When we at GetzWell Pediatrics talk about holistic care, we are describing our emphasis on the whole child whose health is impacted by many factors, not the least of which is how well mom and dad are doing. New parents often focus solely on concerns related to their babies, forgetting that their own well-being is essential to that of their newborn.
The San Francisco parents we serve may have the impression that they must “go it alone,” and friends and family may inadvertently contribute to this perspective, keeping their distance to give families space to bond with the newborn. Of course, some self-sufficiency is important and it’s wonderful to develop a special family unit separate from other relationships.
However, we believe that newborn care benefits from the contributions of others: family, friends, and professional resources. When planning for your new arrival, we recommend that you build a solid scaffolding of support for you and your newborn. Here are three ways to accomplish this goal.
Just because breastfeeding is natural doesn’t mean it’s easy. For some women, it’s an emotional and physical challenge made more difficult by lack of sleep and good nutrition (more on that later). Most of the mothers who plan to breastfeed and come to us for newborn care in San Francisco benefit from extra support and TLC.
Before your child arrives, we suggest that you identify a lactation support professional who can assist once you and your baby are figuring out the breastfeeding rhythm. We advise mothers use an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and are happy to make referrals to competent and experienced San Francisco based IBCLCs.
If you’re breastfeeding, it’s easier for your newborn to eat well when you eat well and are properly hydrated.
In preparation for the care of your newborn child, talk with friends and family about setting up a “meal train:” a daily schedule of volunteers who bring food to your home. This saves you precious time, ensures that you have access to well-cooked food, and allows those who love you to contribute to your well-being. Additionally, at GetzWell we also offer guidelines about nutrition that specifically supports breast feeding and healing after birth.
An alternative to the meal train is ordering groceries for delivery. Businesses like Three Stone Hearth and Bi Rite Market or Good Eggs can be a great source for prepared foods and groceries in San Francisco.
Your Newborn Child and Sleep
You may find that rest is hard to come by if you don’t have someone to share nighttime feeding duties. Consider getting help from a friend or family member for a few evenings. You can also use a professional service, such as a nurse or night doula, which many couples find is a life saver in those early, sleep-deprived days after baby’s arrival.
Some mothers are reluctant to take this step, afraid of imposing on others or admitting vulnerability. As pediatricians, we advise you to take advantage of all of the resources you can. Supporting your own well-being is a vital part of caring for your newborn; it will give you the strength, clarity, focus, and energy to address the challenges of being a new parent, the most important job you’ll ever have.
Explore other ways to get ready for your baby’s arrival. Contact our San Francisco offices about the care of your newborn child. We love supporting our families!