There’s been numerous articles in the press about lack of postnatal care including support for breastfeeding. I’ve witnessed this first hand a number of times, mums feeling frazzled, overwhelmed and believing that they aren’t meeting the needs of their babies. Given how stretched our current midwifery and health visiting teams are and the situation with public services budgets this will continue. Many of the postnatal teams wish to have the time to spend with new parents but they don’t have that luxury and are often only able to prioritise the most critical of cases. In addition, new parents might be living far away from their own parents or communities or have no access to traditional support.
As a consequence, what was once seen to be a luxury, is now becoming much more common amongst parents. Postnatal Carers/Maternity Nurses and Postnatal Doulas are easily found in your local community – you just might not know they are there. Planning and employing to have help with the birth and the postnatal period (generally regarded as the first six weeks) can really ensure the best of starts to your life as a family.
Parents often set high expectations of birth, recovery, start to family life and of their baby – the reality of the expectations rarely meet up to this. Birth may not have gone as anticipated, you might have had an early surprise, a long labour or emergency section. And we have over the years been brainwashed by media (glossy magazines, films and social media), our parent’s stories, what our friends have told us that it’s all easy – simple in fact – you feed your baby and you put it down and it goes to sleep. However, have you ever wondered why there are so many books written on sleep?
Often, what I witness is mums who have spent so much time planning the birth or getting to the birth, they haven’t really considered what comes next. There is nothing that can prepare you for the transition into parenthood. In a lot of ways, the ‘mechanics’ of looking after a baby are quite easy. But when you’re up all night feeding, not sure if your baby is feeding well (is it attachment? sore nipples? Mastitis? – the list goes on), your whole life becomes embedded in a cycle of nappies, feeds, naps and a desperate need for sleep. You may struggle to listen to your babies cues – is it another sleep or feed or burp they need but can’t work out which as you’re so exhausted and so ‘in it’. It’s completely all-consuming and really nothing can prepare you for how a tiny person can take over your life.
That’s where having professional help in place can really ensure that you can get a break so that you can actually work out what’s going on. You have someone there who’s seen it all, has maybe been there in your situation, can spend time with you feeding, checking your latch, ensuring that your baby’s nappies are changing colour and that there’s enough of them. You have someone that can show you how to burp your baby or help them settle to sleep and get enough. You have someone who can bring you hot cups of tea. You have someone to hold your baby or take your baby for a walk so you can get some sleep. All of this ensures that you have the BEST of starts to life. It will make your journey as a parent calmer as you will get an understanding of what’s going on which will make you more confident.
It may seem like a bit of an expense in addition to lots of others purchases. The reality is that it is money well spent. Instead of considering those expensive brand new travel system, car, or anything else – spend more of the budget on support through the biggest life transition any parent will ever face.
NurtureMe provides Postnatal Care and Support throughout Edinburgh and the Lothians and focusses on the physical and emotional support. Contact me to arrange a no-obligation meeting in your pregnancy, anytime from your 12 week scan.
Much love, Tricia xxx