Earlier I had written a post: Products for a new mother’s comfort – an exclusive list. This is Part 2 of that post. It lists the services that focus on a new mother’s needs and comfort. Everybody has different preferences, but when a mother is occupied taking care of the baby, it can be hard for her to look into her own needs. So this consolidated list attempts to gently bring the focus on her. I recognize that some of these services can be expensive, but again, my mantra is that “If a mom is happy then her family is happy”. So if you need to spend some extra bucks on yourself then let’s say that there is an ulterior, family-encompassing motive to that! :-)
- Lactation consultant: there are lactation centers and professionals that provide breastfeeding support and education. I used one when my child was a couple months old. I have to say that it saved me a lot of aggravation and it was money spent well. As a side note, if anyone tells you that a mother should naturally know how to breastfeed, then you have the choice to not believe that person! :-)
- Postpartum doula: a doula provides personalized care and assistance to help you to step into motherhood with confidence. You can make arrangements to have a doula for as long as you need, or as little. Your mother, sister or other family members can certainly take on this role, but sometimes we just need to hear it from a professional for it to work!
- Mom groups: in the various surveys and interviews of new mothers that I have conducted, many vouched by the support a mom group can provide. So do not underestimate the power of this, ladies! This is typically a local group where you can take your child with you and engage in relevant discussions with other moms. You can also look for an online group or leverage your social network of close friends & family.
- Physician: did you used to go for annual physical examinations but that slipped your mind after the baby’s arrival? Here’s a reminder to resume the annual physicals including breast exam and pap smear.
- Massage therapist: it’s no secret that a massage is good for relaxation and stress reduction, but be sure to check out spas that specialize in postpartum massage. Check with your medical provider first for any concerns or issues.
- Spa / beauty salon: speaking of massages and spas, we all know that a quick manicure/pedicure can make a huge difference in our mood. Also, when has a nice hair-cut not lifted our spirits?! So do try to make some time for this much-needed indulgence.
- Medical professionals (postpartum disorders): I blogged earlier about postpartum depression: What your mother never told you about postpartum. Psychiatrists, Psychologists, counselors, and social workers are the different types of professionals who help with postpartum mood disorders. Psychiatrists can perform full diagnosis and prescribe medications. Professionals in the other categories provide different kinds of counseling and therapy. If you think you need the help, do not hesitate to take your pick. Also keep trying till you find the professional you are comfortable working with.
- Nutritionist: a new mother, whether she is breastfeeding or not, should make it a priority to eat healthy food. It might be as easy as continuing the healthy routine you established during pregnancy. Do take help of a nutritionist if needed so that you can get personalized care and suggestions.
- Gym / fitness trainer: many moms worry about their postpartum weight and figure, not to mention other post-delivery gifts like stretchmarks and breast tissue. If you are a new mom, I would encourage you to focus on health & fitness more than the weight. Do join a gym or hire a fitness trainer if that’s going to help. Let’s also do a simple math – it took you 10 months to put on that weight, is it too much to give yourself another 10 months before you start getting anxious over it?
- Counseling for high-risk pregnancies: some organizations provide counseling and support if you have had a high-risk pregnancy and/or situations such as extended bed-rest, pre-mature birth etc. If you think instead of waiting and hoping for time to heal you, if you would rather be proactive about it then there is professional help out there.
- Breast pump rentals: this depends on personal choice and situation, but there are breast pump rental services that can provide hospital-grade breast pumps for a small fee. This can give you the convenience without having to shell out large amount of dollars.
- Meal services / meal calendar: you can look for healthy meal service options or join one of the meal calendar Web sites where family & friends can sign up and help with meals. In my surveys, many mothers mentioned that they do not at all feel comfortable asking for help. So if you are reading this and are a family member of a new mother, you can gently suggest this option to her and even volunteer to set up a meal calendar. The neighborhood in which I live has a community that delivers hot meals to households with newborns. It’s a wonderful thing.
- Parenting classes: while this isn’t exactly about a new mother’s physical comfort, some of the anxiety and stress in early parenthood can be attributed to not having the confidence to deal with the challenges of parenting. In that case, a parenting class can just be what you need to gently build your confidence.
- Babysitter / daycare: there are online services that let you locate babysitters. But also check out local mom groups and communities and ask for recommendations. You can also have an arrangement with close friends where you take turns babysitting.
- Transportation: some organizations provide assistance with transportation to go for doctor’s visits. The same organizations typically will offer other services too.
- House-cleaning services: if there is a good time to hire some help with household chores then I would say early parenthood days tops that list.
- Online grocery / shopping lists / finance: the Web is flooded with services and apps that let you do online grocery, manage shopping lists, pay bills, organize tasks and family activities. It can take some time to figure out which apps to use and what works for you. But the good thing is that much of this can be planned ahead of time during your pregnancy.
That’s all for now. Are there any other services that you would like to see on this list? All feedback is welcome.