When women become new mothers in our culture, many leave round-the-clock care and support for the isolation of their own homes with little access to a knowledgeable support network.
They often don’t know where to get help with the emotional and physical difficulties of motherhood—or even that the help exists. Sometimes they are afraid to ask for help because they are afraid of being judged or criticized. Often new mothers have little confidence in their abilities.
Almost every other skill, from cooking to driving, is most successfully taught when new learners are paired with skilled role models. But new mothers are expected to read books, watch DVDs, search online and pore over resources to try to learn how to parent.
We believe that many new mothers are almost being setup to fail. With our organization, we are implementing specific programs that will foster the mom-to-mom community support that so many new mothers are missing.
Motherhood can be daunting, and our organization focuses on providing resources to mothers without promoting any specific parenting style.
Our initial plan is to:
Expand the current Smart Mommy Meetings into surrounding communities
Create a Breastfeeding Support Warm Line for phone support
Create an Adopt a Mommy program to provide daily phone support for new mothers
Expand our Lending Library of Parenting Books
Expand our online support through our Facebook Group page
Provide vouchers for mothers needing breastfeeding support or products
Identify mothers needing lactation counseling and ensure they receive it in a timely manner
Begin a research program — topics to include breastfeeding, parenting and motherhood
Begin a training program for mothers who want to be involved in supporting other moms
Almost eleven years ago, Suzanne and her husband Chris were first-time parents finding out just how difficult and stressful it can be to do something as seemingly simple as feeding a hungry baby. Having done all the research, Suzanne understood that breastfeeding would give her daughter the best start possible, yet none of the books she had read, nor the classes she had taken, prepared her for the reality of trying to get her baby to actually latch and feed successfully.
After seeing four Lactation Consultants and Speech Therapists and ENT specialists, a grueling 12 week schedule of nursing, pumping and bottle feeding 10 to 12 times per day and faced with having to return to a full-time job, she decided to exclusively pump milk for her daughter. She eventually succeeded in establishing a full supply by pumping and through sheer determination fed her daughter breast milk until the age of two.
During this rocky and stressful start, Suzanne and her husband found that while support was available, it was not easy to find. Lactation Consultations were costly and not covered by their insurance. Once the decision was made to exclusively pump, support was virtually non-existent.
Suzanne saw an opportunity to improve the situation for other parents and set about doing just that. Over the next few years, she volunteered on a breastfeeding support online board and eventually began providing mom-to-mom support for other nursing moms. This eventually led to the creation of Merry-Go-Round/My Little Juel, a local business in Kingwood, Texas that is now known as the best local resource for new parents in the area.
As Suzanne's business prospered, she found herself drawn more and more into providing support for new mothers. In 2007, she become a Certified Lacatation Counselor, and by early 2012, she had provided support for over 1000 new mothers in the area.
In 2010, Suzanne founded the Smart Mommies Education Foundation, Inc. non-profit to further expand the support for local mothers. A strong support network has developed as a result, and now the organization is on the cusp of launching an innovative peer support program (Adopt a Mommy).