new mom Tag

Military moms in Alaska encourage new parents to accept help

Being a new mom can be lonely

Being a new mother can be lonely, especially during those early months when it feels like your only constant companion is a newborn who spends most of their time sleeping, eating, and crying. You may never be alone, but that doesn’t mean you won’t feel alone sometimes. It can feel like a whole world is dependent on you because, in some ways, it is. You’re the center of your little one’s world at that age, and that’s a huge responsibility.

Now, imagine that feeling of loneliness, but you’re on a military base in Alaska, just about as far away from your family and friends as you can possibly get without a rocket to the moon. That’s the challenge that new moms Amelia and Katie Fish are facing. Amelia, a civil engineer in the Air Force, and Katie, a teacher, recently celebrated their second anniversary, and in June, they welcomed their son Hudson home after a pregnancy with several complications.

When we first spoke, the expectant moms were eager for that initial skin-to-skin bonding and for the chance to compare his earth-side personality to the karate-kicking kid they saw in ultrasounds and dopplers. However, they were also experiencing the challenge of distance from loved ones who could offer support as they navigated pregnancy, delivery, and even planning for childcare once the two return to their respective careers.

Amelia, Katie, and newborn baby Hudson at home in Alaska

Here’s Katie’s top four tips for military families expecting a new baby, but this wisdom is just as true for any new mom.

Find your people

“I highly recommend finding ‘your people’ no matter where you are located or how long you have been there. It’s never too late to start meeting people. Connect with other military families, people you may work with, neighbors, and members of your community.”

Create community

“Join social media groups for military parents both for your specific installation and the armed forces. It’s especially helpful for creating community amongst others with shared experiences, navigating pregnancy, parenthood, and Tricare.”

Plan ahead

“Sign up early for childcare if needed. The waitlists can be long for Child Development Centers both on the installation and for recommended providers off base as well.”

Accept help

“Military families are often resilient and independent due to the nature of our lifestyle. Don’t be afraid to accept help from others. Having a support system is such a blessing.”

At Milk N Mamas Baby, we’re moms as well as experts in breastfeeding and pumping, and we’ve been there. We understand how lonely and stressful the challenges of being a new mom can be, and we hope that our posts offer you a little encouragement and community. We’re also here if you’ve got questions about breastfeeding, pumping, and how to get more comfortable with both. If you’re a military mom, let us help you navigate Tricare breast pumps. Reach out to us if you’ve got questions or concerns.

Welcome home, baby Hudson!

 

 

Breastfeeding moms need support from partners and other family members.

How can partners support breastfeeding moms?

It’s not uncommon for new parents to be nervous about all of the new responsibilities they’ll be taking on. The biological experience of pregnancy helps mothers to adjust to their new role. However, their partners may feel they’ve been dropped into the deep end when the baby arrives. It can be difficult to know how to help, and this is particularly common when mom is breastfeeding.

Some obstacles to partner support

After delivery, mom may be too tired to explain what she needs to her partner. She may not even be entirely sure what she needs. On the other hand, her partner may feel left out of the experience or even a little jealous. They might also feel powerless to do much to help or nervous about interfering with breastfeeding and mama-baby bonding.

Why supporting breastfeeding is important

Just like anyone doing something for the first time, a new mom needs support when she begins breastfeeding. It may seem that breastfeeding should come naturally. After all, women have been doing it for millennia. However, the truth is she’s probably just as nervous as her partner. She may also be worried that she’s doing something wrong. And let’s not forget that she’s tired. Really tired. Guaranteed.

But breast milk is the very best nourishment that a newborn can have. Nothing is more nutrient-rich or offers more health benefits – both long- and short-term – for babies. Breastfeeding is even good for mom, releasing feel good hormones like oxytocin and prolactin that help to reduce her stress levels and encourage faster recovery from childbirth. Plus, women who breastfeed have reduced rates of breast and ovarian cancer as well as other chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Breastfeeding also helps mom bond with her newborn, and it can enhance the social and emotional development of babies.

At the community level, no other form of nourishment is as sustainable as breastfeeding. It’s totally green, which benefits our environment, and healthier babies grow up to be healthier, happier, more productive community members.

How partners and other family members can help mom

Help around the house

Often, one person in a partnership is the cleaner upper. Usually, it’s the person who cares the most about a tidy, comfortable home. Unfortunately, that often tends to be the mom. When she’s breastfeeding, however, she may not have the energy to clean up. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t care or that a house gradually falling into disarray doesn’t bother her. One of the biggest ways a partner can help is by picking up the slack around the house.

Let mom sleep through the night

A good night’s sleep is critical to a recovering mom’s health, and her health is critical to her milk supply. Therefore, mama needs a good night’s sleep every once in a while. If she’s pumping, step in at night to feed the baby so that she can have the uninterrupted rest her body needs.

Be supportive of breastfeeding in public

As difficult as it is to understand, there’s still lingering controversy around breastfeeding in public. I have a mom friend in New Orleans whose mother-in-law nearly crawled under the bench in embarrassment when her daughter-in-law breastfed her hungry baby in a park. Fortunately, my friend’s husband pointed out to his mother that the worst that could happen in the Big Easy is someone throwing beads at the new mom. That’s how you support your partner when she’s breastfeeding.

Know your way around a breast pump

A breast pump can really level the playing field for parents when mom is breastfeeding. It means that she doesn’t have to be the only person feeding the baby in the middle of the night, for example. However, breast pumps are a little more work than breastfeeding. But for partners who enjoy a gadget to fiddle with, breast pump support can be the perfect job. Pumps and bottles need to be cleaned regularly, and pumps also need to be assembled after cleaning. If the pump and bottles are always at the ready for mom, her life is that much easier.

Get involved in breast pump logistics

Here’s an idea. When the mother-to-be is shopping for a breast pump, participate. Show as much interest as you might show in the search for a new computer or a new car. Breast pumps are pretty amazing machines, and they make it possible for partners to share more responsibility with breastfeeding. Take some time to read up on the best models and to learn how they work. We’ve got plenty of articles here to start with, and of course, our experts are on hand to answer all of your breast pump questions.

9 Baby Products You Need For A Newborn Baby.

What do you need for a baby?

Congratulations Mama! You are going to have a baby! It’s a wonderful, joyous time for you! As exciting as this time is, it’s also time to be thinking about what you need for a baby. If this is your first baby, it can seem overwhelming. We are here to help and support you in this journey. Here is a list of some things that you will need for a baby.

 

Crib or Pack n Play

Some parents like to have both or at least just one in the beginning for the baby to sleep. Some parents like the pack n play because it can be smaller and more portable. If you plan to have the baby in the room for the first few months, this would be a great option. Make sure to grab sheets that fit snuggly against the mattress.

 

Clothes

When it comes to clothes, you can never go wrong with onesies and sleepers for the first few weeks. For size, have a couple newborn on hand, and get more 3 months, as babies tend to grow out of them quickly. Sleepers, onesies, pants, and socks are ideal for newborns. For onesies, its good to have short sleeve and long sleeve.

 

Car seat

A Car seat is very important. Before you leave the hospital, your car seat has to be inspected by a healthcare professional to make sure it fits right and that it is installed correctly. Most parents like to get an infant car seat with a handle, as it does help protect the baby and is helpful when carrying a newborn.

 

Swaddles/Sleep sacks

When putting your baby to sleep, they will most likely want to be swaddled. You can buy swaddles with Velcro that are adjustable. They provide added comfort and making swaddling easy. Some babies do not like to be swaddled and might like a sleep sack better. Sleep sacks help keep your baby ventilated and warm, without the worry of a loose blanket.

 

Pacifiers (If you plan to use them)

Some parents like to hold off on giving a pacifier as it can be confusing for babies to decide if they are hungry or not, especially when you are breastfeeding. Whether you plan to use them or not, it’s good to have just in case.

 

Changing station – Diapers, wipes, changing pad, diaper cream

A changing station sure makes for an easy clean up!  Most pack ‘n’ plays come with a little changing table adapter to add on to it. If not, grabbing a comfy changing pad to have in the area where you will be changing the baby is perfect. Diapers and wipes are definitely a need, along with some diaper cream. It’s always good to have some diaper cream in case a rash flare up. A diaper pale, the final resting place for your endless dirty diapers is a must have.

 

Blankets

While babies cannot sleep with lose blankets, it’s good to have a few baby blankets on hand for either a car ride, to lay on the floor for tummy time, or for just cuddling with your sweet little baby.

 

Bottles/nipples

Whether you plan on breastfeeding, formula feeding or doing a combination of both, it’s always good to have bottles and nipples on hand. Nipples come in different shapes, sizes, and flow rates. Familiarize yourself with the options that are available to you when shopping for your bottles and nipples.  Some nipples are created for breastfed babies, others for premature babies or babies with feeding challenges.  What works for one infant may not be ideal for another.  Starting out with a slow flow rate nipple is ideal for most babies.

 

Breast pump & accessories

If you’re a Mama that plans on nursing, it is always a good idea to have a breast pump. Breast pumps help you better establish your milk supply.  You can pump while leaving your baby with your partner or caregiver. When you are planning to go back to work, it’s a good idea to start pumping and storing your supply prior to your return to work.  Most breast pumps, come with different flange sizes, make sure to ask your healthcare provider to assist you with flange sizing. Be sure to replace your tubing, backflow protectors, valves, and membranes regularly for optimal breast pump performance.  If you are in the market for a 100% insurance covered breast pump, we are here to help. Simply fill out our insurance sign up form. We’ll get to work on delivering your insurance covered breast pump.

expectant mom eating healthy in preparation for breastfeeding

How do I prepare myself for breastfeeding?

The ups and downs of breastfeeding

Breast milk contains all the essential nutrients your baby needs to develop. It’s a natural immune booster for newborns, and it reduces the risk of many lifelong illnesses. It even helps new moms lose some of the weight they put on while pregnant and triggers the happy hormone oxytocin that helps both mom and baby relax.

But it’s not always easy. Some days you’ll be tired and “touched out” from so much contact with baby, as described by Amanda Barnhardt in our interview with the military mom. Some days your little one will be colicky and even the soothing balm of breastmilk won’t ease the crying. On those days, it’s good to be prepared. So how do you prepare for breastfeeding?

Assemble your breastfeeding support team

Feeling supported during your time breastfeeding will increase your chances of success. A knowledgeable team will help you mentally prepare for the experience while also helping you respond appropriately to challenges you may face. While your breastfeeding experience will be entirely unique, it can help to know that you won’t be alone in your experience. Lots of us have been there, and we can help show you the ropes and support you throughout your time nursing.

Who should you include in your team? Recruit your doctor and your baby’s pediatrician as well as a lactation consultant if possible. Enlist friends who have breastfed or make new friends via local breastfeeding or parent groups. You can even give the consultants at Milk N Mamas Baby a call or email if you need a sounding board.

Become a breastfeeding expert in your own right

If you can find a breastfeeding class in your community, sign up. Not only will you get some in-person time with lactation consultants who can offer valuable information on what to expect, you’ll also have an opportunity to meet other breastfeeding moms. However, if there aren’t IRL classes, you can learn plenty online from sources like Medela’s Breastfeeding University or the Learning to Breastfeed Library at the website for the Office of Women’s Health. Books like La Leche League International’s The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and Breastfeeding with Confidence by International Lactation Consultant Association President Sue Cox can also offer insight and encouragement. The more you know about breastfeeding, the more confident you’ll be, and that’s half the battle.

Get the breast pump equipment you need ahead of time

Deciding on the right breast pump for your situation will also take a little time and research. Do you want manual or electric? Is portability important? What sort of suction are you looking for in a pump? How often will you use it? If you’ve got insurance, you’ll need to find out if the pump you prefer is covered. Fortunately, you’ve already got some support in this area. We’re more than happy to talk you through your decision and help you choose a pump that’s just right for your circumstances. Just give us a call at 1-888-606-8425 or email us at [email protected].