Finding Support as a New Mama
When I first launched my small business, designing stylish, functional breast pump bags for mamas, I created a professional bucket list. At the top of that list: partner with Kellymom.com. I’m so excited to be back for my second year in a row of sponsoring KellyMom! In my first months of exclusively pumping with my oldest daughter, Maddy, and again in the initial days nursing my second daughter, Abby, I probably visited KellyMom 50+ times for information and support. Thanks, KellyMom for being an amazing resource and for partnering with me!
While running my company, I have the great fortune of engaging with mamas and giving back the support so many of them gave to me. It’s definitely a dream job! My top piece of advice to expecting and new moms is find support. At a minimum, bookmark a handful of incredible, evidence-based websites like KellyMom, to reference on your phone when you find yourself in a jam. If you can build on that with additional support, all the better. I live in an urban area that offers a lot of resources, so I was really lucky to have several new mom groups to choose from. I recommend seeking these groups out before baby arrives. It was helpful to sign up (or have a list) in advance; along came baby and I was way too overwhelmed and exhausted to do that kind of research, but because of advanced planning, I had dates already on the calendar. It was a bit of self-care accountability having a commitment to join already in place. Find a group of mamas that provide nonjudgmental support – and if the group you initially join doesn’t feel right, keep looking. My new mom group also formed a Facebook group and that was helpful in keeping the conversation going between in-person sessions.
Social media has pro’s and con’s – as a new mama, you’ll find yourself inundated with advice, some of it great and some unhelpful or even hurtful. Use social media to your advantage: there are TONS of amazing new mom, breastfeeding, baby wearing and other types of groups out there that will provide you with support.
Same advice as the in-person groups applies here: if a social media group is making you more stressed than helping you, quit, and find a new one.
If you can get partner/spouse, family or friend support, ask for it and take it if it is helpful. That’s up to you to decide. Sometimes it’s more stressful (such as to the Type A person like me) to host a bunch of people over (worrying about your dirty house) than helpful. Other times, having adult conversation, babysittng so you can get a shower, or a meal delivered is useful. Whatever would be helpful to YOU, mama, ask for it where you can get it. In particular, a partner or spouse can be incredibly supportive in those early months. My awesome husband Greg helped with bringing me food while I nursed or pumped, and giving me total peace and quiet for 30 minutes so I could sleep or shower. My mom has been a really critical help to me as well, in particular with post-partum recovery.
There are many other great sources of support: lactation professionals, hospital/pediatric practice support groups, mom meetups, play groups, baby/night nurses, and on and on. There are even a half dozen phone apps for meeting other moms in similar situations – there’s an app for that! Not all kinds of support are available or accessible to all mamas; whatever your community offers and your budget allows, I do recommend trying to find one or two outlets to safely vent and share. Some of the people that help you along the way will become lifelong friends and supporters, while others will help immensely but be here and gone in the blink of an eye in this fast-paced, roller-coaster-ride called parenthood. Good luck mamas! You can do it!
Sarah Wells is offering a special discount for KellyMom readers:
15% off all breast pump bags and accessories on sarahwellsbags.com using the code KELLYMOM2017 through April 30, 2017 at 11:59pm ET.
Click here to shop Sarah Wells Breast Pump Bags
About Sarah Wells Breast Pump Bags:
After the birth of her daughter, Sarah had her entrepreneurial “light bulb moment” and launched Sarah Wells Breast Pump Bags, based on a stylish and functional designer handbag that replaces the frustrating tradition of carrying a cheap vinyl breast pump bag or five separate bags for all a mama’s “stuff”. Since that time, Sarah’s business has grown by leaps and bounds, while she speaks with women from across the country about the blessing and challenges of motherhood. Sarah is a mom, an entrepreneur and a women’s health advocate. Prior to starting her business, she spent 15 years running national nonprofit organizations committed to achieving quality healthcare for Americans, with a personal passion to improve policies for girls and women.
Sarah Wells offers handbags that fit all portable (and some hospital grade) breast pumps on the market, in a wide variety of styles, colors and prices. She also designed the popular “Pumparoo” pouch for breast pump parts (wet/dry bag), which moms can use to refrigerate their parts between pumping sessions and clean just once a day.
Learn more: http://www.SarahWellsBags.com