When you’ve just had a baby, along with the joy he or she brings there can also be a lot of self-doubt. “Am I feeding/burping/bathing/sleeping them the right way?”
As a new parent, hopefully you’ll have a core circle of family and friends you can rely on. But sometimes their advice just isn’t enough.
Thankfully there’s a whole host of professionals in Hong Kong who can help you out in those first tricky months.
Here’s June’s list of some of the most important people to add to this list:
These trained and certified professionals can be your main carer from week 12 all the way through delivery and beyond.
In public hospitals in Asia you may see a different midwife on each visit, but if you opt for private treatment you will have a named midwife who will get to know you over the year and can even help you deliver.
As well as being an incredible font of knowledge on everything pregnancy and baby related, they can come and check on you and baby at home, post-delivery.
A doula is not a medical professional and cannot perform clinical tasks like a midwife, but they may be one of the best supportive hands you could hire.
They can attend prenatal appointments with you, help you come up with a birth plan and—importantly— ensure this is carried through by the hospital when the time comes.
They are there for your practical, emotional and spiritual needs both during pregnancy and labor, and in the vital months after.
If you’re pregnant, you may have never heard of a lactation consultant. Its only when you’re in the middle of a boob crisis that a fellow mom will sing their praises.
These professional breastfeeding specialists are clinically trained to swoop in and help you deal with latching difficulties, painful nursing or low milk production. They can also help you come up with a back-to-work breastfeeding plan.
You can request to see one after delivery in public hospitals, but it’s worthwhile seeing one beforehand or having a few numbers on speed-dial in case you need quick help in the first few days.
For the first 30 days post birth, Asian families commonly turn to specialized confinement ladies, referred to as “pui yuet” (陪月) in Cantonese.
A full-fledged industry has emerged around these birth-recovery assistants, who are typically referred via word of mouth or through specialized agencies and get booked up months in advance.
The nannies will move in with new parents for at least a month and are tasked with mom’s recovery, providing solid guidance on diet, health and baby care.
Many have professional nursing knowledge and qualifications on valuable topics such as post-natal nutrition or Chinese medicine.
Hopefully you won’t need to seek medical advice for your baby immediately, but many parents-to-be will begin the process of choosing a pediatrician before the birth.
There’s nothing more stressful than facing a dilemma over an unexplained fever or a rash at 8pm on a Friday and not knowing who to call.
Word of mouth is powerful when it comes to pediatricians, so ask around for recommendations and then make an initial appointment to see if you’re a good fit—a lot of it comes down to personality as well as qualifications.
Ubiquitous in Asia, domestic helpers sound too good to be true: live-in women who can help six days a week with childcare, cooking and cleaning.
Expectant mothers often hire them to help prepare the home for the baby, provide them with some much-needed respite during the early months and take over care if they return to work.
Helpers develop a very special bond with the child and will often stay with families for many years.
Your fellow moms are probably your single greatest resource, from pregnancy right through to graduation.
Antenatal classes are a great way to meet other parents-to-be, but the most common way now is to join your ‘Baby Due Date’ group online.
These will be the moms you turn to on WhatsApp during those 3am feeding sessions, when you can’t stop the baby screaming or are in need of a fun night out.
It really is true that these first baby friends will be your pals for life, no matter where you end up living in the world.
We are very privileged to have so many people outside of the family circle who are willing to help us out through the ups and downs of parenthood.
Relaxed, well-rested parents will be able to provide the best support to their little ones.