New baby stress: do experts really help?
New baby stress is real and experts are available, but will it help?
Are you wondering what your baby is trying to tell you?
Do you find yourself feeling desperate for answers while the baby cries?
How often do you find yourself asking your partner over and over? Is he hungry? Should we change his diaper? Do you think he’s just tired?
Am I a terrible mother?
New baby, new parent
Many new parents have doubts about their ability to care for their new baby. Even mothers with experience with newborns will find parts of the early stage of motherhood challenging.
Desperate for answers and ideas, they doubt themselves and what they’ve been doing. This is especially true when breastfeeding a newborn.
Stressed? Add an expert
“Is he getting enough?” This is one of the biggest questions in the minds of new parents who are breast/chestfeeding their new baby. (Is baby getting enough? kellymom link)
This is such a common concern that there are entire industries devoted to helping new parents figure out if their baby is eating enough. From scales to measure how much babies take during feedings, to lactation support groups, to IBCLCs and CLCs who work with new parents, to pediatricians with extra training in lactation, to multiple manufacturers of breast pumps. The list goes on and on.
Do all lactating parents need these experts? Is the system of lactation THAT complex that it requires loads of experts and equipment? The answer is yes and no.
Too much help is not good
I wish that I could say that no lactating parent will struggle and need help. The truth is that successful lactation takes two, the lactating parent and the baby.
Both are learning how it works. Sometimes there are road bumps. Hopefully these road bumps will work themselves out overtime but occasionally you need some tips or tweaks to the system. Usually you only need the full team for short while.
But sometimes these experts can have a negative impact on process. Even their existence is enough to trip up the over exhausted, new parent.
How do these helpers hurt? Simply by existing, they inadvertently may make new parents feel like breastfeeding is too difficult and complex.
New and expectant parents hear from others about the struggles they experienced, the experts they needed, and the equipment they purchased, and it sends a subtle message that breastfeeding takes a lot of help. Now while a little help in the first few days can really give a new parent peace, too much help can be a problem.
Head to Part 2 for a real first time mom’s experience with helpers and how they didn’t really help. Plus ideas for how to make it better.