

Sometimes the mental labor in figuring out how to take advantage of an offer of help is more work than the help itself—and it often falls on the one who just gave birth, not their partner. Whenever you don’t have the energy, delegate.  

More posts you might like:


You may also like


Stay in the know

Sign up to get sleep tips, exciting product updates, and special offers right into your inbox.