It's the height of flu season, and depending upon where you live, it's often too cold to even venture around the block for fresh air. That's why having a baby in the winter can be so isolating.
When my daughter was born, after those first couple of weeks full of visits and stocked meals, I found myself stuck in the house with a baby who wouldn't latch and couldn't sleep because of her reflux. And I had tendinitis so bad in my own wrists that I had to wear braces. None of these things were what I expected. While family and friends were at work and embedded in their own routines, I struggled to determine what my days should look like.
Thankfully, someone recommended a new-moms' group at the local hospital. Once a week, whether I'd showered or not, I packed us up and we headed over to a meeting. Five years later, the women of that group are still my closest mama friends. We've celebrated many milestones together, and we still rely on each other for answers to questions about each new stage our children reach.
Becoming a mother is a huge adjustment, and the right support makes all the difference. Many local hospitals offer new-moms' groups, and here are 5 reasons why you should check one out.
During the early days of motherhood, it is reassuring to meet other women who understand the full range of what those first weeks are like. Yes, there's absolute joy, but there's also anxiety, hormones, fatigue and healing. Meeting other women who have the same questions and feelings as you do can provide a huge amount of validation and comfort. (As a bonus, moms often bring and share coupons and formula samples that they're not using!)
Most new-moms' groups have a nurse available throughout the meetings. Whether you have questions about breastfeeding, different types of formula or how your sling is supposed to work, between the nurse and the other mamas on hand, you've got a great range of support and information.
Let's face it: Some parenting topics — like breastfeeding and vaccines — are lightning rods. These groups are specifically set up to be open to a range of parenting styles, so you can ask questions without worrying about backlash.
Newborns and small infants have no routine. They are still figuring out their schedule. Having a weekly outing scheduled on the calendar gives you something consistent to look forward to and a set opportunity to get out of the house.
As your baby grows, he will quickly start interacting with people around him. These meetings provide an opportunity to work on some tummy time while interacting with the same group of kids. When your baby gets bigger, ask if your hospital provides playgroups in which the crawlers and walkers can play together. Otherwise, maybe you and your mama friends can do what we did: Form your own playgroup!
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