Build Your Village - How to Get Out and Meet Other Moms or Parents in North and South Austin
Creating a local support system can be very important to keeping your sanity as a new parent. Once you join the Heirloom Family you’ll always have a built in community! Whether its a meal train, holding your newborn so you can take a shower, or meeting up for coffee to get you out of the house on your first postpartum outing, we have each other’s back in this group. That’s why we call it a family! The following list of activities and resources was compiled by suggestions from other Heirloom parents on how to get out there to start growing your circle.
Wear that Baby
Babywearing has been proven to help improve mom’s mental state postpartum and increase breastfeeding success rates. Having your hands free while your needy newborn baby is snoozing away is a feeling of success that’s difficult to describe. You’ll just have to try it for yourself! Baby Wearing International of Greater Austin has 4 meetings a month, ranging from Cedar Park to New Braunfels with Round Rock and Central Austin in between. They have amazing educators to help you figure your own carrier or find the perfect match for you. Another bonus is their huge lending library, so you can try before you buy. For only $30 a year you can rent a different carrier every month!
In the past Mandy has facilitated babywearing events for her clients to try out different slings and learn from accredited babywearing educators. If you’re interested in one of these types of events just let her know and she can set up another one!
Fresh air, exercise, and Vitamin D can do wonders for parents trying to emerge from the fourth trimester fog. Meet other parents, introduce your little ones to nature, and let big kids have free rein in an inclusive environment. Hike It Baby is an amazing national group dedicated to helping parents get out for a walk at least once a week. The Austin branch has grown exponentially over the past few months and has even featured on the local news. The main website has a great calendar feature that lets you search for hikes in your area based on different criteria (like dog or stroller friendly). One of their main principles is that no mama or papa is left behind. So take it easy if you’re newly postpartum but they are a great way to get out and to meet new people!
During the fall and winter the Heirloom Family holds a weekly walk around Lady Bird Lake. Strollers, dogs, and big kids are all welcome! In the summer we swim once a week at Deep Eddy and there’s always an extra pair of hands to hold a baby so you can take a dip. Bring a friend too! Our community is always growing.
Austin is full of events for expecting parents. No need to wait till your baby is born to start building your community! Meetup.com is a great place to find different parenting groups. Mandy is one of the founders of the Austin Home Birth Meetup that meets one a month and discusses different topics relevant to home birth families. Another local social group that’s very popular is the Bump Club. Their events are also listed on Meetup.
The Heirloom Family events are a great way to meet other moms who are expecting around the same time you are. From mom’s night out to baby day at the movies or touring the local fire station, we try to plan lots of fun family friendly events through out the month. I met one of my best mom friends for the first time at the Holiday Client Reunion. Our boys were born only 10 days apart. It’s a special bond we will share for life.
Many medical authorities, including the American Association of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization, strongly recommend breastfeeding for its health benefits to both baby AND mama. It’s the normal way mammals feed their young but unfortunately it is not always as easy and natural as we hope it to be. One of my favorite parts of midwifery care is that it includes breastfeeding support and postpartum care. The local La Leche League is a place where you can find support AND new mama friends who have had the same struggles you have. Sore nipples? Been there. Cluster feeding? Yup. It can be incredibly helpful to share these experiences with other women and learn from certified Lactation Consultants.
Getting out for the first time and being in what you know is a supportive environment can help you overcome anxiety about nursing in public as well. It is your right by law in Texas to feed your child anywhere you are legally allowed to be. But knowing it’s your right and exercising it are two very different things. My newborn was a super messy eater which made it hard to feel comfortable nursing him out of the house. One of my first successful outings that lasted longer than the hour between feedings was at a Midwife Cafe meetup.
Help Yourself Heal
Did your birth not go as you planned? Are you exploring your options to have a different experience this time? Are you struggling with depression and anxiety during any part of your pregnancy?
Postpartum Mood Disorder is something Mandy herself has struggled with and strives to provide every resource to her help clients. Contact her today for a list of local professionals that specialize in helping mothers through the postpartum period.
The International Cesarean Awareness Network, Inc. (ICAN) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans through education, providing support for cesarean recovery, and promoting Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC). This group has amazing resources in person and online to help connect you with others that share your experiences. It can be a great way to heal and start to build your own mama tribe.
Mandy has supported many mothers in having a successful HBAC (Home Birth After Cesarean). For mothers who do end up in a hospital transfer she can do a rebirthing experience at a later time which has been very healing and provided closure to her clients.
Regardless of where you find them, building a support system of other parents is vital to keeping your family healthy and happy. Even in this crazy digital obsessed world, it still takes a village to raise a child. The Heirloom Family would love to have you join our tribe. Contact Mandy today for more information on whether a home birth in Austin is right for you.