Having a baby is an amazing experience, no doubt. It can also be scary, overwhelming and–if we’re being honest–a bit isolating at times. Birmingham moms have several great options for support during this transitional period–read on for more information!
While the birth experience tends to get all of the attention, it’s critical to prepare for the postpartum period as well. Postpartum doulas help you do just that. They’re professionals who can help ease the transition into motherhood. They provide information on breastfeeding and infant care, help care for baby and offer emotional support during what can be a trying time.
If you’re an expectant mother, consider reaching out to a postpartum doula before baby arrives. According to Allison Miller, postpartum doula and founding member of Birmingham Born, “As a mom, it’s better to anticipate needs than to wait until you’re drowning to ask for help. A postpartum doula can step in before you have the baby and make sure you’re set up for success.” Miller also said it’s important to set expectations with your partner before having the baby.
Meghan Ratliff is another postpartum doula with Momma Love. Her advice for new moms? “Know your personality, know you need support and set boundaries,” she said. Having a postpartum plan in addition to a birth plan is key.
Postpartum event October 22, 2019
Birmingham Born is hosting an event in October on the postpartum period, The [After] Birth Event. New moms and moms-to-be can get connected to helpful resources like meal services and house cleaning. Info below:
The [After] Birth Event
Tuesday, October 22, 2019
5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
The Avon Theater
New parent support group
The keynote speaker at The [After] Birth Event is Anjanette Robinson, a postpartum doula with Birthwise in Birmingham. Robinson received a Community Health Innovation Award grant through UAB to address the issue of postpartum care for low resource families in Birmingham and created The StrongParent Group.
In the StrongParent Group, parents can speak with doulas and lactation specialists and learn how to cope with the stresses that come with new parenthood. They can also get free well-baby and well-parent checks. “I hope women know that doing something for themselves is doing something for their baby,” Robinson said.
StrongParent meeting times below:
Every second weekend of the month, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Willow Wood Rec Center on second Friday
Central Park Rec Center on second Saturday
Breastfeeding support groups and consulting
Birmingham has several breastfeeding support groups, which is great because breastfeeding is isn’t easy. These groups include Chocolate Milk Mommies and the Baby Café at St. Vincent’s Hospital and Brookwood Baptist. More information about meeting times for these groups can be found here. New moms can also reach out to our local La Leche League.
If you’re looking for in-home lactation consulting, check out Central Alabama Lactation Services. Heidi Powell is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant who makes house calls in our area.
A big part of the isolation women feel after giving birth comes from society “not accepting the presence of parents with their young children,” said Dalia Abrams, also with Birthwise in Birmingham. (Who else has taken their baby somewhere and gotten eye rolls or a big sigh when baby started crying? It’s not a great feeling.)
Lucky for us, Birmingham has a yoga class where babies are welcome! It’s at Villager Yoga on Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. More info here.
Not only is heading to the library a great–FREE–activity to get out of the house, but they also welcome children! Check out your local library’s programming for kid-friendly activities.
Postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety: know the signs
A lot of moms experience the “baby blues” after giving birth, and that is okay! However, sometimes symptoms can go beyond the “baby blues” to something more serious.
Below are symptoms of postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety from the American Pregnancy Association. If you’re experiencing any of these, talk to your doctor. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help!
Signs of postpartum depression:
- Feeling sad, hopeless, and/or overwhelmed
- Trouble sleeping and eating
- Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
- Losing interest in things that you used to enjoy
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- No interest in your baby
- Thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby
Signs of postpartum anxiety:
- Changes in eating and sleeping
- Racing thoughts that you have difficulty controlling
- Constant worry
- Impending fear that something bad is going to happen
- Trouble sitting still and focusing
- Physical symptoms such as dizziness, hot flashes, and nausea
Whoever said it takes a village was right–and you can find your village here in Birmingham through these resources. New moms, you’re not alone!