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Speak to most new mums & they will tell you that they feel overwhelmed, exhausted, frustrated & feel lonely after the birth of their baby (or babies).
From my own experience, most mum’s don't have support to lend them a helping hand in those early weeks of parenting.
Middle-eastern and asian cultures observe post birth confinement.
This is where new mum's are waited on hand & foot and are not allowed to leave the house for 90 days - all she needs to do is focus on her baby & recover from pregnancy & birth. This also benefits the baby's weak & immature immune system, by not exposing him/her to unfamiliar germs in crowded areas such as shopping centres.
She & her family are fed, other children & household chores are taken care of.
Some mums will get regular massages too - sounds great hey?
We know that it takes on average 12 months for a woman to recover from birth (some, even longer). EVERYONE PLEASE NOTE, IT TAKES ON AVERAGE 12 MONTHS FOR MAMA'S TO RECOVER FROM PREGNANCY AND BIRTH......
In our society, there is this expectation that within days of giving birth, women are supposed to just bounce back into life as normal. This completely goes against the grain of post birth physiology, however, without choice, mum’s just keep on going on.
It’s really difficult to see so many mums - tired, exhausted & frustrated due to the lack of support and financial strains of partners having to return to work soon after the birth of their new baby.
We can’t change our way of life & we can’t do all that much to alleviate the stressors of our lives today. However, I thought I would put together a few tips on how to make life easier after baby as well as finding your supportive mama tribe!
BE MINDFUL OF YOUR NEEDS & WANTS
Have a think about what you want & what it is that you actually need, so that you can invest your financial resources towards support services after baby comes along.
I know how seductive those baby stores are. Be mindful that you will be seduced into spending a fortune on goods that you don't need.
Some food for thought:
I can tell you that babies don’t need expensive furniture.
They will want to be with you in your room most of the time anyway.
Babies needs are very basic - loving arms, a full tummy, to be kept safe and comfy.
BE SMART AND PREPARE AHEAD
Have a think about what is most important for your baby.
You will also need to consider that:
If you are hellbent on a clean & tidy house (lots of mums are), consider setting aside some money in your budget for a house cleaner.
If you want to achieve your baby moon or confinement period, consider hiring a postnatal doula. You may even want to consider a home food delivery service to ensure that your family is well nourished.
If you have a tendency to feel as though you need to be in control & have some anxiety (this includes a lot of mums) a weekly massage or accupuncture session could be your saving grace, so think about setting some money aside for that too.
Have a think about budgeting for health care professionals that you may need after birth (for example, a lactation consultant, whom charge upwards of $100/hour).
Trust me, breastfeeding is not so natural like you are expecting it to be to begin with, so the odds of needing specialist assistance are pretty high and usually along with that, you & your baby may be referred for additional physical therapy such as Physiotherapy, Chiropractic or Osteopathic treatment.
See the common theme here?
When babies come along, the care and support that you may need comes at a price and can add up. So it definitely doesn't stop with nursery furniture.
Public services are fantastic, however very restricted, strained & often lack continuity of care - so it is quite likely that you will meet many different midwives, lactation consultants and maternal & child health nurses. This can be incredibly stressful for new mums (I see this every day in my practice), whereby they are overwhelmed and confused on top of being sleep deprived and hormonal after birth.
So if you work your way backwards & spend less money on the things you don't need, you will have more money for the important things that you do need.
PRENATAL BREASTFEEDING EDUCATION IS KEY
Research has shown that if pregnant couples attend prenatal breastfeeding and early parenting education, that they are most likely to cope with the demands of early parenting and breastfeed for a longer duration.
The Australian Breastfeeding Association runs prenatal breastfeeding classes, as well as other organisations such as maternity hospitals, and private Lactation Consultants.
The other thing to note is that the basic breastfeeding education that health care professionals such as Midwives, Doctors, Paediatricians, Maternal & Child Health Nurses receive during their training is very limited (i.e. a few powerpoint slides, 3o minute lecture).
Unfortunately this leads to the common complaint of new mums that they receive conflicting or incorrect advice which is another added source of stress and disappointment.
What a lot of people don't know is that an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), commonly referred to as "Lactation Consultant" has spent a minimum of 4000 hours consulting and supporting breastfeeding families and studied in preparation for a masters equivalent in Human Lactation and Breastfeeding. His or her skills and knowledge are then examined.
Upon passing the exam, the IBCLC needs to recertify every 5 years. It is unethical and unacceptable to the certifying board to identify yourself as an IBCLC if you are not board certified. However, many will identify themselves as "Lactation Consultants", when their certification may lapsed as far as 10 years ago.
This link, enables you to verify the certification of your IBCLC so that you & your baby can receive the gold standard of care which has been scientifically proven to support, promote and protect breastfeeding.
FIND YOUR MAMA TRIBE
Surround yourself with other mothers and start gathering your tribe whilst you are pregnant.
Think about who it is in your life that is pregnant and/or has children - ask them for some tips and strategies that they found were helpful for them.
Look into the ideas below, to find a tribe that suits your needs.
You will be amazed at how many lifelong mama friends you will make!
You will be equally amazed at the positive effect this has on your emotional health and wellbeing.
Here are a few ideas:
Baby massage group classes, mother’s groups, mums & bub’s walking groups,
mum’s and bubs fitness groups.
The links below are directories to where you can build your tribe of mum support:
Please feel free to share your ideas, I am sure there are way more than those that I have suggested!