Im expecting a baby, with family unable to visit Singapore what support is available?
As an expat one of the most difficult things to cope with is the distance from our families. This couldn’t be more true at the moment without the ability to easily travel to visit or have them come and visit us! The first few months after having a baby can be isolating and lonely and with things the way they are, not having anyone able to visit and support us, it can be daunting. This was true for me as I gave birth two weeks before lockdown. All the family who had planned to visit and give support had to cancel their travel plans and the emotional support I needed during this time was done over zoom. This support was amazing but when all you need is a hug from your mum, someone you trust to hold the screaming baby and a knowing look from an aunt or sister when you are feeding round the clock; it still felt very lonely. Husbands and partners are amazing but they go back to work so soon after the baby is born and with current situations making it hard to get in domestic help it can seem like there is nowhere to turn.
Confinement nannies and night nannies can be useful for practical support, but not all of us want someone living with us. It can also be difficult to find someone who has the same ideals as us and cultural differences can make things more stressful than helpful during the fourth trimester.
The next best thing to family we have here in Singapore is the beloved bumps family. A lot of preparation goes into preparing for the birth, but when you take your baby home it feels like no amount of planning or research can prepare you for what’s to come. Beloved bumps has an array of postnatal care that can give you at home support for an array of issues you may face! A midwife visit in the first few days after you get home, and knowing they are coming helps you know you are not alone and that there is support coming. In the following weeks things change so quickly and reading books or, of course, asking google can be overwhelming. An infant support nurse/postnatal doula can help during the fourth trimester for any issues you may face. This follows on from the midwife visit, once you are settled in at home. As a registered nurse with training in the postnatal period for the whole family, there are many areas that support can be provided. Checking in on the emotional wellbeing of the whole family is crucial and observing which areas help may be needed. Babies need to be held a lot in the first few months and can struggle to sleep on their own; this doesn’t give much time for parents to give themselves care. Having someone hold the baby who isn’t emotionally involved can help calm the baby and give the parents time to eat, shower or go for a walk. Many parents can be daunted by the idea of giving baby that first bath at home, hands on support can also be provided for help with this and other practical things, giving.
Remembering all the information you read and were told before you had the baby can be impossible. How long should baby be awake for? What is cluster feeding? Should I introduce a dreamfeed? When should I stop swaddling? When should I do tummy time?… the questions are endless! The service also includes having a nurse available via whatsapp, in between visits, to provide evidence-based support. This can really help save precious time, which you don’t have with a newborn, to get information you need. This is in addition to any practical and emotion support you could need.
The most important thing to remember as a new mum, weather this is number 1, 2 or 5, is that you are not alone! There is a support network out there in Singapore for you that can meet all your needs no matter what they are and you will never feel alone.