Accepting Support as a New Mom

Accepting Support as a New MomYou know the old saying, “it takes a village to raise a child.” When you have a baby, these words of wisdom should not be just a passing phrase. Child rearing is hard work and everyone Everyone EVERYONE needs help sometimes. No matter what your circumstances, there are times when accepting support as a new mom is a sound parenting decision. We’re going over some of those situations today.

First, we should get something straight: when you accept help, you are not weak or incapable.  Rather, seeking a helping hand is a sign of maturity, emotional intelligence and an understanding that your family’s world is better with the support of a village. All too often new moms feel they are “bad moms” or viewed as incompetent if they have to rely on others. But we’re here to say, when you do it right, getting help is brilliant. Here’s the thing: even if you were the one woman on earth who could do it all, you shouldn’t have to, especially when accepting support as a new mom is possible.

Here are ways of accepting support as a new mom:

Meals: Cooking is probably the farthest thing on your mind when you’ve just had a baby, yet you and your family need to eat. When friends offer to bring a meal, accept it graciously. Better yet, when close friends set up a meal train for you by organizing all of your friends into providing meals, you won’t have to worry about this aspect of your family for a few weeks until you’re back on your feet, so to speak.

Hand-Me-Downs: Clothes, toys and many baby items you can receive as hand-me-downs are incredible gifts. Of course hand-me-downs save you a ton of money, but also save time because you don’t have to figure out what you need and where to buy it. Plus it is better for the environment to reuse items. Children grow in and out of clothes, toys and gear so quickly, it’s hard to keep up with the changes. Insert yourself into a hand-me-down network and accept all the ways you are saving.

Lactation Support: New moms quickly learn that, despite attending classes, reading books and talking to friends about breastfeeding, in practice it is often much more complicated than you expected. If that’s the case for you, don’t let the frustration get the best of you. Hormones are still running wild, you may be sleep-deprived and you might feel like your world has turned upside-down. All of these can feel like grounds for giving up breastfeeding but that isn’t necessary. As soon as you notice a problem, seek help from a lactation consultant who can guide you through the challenge.

Donor Milk: Breastfeeding is a phenomenal way to nourish and create a strong bond with your baby. The journey is easier for some than others. For those who want to nurture their babies with breast milk but cannot produce enough, you can seek donor milk to help sustain your baby. Donor milk can be purchased from breast milk banks or you can solicit help from other new mom friends that have an over-supply. You are not less of a mom for not being able to breastfeed but you are more of a mom for asking help in providing the best nutrition for your baby.

Babysitting: New moms know that getting a little break every now and then can be as refreshing as what a vacation used to feel like pre-kids. Well, almost at least. If a friend or relative offers to babysit, accept the offer! Even if you simply use the time to take a shower or grocery shop without kids in tow, do it! Having a reprieve can help you return to your mommy duties with new perspective, more patience and a better attitude. Plus, as hard as it can be for you and your baby, separation is good for you both.

Advice: No new mom has all the answers. Lean on your veteran mom friends for advice when you need it. Even if they’ve not gone through exactly what you are experiencing, they’ve had their own challenges and will be able to relate to you. Plus, they care about you and want to help you. Don’t isolate yourself but rather let friends do what friends are supposed to do – support each other.

We hope you practice these ways of accepting support as a new mom early and often. Some of parenting will be a struggle but if a helping hand can eliminate some of the frustration every now and then, it’s totally worth it. Always be grateful and in the end, pay it forward to the next new mama. After all, you’ll know more than anyone how much she really needs the support.