I’ve been thinking a lot about support lately. When I created my services, MamaCare and Mama2Mama, I did it in part with my own experiences in mind - what I wish I’d had and what I want for our new baby. It can be a struggle though because every baby is different and sometimes you just don’t know what you’ll need until you’re in it.
With Avi, I didn't really know my different options. My mom and mother-in-law had both strongly suggested we get a baby nurse. So we hired a woman to be with us 24/7 for the first 2 weeks and I'm glad I did. Avi slept in her room at first and she would bring him to me for feedings at night. I got to maximize the amount of sleep time because she did the diaper changes, burping, and put him back down. And it was certainly helpful to have someone around at the beginning to ask questions.
We ended up letting her go a little early because it turned out that I didn't need 24/7 support for very long. I also learned that baby nurses don't have official credentials or training. That’s not to say you can’t have a good experience with them, but it did make sense when I thought back on some of the advice she gave me that sounded a little 'old-school'.
So, I won't be using a baby nurse this time around. But I definitely think all moms need some kind of support, in addition to family and friends. One of the options I’m considering is postpartum doula. After Avi was born, I became certified as a postpartum doula myself and have come to really appreciate the work that they do.
A postpartum doula will typically come to your house for a set amount of hours after the baby is born and just take care of mom. They let you sleep or shower or workout. They make you lunch. They are experts in newborn care and mom care - physically and emotionally.
And you get to choose how often they come over. It can be once a week for several weeks or several days in a row.
The other option I'm strongly considering is the virtual option. I think the benefits of virtual support are obvious - you get all of the advice, validation, information that you'd get from a doula and/or lactation professional whenever and wherever you want. If I want to do a 45 minutes session in my pajamas at 9am, I can. If I need to do a session in the car on the way to the pediatrician's office, I can do that too. You don't have someone in your own home, but for me, I think I might prefer that sometimes.
And now, we’re even seeing virtual support groups popping up. I love this idea because they often have a specific niche and you can find support from moms who are going through the same experience as you.
It seems a little crazy that I’m already thinking about this. At 29 weeks, I am officially in my third trimester. The time has flown. This pregnancy has been so different than my first. I just haven't had time to think about it in the same way and I haven't counted down the days. I haven't taken the weekly bump pictures, paid attention to the weekly fruit, or read about each daily development. It's not that I don't care about this pregnancy or this baby, it's just a different situation when you've got a toddler running around.
I know what I'm getting into this time and while I'm excited to have another child, excited for Avi to have a sibling, and excited for this next phase of our lives, I'm also incredibly nervous.
I'm nervous about the lack of sleep and how I'll deal with those long, lonely nights. I'm nervous about how Avi will regress and emotionally act out when he finds himself competing for my attention. I'm nervous about what will happen to my business. And the biggie: I'm nervous about breastfeeding.
Anyone who knows me knows that I'm an advocate and supporter of exclusively pumping moms. I'll proudly tell my story to anyone willing to listen. But I can't pretend that it wasn't difficult. Those weeks leading up to the transition - when Avi stopped gaining weight, the realization that my supply was dipping, the tongue tie correction that didn't take, and the last time I nursed him were some of the most emotionally difficult times as a parent. If exclusively pumping turns out to be my path with baby number 2, then I will go into it confidently and committed. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous.
We still have some time before I have to make a decision. I'll continue to weigh the options and pick what's right for us. And I'll keep reminding myself that everything in life - pregnancy, the newborn period, the sleepless nights, and even breastfeeding- is only for now.