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  • MoxieTopics
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Moxie, you have so many good points here.

If you have any sort of community--church/synagogue, playgroup for an older kid, etc.--to tap into for meals, DO IT! After our daughter was born, a friend organized two weeks worth of dinners for us, made by friends, neighbors, and other synagogue members. (A couple of them were takeout delivered to us, but who cares?) It was the greatest gift to not stress about where meals were coming from, plus it cuts way down on necessary grocery shopping for however many days; even though they were only feeding 2 adults, there was often enough food for dinner and lunch the next day.

I personally think baby nurses are a huge waste of money/resources unless you truly need an extra pair of hands (i.e. if you are having triplets or above). They are very popular in my neighborhood, and people asked if we were going to have one, and I answered: "To do what? Bring me the baby from the bassinet at the foot of our bed?" Bottlefeeding, even pumped milk, in the middle of the night during the first couple of weeks will totally mess with your milk supply--thankfully I knew that way in advance. In terms of teaching baby care, anyone who has kids--a friend or relative, or Dr. Sears--can relate the basics. (When my mom visited she helped us with dd's first "real" bath--in the sink.)

I think a post-partum doula would be a wonderful way to go, especially because she's *not* there constantly. When my husband went back to work, my (local) MIL came. She looked after the baby while I took a shower, washed some dishes, etc....but I really didn't need her there for the ENTIRE day, even after a C-section. When I give birth again, if she can come for three hours just to entertain my toddler, that would be the biggest help of all.

I also agree with the idea of limiting visitors to the encouraging and helpful. When people brought us dinner, we invited them to stay for a minute--but most people had a clue and stayed for 5 minutes or less. The friends who stayed for longer than that live an hour away and brought a gift certificate to Motherwear and loads of nursing experience, so they were welcome to hang out :-) My mom's attitude was "I am here to help you be a great mom to my granddaughter." So that meant she did laundry, cleaned the bathroom, and helped us go food shopping. Plus she had nursed two babies and was totally encouraging in that department.

I think when you are figuring out life with a new baby, it's absolutely a time to put your needs/your baby's needs first--anyone who can't get on board with that will just have to wait for six to eight weeks.


A postpartum doula sounds wonderful.

Could I hire one even if I'm not postpartum? You know, just to hang around and help during a normal week? Sign me up.


Great suggestions, Moxie.

The only thing I'd add is that it is important to consider the impact that a "helper" person will have on your partner. Of course the mom is the one with sore nipples and raging hormones, but it's best for everyone if dad/partner can feel involved right from the beginning. In our case, if my mom had been around all the time in the beginning, I know it would have pushed my husband out a bit and not given him the space to figure out what to do (given how their personalities intersect).

Give your husband/partner lots of time to figure out how to comfort the baby, and don't rush in or let anyone else rush in when he struggles. Down the road, your life will be a lot easier if he builds his skills at the same time you build yours. The only way you're going to get any rest is if he feels capable and confident doing everything you do except for breastfeeding.

Her Bad Mother

My only comment on this great post (which I am forwarding to a close friend with a newborn so that she can refer to it while explaining to her mother why she can only visit for a few days) is to second Wood's comment: letting my Husband have the space to find his Daddy-legs and his confidence was critical to our postpartum well-being. And so important to him. Once we left the hospital, with all of its pushy (but great) nurses, he immediately became my best breastfeeding support, champion and cheerleader and a newborn care ace. I'm convinced that it was because he had the literal and figurative space in our home and in our relationship to do this.

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  • My expertise is in helping people be who they want to be, with a specialty in how being a parent fits into everything else. I like people. I like parents. I think you're doing a fantastic job. The nitty-gritty of what you do with your kids is up to you, although I'm happy to post questions here to get data points of how you could try approaching different stages, because, let's face it, this shit is hard. As for me, I have two kids who sleep through the night and can tie their own shoes. I've been a married SAHM, a married freelance WAHM, a divorcing WOHM, a divorced WOHM, and now a WAHM again. I'm not buying the Mommy Wars and I'll come sit next to you no matter how you're feeding your kid. When in doubt, follow the money trail. And don't believe the hype.
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