9 Places to Find Postpartum Support
You made it through hours of labor and the hospital says you’re A-OK to go home, but … what if you’re not really ready to do the whole mom thing alone? Even if your S.O. is a supportive partner, you still need extra help. Whether you have the baby blues, are feeling the full-on effects of postpartum depression (PPD), have medical questions, or need some other type of help, check out the assistance available for the postpartum period.
1. Your Medical Provider: They’ve been with you for the entire nine-month journey, so there’s no reason to stop now that you’re in the “fourth trimester.” While Dr. Google can provide some basic info, the actual doctor (or nurse midwife) is the ultimate go-to for post-pregnancy medical and psychological advice. And don’t stress about your constant calls: The doctor/midwife is totally used to new mommy questions.
2. Doula: A postpartum doula is a hands-on helper who can guide you through the after-delivery time. Get help with everything from breastfeeding to bonding for the first few days or weeks following childbirth. When you need support, expertise, or anything to make you feel better about your new job as mother, the doula is there for you. Depending on the doula and your needs, this professional may even stay overnight to help with this major transition.
3. Lactation Consultant: Breastfeeding is completely natural, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for everyone. It’s common to find nursing difficult — especially the first time around. Whether you’re nervous about nursing, can’t figure out the whole latch thing (or more likely, your baby can’t figure it out), you’re not sure if you have enough milk, or you have another concern, a lactation consultant can help. The most important consideration right now is to make sure your baby is well fed. If this isn’t happening, the lactation consultant can troubleshoot the problem, offer suggestions, and offer essential education.
4. Mental Health Helpline: PPD is serious. When the baby blues stick around or get in the way of your daily life, you need some help — professional help, that is. But finding an expert isn’t always easy. If you’re uncomfortable reaching out to friends or family, or can’t bring yourself to talk to your doctor, a professionally staffed PPD or depression helpline is a first step. National PPD and depression hotlines include (but aren’t limited to) PPD Moms at 1-800-PPD-MOMS (1-800-773-6667), National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or your local PPD/depression crisis center.
5. Therapist: Sometimes adjusting to your new life with a baby isn’t as effortless as the movies, TV shows, and blogs make it seem. Therapists aren’t just for people who have severe mental health issues. Psychological professionals help people with a wide range of questions, concerns, and needs. From anxiety to temporary jitters, a licensed therapist can help the new mama during this adjustment period.
6. Dietitian: Forget about those not-so-pleasant-sounding diets that your BFF finds for you online. Losing the baby weight isn’t an instant activity; it’s a process that takes time. After giving birth, your body needs time to heal. And if you’re nursing, it needs additional nourishment to help with milk production. Instead of going it alone, visit a dietitian for expert nutrition and meal planning advice.
7. Personal Trainer: After the doctor/midwife gives the go-ahead, you may be itching to get back on the activity track. A personal trainer can help you to create a fourth-trimester plan that can help you strengthen and rehab your body after a long nine months. Bonus: Exercise is a total mood booster too.
8. Nanny: Sure, a nanny can provide new parents with a much-needed break or the chance to get some rest. But this infant care professional also has practical advice. Along with caring for your newborn, the nanny can help you to better understand what your baby needs right now.
9. Sleep Consultant: Yes, sleep consultation is an actual thing. Infant sleep consultants have expert knowledge on all elements of infant sleep. This pro can help you to build a healthy sleep routine for your baby or solve challenges that you may come up against.
What’s your number-one newborn question? Share your pick and tweet us @BritandCo.
(Photo via Getty)