Being a new parent is very overwhelming! There is so much that people do not tell you/you are not prepared for. While most moms feel very happy and joyful the first few days, these feeling often change into overwhelm, anxiety and sadness. A big part of the emotional shift is due to the rapidly changing levels of hormones that occur in the first 6 weeks postpartum.
Another reason that many new moms are suffering, often in silence, is lack of family and community support in our modern culture. In generations gone by, it was common place for the new mom’s mother, aunts and sisters to live close by and be available to help look after and support the new mom on the roller coaster ride of parenthood. The role of the other women was to take care of the new mom and the day to day workings of the house (laundry, cooking, grocery shopping) so that mom and baby can learn baby’s cues and bond. Today it is common for new parents to come home with little to no help or support and find themselves having to do all of the regular day to day household chores, while mom tries to recover and bond with baby. To make matter worse, dad or mom’s partner, usually doesn’t get much time off before they have to go back to work, leaving mom home to understandable get overwhelmed and anxious.
Today I want to cover ways to break this cycle and how to set new moms up to thrive by providing them with the resources that they need
- Postpartum Doula- Many people have heard of a birth doula, but many do not know what a postpartum doula has to offer. A postpartum doula is trained to understand what new babies and new moms truly need. They provide emotional support for mom, can help with chores around the house, are experienced at soothing babies, breast and bottle support and can help reassure mom and dad about newborn behaviors. Having a doula can help to reduce anxiety for mom and help her to get more sleep.
- Lactation Consultant- Yes, breastfeeding is natural, but that doesn’t mean it is easy! It is a different experience for every mom and baby duo and many moms experience difficulties with their second baby even if things were smooth sailing with the first. It is important to see a qualified lactation consultant to get assessed if you are having pain or difficulty with breastfeeding. Causes of pain/difficulty include a tongue or lip tie, improper/inefficient latch and candida.
- Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy- Many women will experience pain, urinary incontinence or organ prolapse after giving birth. A common misconception is that if a woman had a caesarean section that her pelvic floor should be in tip top shape. Adhesions from the birth can cause problems for the pelvic floor. All women should be assessed at 6-8 weeks postpartum and receive appropriate treatment. A pelvic floor physiotherapist can also assess for diastasis recti and can help to rehab these muscles.
- Massage- Massage can help speed postpartum recovery. It is a good way to help reduce anxiety, stress, swelling, and pain from sitting in awkward positions feeding and carrying baby. Studies have shown it can help with hormone regulation resulting in better success with breastfeeding and better sleep. Most massage therapists who focus on postpartum are totally ok with baby coming along for the visit. A postpartum massage definitely makes a great gift for a new mom.
- Meal Preparation- Being a new parent is exhausting. Having proper nutrition can help reduce mom’s stress levels, help with breast milk production, and facilitate better sleep and energy. Preparing healthy, easy to digest meals before baby is born is one simple way to ease the load once baby arrives.
- Naturopathic Doctor- A Naturopathic Doctor can help the new mom for problems with their thyroid, nutrient deficiencies, anxiety, stress and helping the body to recover. Your ND can run lab tests to check on thyroid, iron and B12 to name a few. They are a great resource for which nutrients and herbs you should be taking to optimize your recovery and will make sure anything you are taking is safe while breastfeeding.
List of Resources for New Parents both global and Local (I am located in Ottawa)
I hope you found this blog to be helpful for feeling your best postpartum!
What did you find the most helpful for recovering after baby?
Dr Alexis practices via telemedicine and is accepting new patients who live within ONtario. To schedule your appointment, click here.
Naturopathic Medicine is covered by most extended insurance benefits.