Postpartum Support Resources for New Moms in New York City

NYC Moms |Breastfeeding, Lactation, and Sleep Consultants | Maternal Health

In those final sleepless nights before your baby is born, you might lie awake thinking about what to put in your hospital bag, who will watch the dog...or, heck, whether you really love the name you picked. But the arrival of that baby brings on a whole new onslaught of questions.

Is he getting enough milk? Why won’t she sleep more than 45 minutes at a time? He cries so much….is it an allergy? When will I get this under control? Where can I find a mellow mommy and me class? WTF is that stabbing pain in my pelvis? And once the wave of eager visitors subsides, and you and/or your partner heads back to work, the questions tend to stack up. Who to ask? Where to find help?

Lucky for you, we NYC Mommy Poppins moms have a few babies between the lot of us (we’re not going to say just how many). We've compiled a list of resources that have been helpful to us over the years, from postpartum therapy and lactation consultants to parent support groups. And don’t forget to peruse our Baby and Pregnancy Guide for more NYC resources. Hang in there: It does get easier. Especially if you know where to get a little help.

Maternal Mental Health Resources

It's easy to think you're the only one struggling to keep it together when we're all fed a steady stream of our friends' "perfect" lives and photogenic children via social media. The truth is that yes, there are some women (and dads) who don't get as ruffled by the stresses of parenthood, but the vast majority of us are right there with you trying not to fall apart. Once you've been in the trenches a few years, you start to realize this and you wonder why you didn't reach out for help sooner.

Estimates show that up to 20% of women experience prenatal or postpartum depression. Anxiety is common, too—and how could it not be, when you're suddenly in charge of a tiny human's life? And by the way, this isn't just about first-time parents: Second-time (or third or fourth time) moms are often going through a similar slew of emotions. An OB is often the first to diagnose PPD or a related mental health concern, but there are many other resources, too. Here are a few in the New York area:

The Seleni Institute, a non-profit support organization for expecting and new parents, offers group and individual therapy along with a suite of postpartum services including support groups and workshops, and community events.

The brand-new Motherhood Center in Kips Bay offers counseling, support groups, and programs for both expecting and postpartum moms. Join a new moms support group (morning and evening sessions are available), take a breastfeeding or fitness workshop, or take advantage of their Motherhood Day Program, a day-long care and treatment program for new moms.

The Women's Program at Columbia University's Department of Psychiatry also offers therapists (call for a referral).

Premier Pediatrics in Manhattan and Brooklyn offers a suite of workshops and programs specifically for new parents, including "Beyond the Baby Blues," a support group for new moms with a licensed social worker, as part of its "The First Month" program for parents.

Brooklyn moms might check out the weekly Brooklyn Postpartum Depression Support Group, or Cobble Hill Counseling, which specializes in therapy for pregnant moms and new parents.

Use the Postpartum Resource Center of New York to find a therapist or psychologist near you by zip code, or call them for FREE support on the phone at (631) 422-2255.

Also, check out Psychology Today's directory of NYC counselors.

Don't be afraid to put those well-meaning but often clueless friends, neighbors, and family to work when they ask, "How can I help?" Dispatch them to the laundromat, the grocery store, and other errands. Park your mother-in-law or single friend in your living room while the baby naps while you go out to get coffee...alone...or get your toes done, or just wander aimlessly around the city. It's OK! You deserve a break! You will be a better parent with breaks.

RELATED: 12 Things to Do with Your NYC Baby Before They Turn 1


Lactation consultants can assist with breastfeeding and pumping. Photo by Jonica Moore Studio/courtesy of Baby Caravan.

Breastfeeding Support

Is your baby not latching? Or latching in a painful way? Are you not sure how you feel about this breastfeeding thing or just want to chat with other moms about it? Head to a FREE La Leche League meeting where an expert is always on hand to correct form, offer support, and even weigh your babe pre- and post-feed (membership encouraged to support volunteers).

Many of the La Leche meetings are hosted at local gathering spots, including NYC maternity stores or other venues with kid or mom services. Yummy Mummy on the Upper East Side, and Wild Was Mama in Brooklyn host breastfeeding support circles and other new mom events. Bonus: You can snag nursing bras at these spots, plus all the accessories you never knew you needed like nipple shields (ouch).

92Y Parenting Center also offers an ongoing breastfeeding support group, as does the downtown 14th Street Y and many of the city's YMCAs. The Seleni Institute also hosts breastfeeding support groups and workshops.

Boober offers on-demand, same-day breastfeeding help and support, and can send a lactation consultant to your home postpartum for pumping or nursing questions. Its sister organization Birth Day Presence can help with other forms of pre- and postnatal support, including newborn care classes and postpartum doula services.

Baby Caravan is another resource for all things prenatal and postpartum offering postpartum doulas, newborn care classes, and lactation consultants in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. In addition to a weekly new parent lactation support group, they offer daytime and overnight postpartum doulas to help get you started with breastfeeding and newborn care. For moms heading back to work after maternity leave, check out their Postpartum Back-to-Work coaching sessions.

Uptown Village in Washington Heights, which already offers a full suite of support for new moms, including postpartum doulas and lactation consultants, just added a monthly breastfeeding support group.

Nurture {Bklyn} in Park Slope, Brooklyn, hosts multiple lactation support groups each month, as well as therapy and support services for new parents, and Pregnancy and Postpartum new mom circles.

Motherhood Center in Manhattan offers a variety of classes for moms, including breastfeeding support, maternal mental health counseling, infant care and sleep issues.

One of our Queens writers recommends two postpartum gurus operating out of the borough: Postmodern Childbirth (home visits offered in Queens but also the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Northern New Jersey) and lactation consultant Nikki Katsuki (home visits in Queens and Midtown Manhattan).

Find more breastfeeding consultants via your OB, the hospital where you delivered, friends, or your local parenting group. Just remember to look for this international certification before signing up.

Pumping more milk than you know what to do with? There are milk banks right here in the city where you can donate yours to help someone else’s newborn thrive.

In a pinch? Don’t forget about KellyMom, an online site all about breastfeeding that my pediatrician turned me on to. Your child’s pediatrician is often an unexpected wealth of knowledge about breastfeeding. Mine, Heights Pediatrics, helped me position the baby in a more comfortable manner, diagnosed a case of mastitis and even helped me find a better pump. Don’t be afraid to ask your pediatrician breastfeeding questions! They can also help diagnose and care for thrush, tongue tie, and more challenges.

Sleep Support

Sleepless nights are part of parenthood, right? Sure, but if you are looking for help, reassurance, or even just ways to ease the various sleep transitions, from moving to the crib to dropping a nap, a sleep consultant can be incredibly helpful. The perspective of an outsider, especially when you're sleep-deprived, shouldn't be underestimated. First, though, ask your pediatrician. Some of the best sleep advice I received with my two little ones came from my pediatrician.

 

Google "baby sleep consultant" and you'll come up with dozens of names, including Mommywise, which one of our moms swears by. Collect references from friends, your pediatrician, and parent groups.

The Seleni Institute offers a group sleep support workshop for new parents with a pediatric sleep consultant.

Motherhood Center offers a variety of classes for moms, including breastfeeding support, maternal mental health counseling, infant care and sleep issues.

You might also consider calling in a night nurse who can help you earn a bit more shuteye, but can also help new parents establish a solid bedtime routine with babies.

Pediatric ERs

Heading to the ER in the back of a taxi pretty much cements your arrival as a NYC parent. We’ve all been there and we’re hoping you never are, but if so, we’ve compiled a list of pediatric ERs in Manhattan that offer specific pediatric services. Another quick tip: Ask your pediatrician which one they recommend. Mine sent me to the Kids Emergency Department that is part of the NYU Langone system. I was bawling when I arrived with my one-month old one fall afternoon, but the attendants were fast and reassuring and the place was spotless and recently updated.

Speaking of emergencies, you might also opt to sign up for a baby CPR and first aid course if you didn’t get to it while pregnant. We’ve rounded up where to find infant CPR in Manhattan, but you can also check with the hospital where you delivered or even your local yoga studio (if they offer prenatal yoga) or kid play space, which sometimes offer such community events at modest rates.

Pelvic Floor Therapist

The OB might have given you the all-clear at your six week visit, but maybe you feel like something is off. We’re not here to give medical advice, but if you’re dealing with pain, urine leakage, or something else of that nature, consider a specialist. Your OB might be able to recommend someone, or you can use this handy online search tool and locator to find someone who knows a lot more about our pelvic regions than we can ever hope to.

One of our writers, a mom of two, recommends Renew Physical Therapy in Midtown East. Wild Was Mama has added a Pelvic Floor class to their curriculum as well.

Baby Classes

You'll have plenty of time when your kids get older to schlep them from one after-school activity to the next, so don't stress if you want to skip the mommy and me classes. But a mellow class with your new baby can be a great excuse to get out of the house, meet other parents, and see your child interact with a whole new world.

Consider these baby classes in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. There are mixed age classes for those with toddlers and babies; music classes throughout the city, and even baby massage classes. By six months or so, you can also try parent-child swim lessons around the city, too. Find even more baby classes in our Classes Directory.

Also check out the drop-in play options in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.

Postnatal Exercise

If you’re looking to get moving again (no pressure!), check out these non-boring postnatal exercise classes that will ease you back into a routine. Bonus: They all let you bring your baby with you. Find even more in our Classes Directory.

Parent and Mom Support Groups

Parent friends get what you're going through more than anyone else. Luckily, even in this big city, there are loads of super local parent meet-up groups so you can find your tribe just down the block. 

You can also find new parent meet-ups through a variety of NYC institutions, including the 92Y Parenting Center ($10 drop-in sessions); Nurture {Bklyn}, in Park Slope, Brooklyn; and the Seleni Institute on the Upper East Side. Sometimes your pediatrician’s office will host new parent groups, too. One of our veteran moms swore by the drop-in "mommy-and-me stroll" at the 14th Street Y when she had her little one (now a tween). Many other local Ys offer similar parent groups.

By the way, one of the city's largest parent networks, the Park Slope Parents group, also hosts a page with a list of local postpartum support, from sleep consultants to postpartum doulas to incontinence specialists. Once you plug into one of these groups, whichever one it is, you'll likely suddenly find a whole host of support you didn't know existed. 

Top photo via Bigstock.

A version of this post was published in 2016; it has been updated. Suzanne Cort contributed additional reporting.