We've all heard the arguments surrounding being a stay-at-home mom versus a working mother, attachment parenting and the effects on children, breastfeeding exclusively or supplementing with formula...and the list goes on. Any mother knows that bringing a baby home for the first time can be challenging. We all want what is best for our child and trying to meet the expectations we've set for ourselves can be overwhelming. Circumstances can sometimes shatter even the best laid plans.
We've all heard the saying "It takes a village to raise a child," yet some of us don't understand the full meaning until we have children of our own. Rather than criticize each other for the parenting decisions we've made, let's start to look at ways we can support one another. After all, we're all mothers with a common goal -- raising healthy and happy children.
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Start a Neighbourhood Support Group for New Mothers: Gather a group of your best mommy friends together to support expectant mothers in the area. You can offer to bring over meals when she's too tired to cook, bake cookies for when she's having a sugar craving, offer information on mom and baby programs in your area, be available to answer questions when the new baby arrives or offer to help clean her home while she settles in with the new baby. The possibilities are endless! She's sure to appreciate the help and will be happy to pay it forward when the next neighbourhood baby arrives.
Donate Baby Supplies: Do you have old clothes or toys that your children have outgrown? Were you sent samples of baby formula that you didn't use? Check your local listings for organizations that you can donate these supplies to.
Donate to a Milk Bank: Did you know that there are milk banks in Canada that accept breast milk donations for infants that wouldn't otherwise have any? There are many reasons why a mother may not be able to breastfeed and we should not be so quick to criticize. Rather than judge a mother, why not try to support her and her infant by donating your excess milk. You can contact the Calgary's Mothers' Milk Bank at 403-475-6455 or the B.C. Women's Milk Bank 604-875-2424 (local 7634) for more information.
Start a Mom and Baby Group: If you can't find a mom and baby group in your area, why not start one of your own? You can advertise through your neighbourhood newsletter, at your prenatal class or at your local health clinic. Meeting other mothers in the area is an excellent way to start a mommy support group. Your children can learn to interact with other children while the mommies discuss their child's newest accomplishment, any questions they have regarding childcare, and just enjoy some adult conversations.
With a little creativity, we can all think of ways to support one another through the wonderful journey of motherhood. As an added bonus, you'll have a group of great mommies to plan some fun nights out on the town with (because all moms deserve a break, right?).