This Expert Doula Shares The 3 Things She Tells Every New Mom
Any new mom can tell you that advice comes in all forms from all sources in the lead-up to your little one's arrival. Whether it's advice on the type of stroller you need, soapbox soliloquies on breast versus bottle, or firsthand accounts of cloth versus disposable diaper experiments, it's a lot to process. Pair that with your own research and everything you've read on the internet, and it becomes increasingly harder to discern real information from "noise."
We hear you, mama. So we tapped doula extraordinaire Brandi Jordan. Brandi has been a birth doula for 35 families and a postpartum doula for 1,500 new moms. With that much experience, we'll gladly listen when she talks.
Ahead, Brandi shares three pieces of advice she tells every mom postpartum.
Curate a village if you have one
"Times have changed, and 'villages' aren't what they used to be. With family members spread far and wide, new moms might have to take it upon themselves to create their own.
"My mom's generation did things differently. When she had a baby, she moved in with her in-laws. And while she might tell you it was annoying at times, she'll also tell you she had plenty of help. With the support from her family, she didn't have to worry about meals and other basic things that most moms have to worry about, all while caring for a young child.
"By curating a village, not only are those basic needs being met, but it also ensures that you have people around you. They can see what's going on with you, double down on support when needed, and help you manage the postpartum anxiety and overwhelm.
"Keep in mind that curating a village also applies to moms who may have family close by but relatives don't share the same values or viewpoints about how to raise children. Ideally, you should fill your village with people who are like-minded. The idea here is to build yourself a village that supports what you do."
Remember: It won't be like this forever
"No matter what you're going through at the moment, it's important to remember that it's just a stage or a phase — and this, too, shall pass.
"This is especially important for first-time moms who have no idea what to expect. Whether we're talking about breastfeeding issues or your baby is colicky and fussy, this is just a point in time; the only way around is through, and you will get through it.
"I'll add here that this also applies to the good stuff. Your baby will never be 3 weeks old again, and your baby will never smile for the first time again, so just as you need to understand that the worst moments won't last forever, don't forget that the best moments won't either. So, don't forget to stop and take it all in as often as you can."
Feed your baby in a way that feeds your soul
"Feeding is a hot button for new moms everywhere. There's so much controversy around it. Should you breastfeed, should you bottle feed, should you pump, is formula good or bad—the list goes on. What you need to remember here is that at the end of the day, we have to feed the baby.
"And the best way to feed your baby is the one that allows you to enjoy the postpartum period the best you can. For some moms, it's bottle feeding; for others, it's breastfeeding, and there's no right or wrong answer.
"If you're thinking about making changes (i.e., switching from breast to bottle), try to get some outside support before you make any hard decisions. In my experience, many moms want to give up on breastfeeding when they've had a difficult few days in the process, but you don't want to give up too quickly because it may be just a phase (see point No. 2 above). If you've never experienced this kind of bump in the road, you might panic about feeding your baby and immediately seek out the thing that makes you feel better.
"Before you do, take a moment to lean into your village (see point No. 1 above). Even if that person tells you, 'It's normal, it happens, and here's how we get through it,' they're far enough outside the intimacy of the situation to give you some perspective and maybe some peace of mind."
Sharon Brandwein is a freelance writer who specializes in parenting, health, and sleep. Sharon’s work has appeared on ABC News, USAToday, Parents, and Forbes. Brandwein is also a Certified Sleep Science Coach. When she’s not busy writing, you’ll probably find her mixing in with her kids or digging through vintage books in local antique shops.