Research by experts tells us what many have long suspected: that those new parents who have support and feel secure and cared for during this time are more successful in adapting than those who don’t. Studies have shown that cultures in which women are cared for by others for a defined period of days or weeks and are expected only to nurture themselves and their babies during that time have superior outcomes in postpartum adjustment (1-2). We know that women who experience support from their family members, care providers, counselors and peer groups have greater breastfeeding success (3-10), greater self-confidence (11-15), less postpartum depression (16-21) and a lower incidence of abuse than those who do not (22-24).
There is also evidence indicating that timely referrals to competent, appropriate professionals and support groups can have a significant positive outcome for the family (11, 18, 20, 21, 25). Parents benefit from education on what to expect from a newborn, baby-soothing skills, feeding, bonding and attachment and coping skills (3, 13, 26-30). Rather than being told to “help out”, partners and other family members benefit from concrete instruction and role modeling on how to support a woman during the weeks after birth. Research tells us that support for and from the partner can have a significant impact on their partner’s own experience as well as the emotional adjustment of the mother (3, 8, 17-21, 31-36).
Posted in: Postpartum Support
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