Having a new baby is an exciting phase in your life. However, it can also be scary, lonely and frustrating. Just at a time when you could really do with the support of friends and colleagues, you’re alone, doing a new job and all your ‘boss’ does is scream at you. The good news is that you don’t need to feel isolated because there is a whole network of support available. From online communities to mum and baby groups, you can create the ultimate new mum support network.
New mum support network #1: Join a breastfeeding support group
The World Health Organization recommends mothers exclusively breastfeed babies for the first six months, continuing after the introduction of solid food, up until the age of two . If you’re a new mum desperately trying to get the hang of breastfeeding, you’re probably feeling a bit like you’ve taken your first ten steps in a 42-kilometer marathon. The good news is that there is a wealth of support available to you in the form of breastfeeding support groups, where you can meet other mums who are also weathering the early breastfeeding storm. You can also book an appointment with a lactation consultant who can provide you with expert advice on how to get through those first couple of months. JustKidding holds regular breastfeeding support groups, hosted by midwife and lactation consultant Dru Campbell of HealthBay Polyclinic. To RSVP email firstname.lastname@example.org.
New mum support network #2: Go to mum and baby groups
When you have a new baby, leaving the house can seem like a Herculean effort. However, it’s important that you attend mum and baby groups so that you meet new mums and develop friendships with people who are on a similar journey to you. This isn’t only vital for when you need to meltdown about how you haven’t slept for a week, but it comes in handy later as your children grow and you have a network of friends to call on for play dates.
New mum support network #3: Find a doctor you trust
Don’t be surprised if in the first few weeks of motherhood you end up at the doctor’s surgery more than once. As a new parent you’ll be anxious about your newborn’s health and as babies can’t tell us how they’re feeling it’s easy to assume the worst. The good news is that pediatricians see this kind of thing all the time and just as they are there to treat your child, it’s also their role to allay your fears.
Of course, with so many clinics and even more doctors, finding the right pediatricians can seem like searching for a needle in a haystack. Ultimately though, good old-fashioned word of mouth is key. Ask your OB/GYN or midwife for a referral and also get recommendations from friends and family. If you’ve got a doctor in mind, check how easy it is to get an appointment and find out if after-hours calls permitted. If the answers are ‘difficult’ and ‘no’, you might want to keep looking.
New mum support network #4: Visit online parenting communities
There are a variety of parent groups on Facebook and they provide a wide array of advice and support to new mums. Whether it’s questions about breastfeeding, how to co-sleep safely or where to buy BPA-free baby bottles, there are plenty of fellow mums who are only too happy to share their thoughts and experiences. Elsewhere on the Internet you’ll find the mummy bloggers, who focus on everything from product reviews to life-hacks. Our favourites include Tuesday’s Child, Mommy In Dubai and Seashells On The Palm.
New mum support network #5: Seek out emotional support
The arrival of a new baby is a time of joy, but for some it can bring with it depression. Between 10 to 15 in every 100 women show symptoms of postnatal depression  and depending on the severity it can hamper your ability to care for your baby. If you feel you may be experiencing postnatal depression don’t suffer in silence. Contact with fellow parents can provide added support at a time when you may be feeling lonely, but if you feel you need additional help, talk to your doctor and also seek out a postnatal depression support group such as Out of the Blues.