So you're getting ready to have a baby, and you've hit that "oh, shit" moment in pregnancy when you realize there will actually be life — and a breathing, feeding, rarely sleeping, always pooping baby — after the pregnancy. (This usually happens seconds after the "oh, shit" moment in pregnancy when you realize that most of what's making it impossible to walk / sleep / reach your shoes / 474 other things is going to come out of your body, most likely using mostly your own strength.) Once you get the baby home, what in the hell do you do?
How do you find a moment to toast a bagel? What happens if you have trouble breastfeeding? Who will check in to make sure you're still breathing when you're spending 23-1/2 hours a day tending to the baby?
Postpartum doula and lactation consultant Lisa Zimmerman of Maternal Child Connections shares tips on how to care for a single mom who has just had a baby. Whether that single mother is you or someone you love, here are practical, compassionate ways to be well, stay present and enjoy the early days with baby.
Three things single moms can do before the baby is born:
- Take a stress audit, noting what causes you stress and what relieves stress.
- Plan and save for support services, like doulas.
- Ask loved ones for specific kinds of support, and outsource what you can't or won't ask family and friends for right now.
And one critical way to help a single mom with a new baby? FOOD. Ask her:
- Would you like me to bring food to you, and care for the baby while I'm there so you can do something good for you?
- Or would you prefer that I have food delivered to you or drop something off at the door so you can have privacy?
- Can I organize meals with our friends for your first month (or week or year)?