Archive for September, 2008

Get out to the Park

So when do you start going to the park with your baby? As soon as you can convince a friend to meet you there. New moms, for some unknown reason, think the park is not for them. Their baby can’t move, after all. It’s not like you can just set it on the equipment and play yourself.

Newsflash: the park is for moms, not kids.

What? Seriously? For moms? Yes. For moms and all your mommy friends. The fresh air and mostly safe environment is a perfect place to catch up on everything that’s going on in your lives. Take a blanket, some snacks, water, and you’re set for hours. Diaper changes smell less in the fresh air and a crying baby is somehow soothed by breezes, green grass, and the sound of other kids, bigger kids, playing.

Once the baby can sit up, you can put them in the baby swings and stand and talk. This will be the beginning of your standing and talking park days. As the baby starts to crawl and then walk, you’ll follow it around the playground and your friend will follow you. Or vice versa. Somehow, you’ll encourage the babies to crawl up the same slide so you can hear what happened at the end of the fight your friend had with her husband or what the pediatrician said or how she got such a great deal on her designer diaper bag.

Don’t discount the importance of the park. It is vital to your sanity. It’s worth the effort because it gets you out of the house, around people, talking with your friends and the baby also gets some socialization. If you don’t have a park friend, set your intention to make one. Join a mom’s club or vow to meet a local online mommy friend in person . . . at the park.


Shower time

One of the best ways to help the baby blues is to actually leave your house
after the baby is born. I know the thought is terrifying, but your child will survive the millions of diseases floating around out there waiting to attack it the minute you walk out the door of your cave. It will survive old ladies with blue hair reaching in to touch its hands (gasp!), children running past who cough at the very moment they breeze past your bundle of joy, and animals who happen to pee in the vicinity.

You may be thinking that there is no way you can leave the house in your state. You haven’t showered for days, your roots have grown out, and you can no longer locate your makeup bag. First, let’s just get you showered.

Shower? How? When? What happens if the baby cries? Believe me, you can do it. Drag the bouncy seat into the bathroom. Then pop the new babe in it and turn on the vibrate feature. One of three things may happen.

  • One, the baby may get all jiggled around and vomit. Solution: abort the shower and clean baby and bouncy seat. Crying would be appropriate here. Try again tomorrow without the vibrate feature.
  • Two, the baby will start crying. Solution: super fast mommy shower. Wash only the most important areas. Forget washing your hair. Just rinse. Jump out and comfort baby while you cry about the baby crying.
  • Three, the baby will love the sound of the shower and the vibrations and will sit happily until you’re done. Success!

Now . . . Get – out- of -the house. Pack up the diaper bag with every item in the nursery and go to the grocery store or a restaurant or the mall. Walk around. Be part of humanity. It will help you feel better.

How to find a therapist . . . for postpartum women

There are only about a million articles written about how to find a therapist. What to look for -experience, degrees, licensure – and who to ask – friends, your doctor. Those are the basics.

I think postpartum women have a few more requirements that are important to consider. Let me tell you a story. A friend of mine knew at 10 days postpartum that there was a problem. She called a local specialist in postpartum depression who told her that she needed to join a therapy group and that the baby wasn’t welcome in session. This was a 10 day old . . . that she was nursing. Her baby couldn’t go more than about an hour and a half without nursing. She woud have a half hour drive from her house, an hour and a half during group, and then a half hour drive back. That would be two and a half hours away from a newborn.

Those of you who are pregnant and reading this may ask, “what’s the big deal?” Those of you who have had a baby have probably gasped in horror by now.

My friend did not go to that therapist, but the story continues. She saw a psychiatrist who was not familiar with breastfeeding and told her she would have to wean to go on antidepressants. My friend had breastfeeding information in her hand, printed out, and the psychiatrist refused to look at it. She refused to wean her baby and found another psychiatrist who would prescribe something safe for breastfeeding. There are antidepressants safe for breastfeeding, but that’s another blog!

If you’re desperate at the moment of reading this, please contact your local La Leche League leader for a list of safe antidepresants.

When looking for a therapist, postpartum women should consider a couple of factors:

  • Is the psychotherapist close enough to your house?
  • How long will appointments run?
  • Does the psychotherapist allow you to bring your baby with you into session?
  • Is the psychotherapist supportive of nursing and the nursing relationship if you are choosing to nurse?
  • Does the psychotherapist understand the demands of new motherhood? 

If the therapist doesn’t allow your baby in session and you still really want to see them but just can’t figure out how to work it out with a newborn, consider taking your partner or another caretaking person with you to attend to the baby in the waiting room.  

It’s really important to find a therapist who understands not just motherhood, but the overwhelming changes that come with new motherhood. You shouldn’t have to leave your baby for extensive periods of time or wean them to overcome postpartum depression.

Even if you’re just having some difficulties adjusting to new motherhood or dealing with a difficult delivery, the same applies. Find a therapist that you feel understands and is willing to work with you, not against you.