Responding to the FAQs from Family and Friends
Becoming a new mom can feel like you're a celebrity (a tired, sweaty, likely smelly one, but still)! Family and friends often go out of their way to shower you with gifts, compliments, and love. COVID-19 has made it increasingly difficult for our loved ones to do these things in person, so we can expect (and appreciate!) a lot of love coming through our texts and DMs.
Sometimes it can feel overwhelming trying to keep up with replying to so many different people on different platforms while also trying to take care of a newborn. So, we're sharing some of our go-to responses to our family and friend's frequently asked questions. We were "guilty" of copying and pasting these types of messages to multiple people, but when you're in the trenches as a first time mom, everything that makes life a little easier counts for A LOT.
"When can I meet baby?"
If you're not planning to allow visitors:
We would absolutely love to see you, but right now we're playing it super safe until [baby's name] has had some more time to build up their immune system. I am counting down the days until we can all be together again! In the meantime, would you be up for a [Facetime/Zoom/etc.]?
If you're planning to allow visitors with specific precautions in place:
We would absolutely love to see you. Right now we're playing it super safe until [baby's name] has had some more time to build up their immune system. We're asking people to [add your rules like...wear a mask, wash their hands, and keep some distance] if they come over to meet [baby's name]. Would that be okay with you? If not, we can set up a [Facetime/Zoom/etc.].
WTFTM Tip: When dealing with a particularly pushy person, you can always blame the pediatrician. Drop a "our pediatrician recommended..." even if it's a rule you made up.
"How are you!? Do you need anything?" (especially during the 4th trimester)
If you feel like could use a break from cooking/dishes:
We're doing [great, well, okay, etc.]! Thanks so much for asking. I've been going non-stop since we got home from the hospital. This may sound a little weird, but the only thing that would make our lives easier right now would be having a meal delivered.
If you feel like you could use some moral support:
We're doing [okay]! Thanks so much for asking. I've been going non-stop since we got home from the hospital. I know I'm supposed to sleep when the baby sleeps, but I could really use a [FaceTime, call, etc.] with you! Is there a time that works for you today or tomorrow?
If you feel like you could use a helping hand:
We're doing [okay]! Thanks so much for asking. I've been going non-stop since we got home from the hospital. Would you be up for coming over sometime this week? I would love to see you, and could use an extra set of hands!
If you feel like you're running on empty and could use a break:
We're doing [okay]! Thanks so much for asking. I've been going non-stop since we got home from the hospital. Would you be up for coming over to watch [baby's name] for a bit sometime this week? I feel like I'm getting burnt out and could really use a break.
WTFTM Tip: If you are concerned about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (anytime during pregnancy or through the first year postpartum), including postpartum depression or anxiety, read this post or call the Postpartum Support InternationalHelpLine at 1-800-944-4773(4PPD) for help finding local resources.
"Does baby need anything?"
If baby could use something or if you know they'd like to get baby a gift:
Thanks so much for asking! Just when I feel like [Baby's Name] has everything they could dream of, [he/she] hits a new milestone and needs something else! Right now, [he/she] is loving [tummy time, playing with toys, eating solids, reading books, bath-time, etc.], so a [toy, bib, book, etc.] would be amazing!
WTFTM Tip: If you need any gift ideas for 0-12M, we put together our favorites here.
If you prefer to decline the offer:
Thanks so much for asking! [Baby's name] has everything [he/she] could dream of! It would be so fun if [he/she] could see you on [FaceTime/Zoom], though. I want [him/her] to recognize you when we finally get a chance to be together in person!
"Is baby sleeping through the night yet?"
We're starting to get into a routine with [Baby's name]'s sleep, which is all we can ask for at this point!
Right now, we're getting a few hour stretches at a time, which is normal for this age, but we're looking forward to that when [he/she]'s ready!
WTFTM Tip: Check out the ideas here if you're struggling with baby's sleep.
"Is he/she a good baby?"
This is a seriously dumb question, but people will ask it. What they're really asking is..."is your baby a perfect non-crying eater and sleeper?" Odds are the people who ask this are either a parent who forgot what it's like or wants to have their own experience validated, or they're a dog parent who has no idea how much harder a baby is than a puppy. Some ways to answer...
[Baby's name] is a great baby! Of course [he/she] is giving me a run for my money, but I wouldn't expect it any other way.
Jury's still out! Just kidding. I love [Baby's Name] to pieces!
Definitely! We've learned so much already, and we're starting to get into a good routine.
"Are you breastfeeding?"
It's honestly so odd how many people will ask you this. Why do they care? What difference does it make to them? We can't give you a good answer to those questions, but here are some potential responses.
If you'd rather not answer:
I don’t really feel comfortable discussing that.
I’d rather not discuss that.
That's a little too personal.
My lips are sealed on that!
I'm afraid I'm going to have to leave you in suspense on that one...forever!
Why don’t you tell me about your experience with breastfeeding?
If you are, and want to respond:
Yes, and what a journey it's been so far!
Yes. We're finally starting to get into a groove now!
If you're not and want to respond (keep in mind that you can always just say "No", but sometimes it feels more natural to say a little more...):
Nope. It didn't feel like the right fit for us.
No, but we've already found a formula [he/she] loves!
If you're supplementing or transitioning to formula:
Sometimes - we do a little of both.
No, but after trying it, I have a new appreciation for the moms who do!
Not anymore - we transitioned to formula.
Ideas for What to Say When You're Caught-Off-Guard by Unsolicited Advice
When you're pregnant and, even more once your little one makes his or her appearance, people will say the WILDEST things to you. Men suddenly become experts on breastfeeding and pumping. Non-parents compare raising your human baby to their dog baby. Your mother-in-law will insist you add rice cereal to your week-old baby's bottle. Your neighbor will diagnose your baby as bowlegged and flat-headed. These simple responses can help shut these (usually) well-intentioned people up politely.
I will keep that in mind, thanks!
That's interesting. I hadn't thought of it that way before.
I'm glad you mentioned that. I'm going to look more into it.
I just follow my pediatrician's recommendation.
It sounds like that worked well for you and your child, but it may not be right for us.
I appreciate that you want to help, but I am comfortable with the approach I'm taking and would appreciate if you'd understand that.
It sounds like so much has changed over the years! (This is especially useful for the advice from our parents and other pre-Google "experts")