When I was pregnant with my first child, postpartum support was one of the last things on my mind.
I was so wrapped up in all the planning and excitement that goes along with bringing a new baby into the world, and there was no energy left for myself. After the birth of my daughter though, I quickly became emotionally and physically exhausted. Having support from others to lean on was sometimes the only thing that kept me going!
Being a new mama is tough work. My daughter is now nearing her fourth birthday, but I can still clearly remember being stuck in the new mom trenches: teaching myself and my baby to breastfeed properly, dealing with night after night of sleep-deprivation, caring for my aching postpartum body and unpredictable emotions… You know the drill. Here’s a little peek into my first hours at home with my first-born, and how I stumbled across some amazing local support:
The night we brought my daughter home from the hospital was a true nightmare for us. I was determined to breastfeed, and things were going well… up until that first night home. My milk came in with a vengeance, and my breasts were so engorged that my daughter couldn’t, and wouldn’t, latch on. My husband and I spent half the night trying to work with our inconsolable, screaming three-day-old. I finally broke down in tears and called the midwife on duty at Lovelace Women’s Hospital (where I had delivered), and she gave me some tips to get us through the night. She then suggested we call the lactation consultants in the morning to get some additional help.
I called early the next morning, and spoke to one of the lactation consultants. I ended up being really lucky – she let me know that later that morning, they would be holding their weekly New Parent Support Group, and that I should try to come in to get help with my daughter’s latch. So, away I went, with my now 4-day-old infant.
That first meeting with the New Parent Support Group was intimidating. I walked into a room full of women, with babies ranging from a few weeks to several months old. There were blankets, toys and babies everywhere. I was warmly greeted, and then the lactation consultant introduced herself and got us set up in a quiet corner of the room. She worked with me for at least half an hour, trying different holds and techniques to get my daughter latching, and eventually we were successful.
Learning my daughter was less than a week old, one of the moms asked how I was holding up… and that’s when I completely lost it. The other moms listened, and understood, because they had all just been there themselves. Although it was embarrassing to cry in front of these complete strangers, it felt so comforting to be surrounded by others that knew exactly what I was going through.
After that first week, I started regularly attending the weekly meetings. There was a group of about 7 or 8 of us that had all had babies within a couple months of each other, and we became fast friends. We discussed sleep schedules, first foods, diaper brands… you name it! The coolest thing is, almost four years later, we still keep in touch and try to get our kids together often.
The New Parent Support Group at Lovelace Women’s Hospital is run by lactation consultants, social workers, and other hospital employees that work directly with new moms. They meet every Wednesday, from 10-noon, in conference room B. They always provide healthy snacks for the moms (or dads!), a digital scale for checking your baby’s weight, and the lactation consultants are available to answer nursing questions and provide nursing help. Best of all, this weekly meeting is FREE to anyone with a new baby – even parents that didn’t deliver at Lovelace. Visit the Childbirth Education Classes page on their site for general information about the group here.
Interested? Contact Lovelace Lactation Services with questions: [email protected] or 505.727.6797.