Baby Settler Blog

Collateral Damage: The Postpartum Dilemma
Hillary Sadler | June 3, 2020
The period of time immediately following delivery is commonly referred to as the “fourth trimester” among Woman’s health care providers and “baby experts”. The first six to twelve weeks postpartum can be….difficult, to say the least. If someone tells you it was all rainbows and butterflies, well, they are…. simply put…. Lying. It isn’t an easy transition for mothers (or partners), whether it’s their first baby or their fifth baby. Yes, a seasoned mother is going to possibly have an easier time adjusting and managing during the immediate postpartum period…she knows there is an end in sight… but all mothers go through the hormonal shift, sleep deprivation, and role transition after delivery of their baby.
I have worked (and continue to) in Woman’s Health, specifically Labor and Delivery, Newborn Transition, Postpartum, and as a Lactation nurse. During this time, I have seen a huge gap in education and support for woman and partners during the prenatal period, and especially, during the postpartum period. I have had been the labor nurse admitting a patient for an elective induction of labor who states she doesn’t want Pitocin or an artificial rupture of membranes. Surely that patient didn’t think her body was going to spontaneously go into active labor upon admission to the hospital. No. What then? It’s evidence of the lack of education or lack of confirmation of understanding information.
I’ve been the newborn transition nurse discussing delayed cord clamping and newborn medications with parents who have never even heard the terms I’ve used, and they are needing to make informed decisions about their newborn child, but they haven’t been informed about their options, benefits, and risks. I have been the nurse working in the hospital on the postpartum/newborn couplet unit that walks into the room to a tearful mother who feels inadequate and overwhelmed trying to breastfeed her baby. Worried her baby isn’t getting enough to eat, and misinformed or uninformed about what breastfeeding looks like during the initial newborn days. I can assure you, it is natural, but it isn’t easy. And that’s the truth. I’ve helped many parents who have called me after they got home, and said, “everything was perfect until we left the hospital”. I’ve helped moms and partners who are overwhelmed, exhausted, and unsure related to breastfeeding, pumping, and supplementing. I’ve helped seasoned mother’s figure out what’s causing their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th child to throw such a wrench in their days and nights. I’ve helped get toddlers and preschoolers who have spent years sleeping in their parents bed, sleeping restfully, all night long, in their own bed. As cute as our little ones are, we all need some time during the day (and night!) to just be our self. And not have to tend to the constant needs of our littles.
The global pandemic hasn’t helped the fourth trimester, that is certainly for sure. A time that can often feel lonely and isolating for many moms has been even more isolating. Fear about the virus itself may make mothers and partners feel even more isolated. Parents want nothing more than to protect this new life, but many times that may lead to googling or misinformation which can often times cause more fear and anxiety. A lot of support groups available to new mothers aren’t meeting. Resources for lactation support and advice are scarcely available. The pediatrician appointments are a quick in person check or a virtual consult that doesn’t allow for effective communication. Mental health for mothers and partners is so important, and I worry there are so many women who may be “suffering in silence” during this crazy time in history.
Baby Settler was “created” May 1, 2020. Many people would say it’s a terrible time to start a new business, but I say….there is a NEED for this type of support. The support was needed prior to the pandemic, but especially since the pandemic. In- home and virtual consults include supporting new and seasoned expectant parents prenatally with education related to childbirth, newborns and what supplies you actually need for a newborn, and what to expect related to breastfeeding a newborn. During the postpartum period, the consults include support related to newborn care, postpartum care for moms, and infant feeding support (breast or bottle) and sleep. Support continues through infancy and into toddlerhood including help establishing a routine, that supports extended nighttime sleep, that is as unique as your baby and specific to your life and needs. Sleep support through early childhood as well.
It is my JOY and pleasure to help parents navigate the journey through babyhood. In a world full of very loud advice about how to sleep train your baby, we are missing the most important thing. That is, empowering mothers (And partners) to trust your instinct and be confident in your ability to know what is best for your baby. If there is anything I have learned over the years, it is the true uniqueness of each baby and family. There is no: one size fits all.
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