The key to getting through your first weeks and months of being a new parent is building a strong support system. Getting the right help from the right people plays a huge role in your emotional well-being – and in your success with breastfeeding.
If you’re looking for a shoulder to lean on (or even cry on!), here are some ideas to get you going:
- Talk to your partner. Your partner is a parent now, too. If you share your feelings and have an open conversation about your needs, you can take steps to get the right kinds of support. Sometimes, your best support will be each other.
- Ask your parents, siblings, relatives or friends to come over and give you some company. Or maybe they can keep the baby company while you take a shower or a cat nap. If you tell people what you need, they will be more aware of how they can be of help.
- Often, women you met in your prenatal class can become strong support networks after birth. Call up some of the new moms from class and make a playdate. Go for a walk together and have a chat.
- There are a variety of health-care professionals you can contact if you have trouble breastfeeding or have questions about caring for your baby. Your public health department can usually put you in touch with the services you need, such as a lactation consultant, 24-hour parent hotline or parent-to-parent support systems and groups.
- Speak to your pediatrician. Your baby’s doctor is a good source of information and will be happy to help you with questions about your baby.
- Go online to reliable websites for parenting information or if you have questions about caring for your baby, including breastfeeding. (Try parentscanada.com) There are also lots of good books you can peruse when you have a moment.
If you need help breastfeeding, read through this checklist for ideas on where you can get support.
- Public health nursing services – home visits, phone-in lines, well-baby clinics and drop-in centres
- Hospital-based breastfeeding clinics
- Community-based clinics– such as community health centres
- La Leche League Canada – 1-800-665-4324
- Private lactation consultants or nursing services
- Midwives – if a midwife is helping with your birth and is knowledgeable about breastfeeding
- Family members
- Breastfeeding or groups for new mothers
Remember, accept help without guilt. Most likely you have been on the ‘giving’ end before. Now, it’s your turn to receive some care and nurturing.