Who’s on your parenting team?
This last week I had the opportunity to represent both Bundoo and The Newborn Channel at the Big City Moms baby show in NYC. For five hours, expecting and new parents stopped by our space to say hello and ask questions. I even had a few mamas thank me for putting them at ease after reading an article on Bundoo.com or watching a video on The Newborn Channel. These events are busy, but I inevitably leave feeling inspired and proud of the work we do here.
I also recently had the chance to sit on a panel of experts hosted by the hilarious duo, Cat and Nat. For those of you who don’t yet follow Cat and Nat on social media, I highly recommend checking them out. They are two awesome mamas with seven kids between them, who somehow find the time to entertain us with a hilarious dose of mom reality.
Our panel answered questions about preparing for motherhood. Dr. Dina DiMaggio of Pediatric Associates of NYC discussed how to find a pediatrician. Julie Arvan of Nesting Days explained the role of a postpartum doula and some of the science behind placing a newborn skin-to-skin. Donna E. Ellenbogen, M.S.Ed. LCSW, founder of Family Wellness Solutions, NYC, discussed how to transition into motherhood emotionally and how to ask for support from your partner and those around you. I briefly discussed breastfeeding, including how to tell if your newborn is getting enough and how to plan on returning to work while breastfeeding.
The overarching theme to all these topics is one of support. What the “experts” all agreed upon was that new parents need support. You need medical support, in the form of a good doctor, and breastfeeding support, which might come from a lactation consultant or a local support group, such as one run by the La Leche league. And you need emotional support from your partner, friends, a doula, or a therapist.
No mother has it all together from the start, no matter how fancy her clothes or expensive her stroller. The beautiful stuff displayed at a baby show is fun, and sometimes useful, but not a measure of parenting success. The important lessons learned when you gather a room full of experts together is that no matter how much you physically prepare for a birth or adoption, parenthood changes you in ways you never expect. It is also harder than most of us ever expect.
There is no prize for taking on this challenge alone and no penalty for needing help. If you have a support team in place, including good resources for online information such as Bundoo, you can feel empowered to take on parenthood. You can also feel comfort in knowing you have a safety net in place. Cultivating your support team before the arrival of a new family member is every bit as important as buying a car seat or safe sleep space. I hope to be part of your team!