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Bringing Home a Newborn without Support
Updated on
September 11, 2023

Bringing Home a Newborn without Support

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Bringing Home a Newborn without Support.
Bringing Home a Newborn without Support

We’ve all heard the saying “It takes a village to raise a child.” And while that’s absolutely true (from grandparents and other family members to babysitters and daycare), what if you don’t have a village close at hand?

Maybe you’ve recently moved somewhere far from your support system and haven’t made new connections yet, or your usual support system isn’t available due to schedules, illness or something else. Whatever the reason, the thought of bringing home a newborn without support is daunting. And it’s okay to let yourself feel all the feelings around it—stress, fear and so much more.

But there are a few things you can put into place to make your time at home with your new addition more manageable. Keeping these tips in mind won’t replace the village new parents usually count on for help, but they can help you feel less stressed and less alone as you adjust to new parenthood.

1. Stay in touch

It’s easy to lose track of time and let one day (and night) slip right into the next when you’re in the thick of it with a new baby. Setting aside a specific time of the day to chat–either virtually or just by picking up the phone–with a family member, friend or fellow parent can go a long way in helping you to feel more supported or less alone.

Figure out who in your life is going to make you feel your best, who will make you feel supported and who won’t mind hearing about all the weird and wonderful things happening in your life as a new parent (and won’t judge you for anything). Put a date on the calendar every day or every other day during a time that works for you both.

Have a friend who’s also a new parent, or know someone who’s been there, done that with a few kiddos already? Who is your go-to for all things baby advice? Reach out to them and figure out a time to talk each day. Sometimes something as simple as a 10 minute conversation or quick venting session is all you need to calm your nerves and get your mood back on track.

2. Join online groups

We understand how hard it can be to leave your house with a newborn, but luckily there are plenty of ways to connect with support groups and professional help online.

Online breastfeeding support

Take an online breastfeeding class or join an online support group. Many new parents agree that breastfeeding can be one of the most challenging parts of becoming a new parent. If an in-person visit from a lactation consultant isn’t possible for you, there are plenty of virtual options that are just as good:

  • Breastfeeding 101 is a class designed by Krystal Duhaney, RN, IBCLC and founder of Milky Mama. It’s an on-demand course that you can take from the comfort of your home. “It’s perfect for expectant parents, new parents and even experienced parents,” says Duhaney. “It is designed to prepare, educate and empower parents to have successful breastfeeding journeys, helps answer some of the most common questions that new parents may have about breastfeeding and even some questions they didn’t think to ask.” Duhaney also offers a breastfeeding support group with over 25,000 members on Facebook called The Official Milky Mama Lactation Support Group.
  • La Leche League, whose mission is for parents worldwide to breastfeed through support, encouragement, information and education, runs online breastfeeding support groups and virtual meetings. You can also find local support on their website.

Online parenting support

You can also find more general postpartum support online. From parenting groups and wellbeing courses to more individualized support from a postpartum doula, there are a lot of online resources made specifically for supporting and educating new parents with caring for newborns.

  • Keeping Mommy in Mind is a virtual class that was specifically designed for new mothers. It was created by a licensed psychologist with specialized training in perinatal mental health and can help you learn how to manage your role as a parent and navigate changes in mood, relationships and identity.
  • Major Care (My Fourth app) is a virtual postpartum doula service where you can get live support from a doula via text and video. They’ll help with everything from healthy postpartum recipes and self-care tips to babywearing techniques and how to burp your baby.

Online mental health support

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by new parenthood, and the inability to bring in any outside help can really take a toll on your mental health. Scheduling a telehealth session with a mental health practitioner may help. You may want to check with your health insurance provider before you set up a session to learn more about your mental health benefits.

  • The Postpartum Stress Center operates under the mission of providing support, counseling and education to new parents who experience difficulties related to pregnancy, pregnancy loss or the postpartum period. Their Professional Referral Directory makes finding a PPSC-endorsed therapist in your area quick and easy.

3. Start establishing a schedule

Dreaming of the time when your baby will have a schedule you can set your watch to? While you’ll get there eventually, the newborn days aren’t the time for strict routines. Between feeding on demand and sleeping on demand, newborns certainly don’t require a schedule to thrive.

But having a loose, flexible routine can help you feel more in control during those early months, especially if you’re navigating new parenthood without any outside help. According to Dr. Harvey Karp, pediatrician, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block and creator of the Snoo Smart Sleeper Bassinet, there are a few tips to keep in mind when working on a newborn schedule:

  • A rigid schedule isn’t recommended, but a flexible schedule that works around approximate times for feeding and sleep can work.
  • Help your baby distinguish day from night by carrying them often during the day.
  • Aim for a feeding every one-and-a-half to two hours, then try for a nap. Feed your little one in a quiet room to minimize distractions.
  • Use white noise and a dark room to signal that sleep is on the way.

4. Share the load

If you have a partner at home with you, making sure you share the load of new parenthood is even more important now than it would be under normal circumstances.

One of the biggest benefits of having outside help during the postpartum period is it allows you to take a break. While someone else holds the baby, you can sneak in a quick nap or take a long shower. But with no family, friends or in-person postpartum doula around to help, you and your partner need to rely on each other to trade off so you can each have a little time to yourselves. Try these tips:

  • If your little one is drinking formula, switch off each feeding so one person can rest while the other feeds the baby.
  • If you’re a breastfeeding parent, sharing feeding responsibilities can be trickier—but it’s still doable. Have the non-breastfeeding parent get the baby when they’re crying and do a diaper change, then bring you the baby when they’re ready to eat. Once your supply is established, start pumping to build your stash of breast milk and have your partner feed a bottle of pumped milk to your little one.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Let your partner know when you need a break, a shower or even a quick nap, and encourage them to do the same. It’s easy to assume the other person in your relationship knows what you’re thinking, but that’s often not the case. Stay calm, be honest and try your best to meet each other’s needs during this (crazy, stressful, tiring) time.

5. Be gentle with yourself

This should go without saying no matter what you’re going through, but it’s never more important than during the postpartum period—especially when you’re not able to enlist any outside help: be as gentle as possible with yourself.

Prioritize what’s important and let go of what’s not. Try not to feel bad that you’ve ordered out the last four nights instead of making your usual home-cooked meal. Don’t worry that you haven’t folded the laundry and instead left it piled on a chair somewhere; even piled up, it’s still clean.

The newborn period is all about survival; do what you need to do to make it (sanely) through the day. Listen to podcasts or binge something mindless on Netflix or do some yoga or take a quick walk around the block if you can—whatever brings you a little peace and sanity. Don’t put any extra pressure on yourself or on your partner.

And remember, it gets easier. We promise.


Babylist Staff

Editor

Babylist editors and writers are parents themselves and have years of experience writing and researching, coming from media outlets like Motherly, the SF Chronicle, the New York Times and the Daily Beast, and the fields of early childhood education and publishing. We research and test hundreds of products, survey real Babylist parents and consult reviews in order to recommend the best products and gear for your growing family.

This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Babylist may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content. Learn more about how we write Babylist content and review products, as well as the Babylist Health Advisory Board.