You may have idyllic visions of nesting quietly with your partner when baby comes, but sometimes that peaceful little paradise requires a little help from your friends. Your body will be recovering, your hormones will be adjusting, and you'll be living on just a few hours of sleep—so this is the perfect time to reach out to people who can help. "Finding postpartum support is just as important as selecting a pediatrician, and you want to have the network in place before you have the baby, so you know where to turn when you need help," says Diana West, a lactation consultant and spokesperson for La Leche League. Here's a list of the top 7 people you may want to line up now for Team New Baby.
A Breastfeeding Wiz
Yes, women have been breastfeeding since the dawn of time, but that doesn't mean it's always easy! There are many different types of consultants who can help you deal with engorgement, latch-on, and sore nipples from nursing. You can start by looking for free breastfeeding support groups and leaders on the La Leche League website. To find an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) who will come to your home and help you with any nursing issues, visit the ILCA website, or ask your mom friends to recommend a postpartum doula they loved.
A Fashionista Mama
Unless you're a celebrity mom who has her private personal trainer on speed-dial, it will take at least a few months to fit back into your old clothes. And who wants to keep wearing her maternity wardrobe after the baby's here? This is where you'll really appreciate that well-dressed mom down the block who can lend you her post-baby clothes, or at least point you to the right website for chic nursing tops.
Everyone is going to want to come over that first week to coo over the baby and see which grandparent she resembles most. And you are just going to want to zonk out on the couch with the baby on your chest recovering from labor and not talk to them at all. This is where your loud-mouthed sister or best friend comes very much in handy. Put her in charge of the red-velvet rope at your front door—no one gets in until you're ready.
A Baby Nurse
They can be pricey (anywhere from $150 to $450 or more a day), but if you've never taken care of a baby before and have no clue about how to bathe such a tiny person or clip those itty-bitty nails, hiring a newborn expert to show you the ropes for the first week is a worthwhile investment. She'll also make it easier for you to nap now and then. FYI: Depsite the name, baby nurses are not R.N.s, they are live-in nannies for newborns. Google "baby nurse agency" in your city, and always ask for references.
A Personal Caterer
A.K.A. a generous family member. The last thing you'll want to do when you have a 7-pound baby in your arms is head to the kitchen to cook up a healthy meal. Instead, say yes! when your mom, your father-in-law, or your best friend offers to drop off a lasagna or casserole.
A BTDT Mom of a Toddler
There is nothing more helpful to a new mom than a friend who has been-there-done-that a few months or years ahead of you. She will let you in on that sore-boobs secret involving cabbage leaves and lanolin, recommend the most baby-friendly coffee bars in the neighborhood, and tell you what gadgets you shouldn't waste your money on.
Or Tina Fey, or Kimmy Schmidt, or the gang from Friends. Countless hours will be spent sitting in your rocker-glider or on the sofa either nursing or holding your baby, so grab the remote and turn on one of these funny ladies to give yourself a good laugh. You deserve it, Mom!