It Takes a Village to Raise a Mom:
Instagram Accounts for New Parents
There is something all at once exhilarating and frightening at the prospect of becoming a parent. And of course, any current parent will tell you (way more often than you really want to hear, honestly) how much you “don’t know what you don’t know” until you are in the thick of the newborn stage, sometimes struggling to stay afloat. During those times for myself, it was often comforting to find professional advice via social media accounts, as well as personal advice from friends who didn’t mind me frantic-texting about strange colors of poop and that new pterodactyl noise my daughter was making.
While none of these accounts should be used in place of seeking specific, professional advice for your family and child’s individual needs, I’ve found that supportive voices in cyberspace often helped me find comradery and advice from moms who have gone before me.
But before I share some of my favorite accounts with you, my therapist brain finds it important to set some ground rules for all of us prior to using these accounts. Bear with me.
1. Prioritize accounts that are run by licensed professionals. There is nothing more emotionally debilitating than finding yourself lost in the comments section of lay-people’s random, firey, polarizing opinions on sleeping and feeding practices. Influencers have their place (normalization, humor, & connection), but are not to be replaced by professional voices on important topics.
2. Know when to stop. You don’t ever have to continue to follow an account that is no longer serving you well. For that matter, it is absolutely okay to take a social media break all together if you find yourself experiencing heightened anxiety, depression, or intrusive thoughts*. I previously had a personal experience in which I chose to unfollow a poetry account about motherhood because, in its beautiful way, it evoked emotions so strong that I felt suffocated by them. I chose to return to that account when I am further in my post-partum journey.
3. Take what you need; leave what you don’t. Even professionals will often disagree on various topics, but they are more likely to provided evidence-based research to support their claims. Even then, for every evidence-based study that is conclusive toward one perspective, there is another completely contradictory one. At the end of the day, you get to choose for yourself what works best for your family. You can always reach out to a local professional for more catered and specific support for yourself and your child.
4. Nothing is one-size fit all. What works for one person’s family may not work for you. This is a really good time to remember that influencers are not professionals, no matter how funny or relatable they may be.
5. Trust the gut that the good Lord gave you. Your parenting intuition and real-life experience is more valuable than you think. Don’t throw your gut feelings out the window because of a graphic you recently saw on Instagram. Your child’s wake windows aren’t lining up perfectly with the recommendation for their age? Maybe he is teething—or sick—or going through a developmental leap. You are not raising your child in a linearly-trending vacuum, but in a real-world set of variables at any given moment. You are the expert on these variables.
6. Instagram moms aren’t showing you all of their skeletons in their closet. You are not failing if your day, your child, or your top knot doesn’t look anything like theirs.
Okay, enough caveats. Let’s get started and have some fun!
A dietician and an OT (Occupational Therapist)* who provide feeding tips for babies, toddlers, and kids.
Nonprofit providing breastfeeding support: They can also connect you to local support groups and lactation consultants
A team of made up of a nutritionist, allergist, swallowing and feeding specialists, & GI pediatrician* who are passionate about preventing picky eating in children and helping you confidently feed your kiddos
Postpartum & Baby Care
Education on various parenting topics (they currently have a FREE breastfeeding course)
A pediatric nurse with a multitude of resources and tips. Her baby registry guide is helpful for many mamas.
A pair of PTs* and certified pelvic floor specialists* who hilariously provide honest education about pelvic floor health
A nonprofit organization providing help for both moms and dads with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Their website is an amazing resource for in-person and online support of varying levels.
Pelvic floor PT* and birth coach who provides pregnancy and postpartum education. This is a great resource to learn more about what happens to your body in pregnancy and beyond—and how to move safely through each stage of the perinatal experience
Pre and postnatal fitness support from a doula* and nurse. Helps you comfortably and safely approach exercise through pregnancy and postpartum
For families with dogs who are hoping for a stress-free and safe transition for their dogs while welcoming a new baby into their home
Self-proclaimed “mama coach”, a nurse and lactation consultant* who provides resources for feeding, sleep, and general parenting skills
A nurse who created one of the more well-known trainings for sleep support. Her “day in the life” highlights were especially helpful for me to level my expectations as I prepared for motherhood.
Sleep support without utilizing “sleep training”
Resources for sleep support
The Wonder Weeks is also an app that can help you better understand your baby’s developmental leaps, or what I like to call “mental growth spurts.”
Pediatric OTs* (Occupational Therapists) who help guide parents through their baby’s physical development
A mama and her 15 month old who make travel look doable and teach you their tricks along the way
Car Seat Safety courses and resources
Certified CPST* and car saleswoman
Tips for traveling with a baby. A helpful, free packing checklist is included on her site
Local parenting collectives; check them out for events, support, and even neighborhood play dates or book clubs!
A mom you can probably relate to
She brings linguistic beauty to the motherhood experience!
Engaging and honest community of parenting stories
Supportive account about faith, relationships, and parenting
3 sisters (a doula, therapist, & designer) who post supportive and funny parenting content
@Big Little Feelings
A therapist providing parenting support for toddler tantrums
Family Therapist and mom to 3
PMH-C* licensed clinical psychologist who is dedicated to helping moms with their own emotional and mental health
Terms and Definitions for New Parents
Certified Pelvic Floor Therapists: Professionals who provide physical therapy to assist patients in utilizing better function of the pelvic floor.
CPST: Child Passenger Safety Technician: Certified technicians who provide instruction, education, and support for families installing and using car seats
Doula: a trained, professional labor assistant who provides services through pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. May be used alongside a doctor, midwife, or other birth professionals. Postpartum doulas specifically assist with at-home postpartum and newborn care.
Gastrointestinal Pediatrician: A doctor who specifically diagnoses and treats digestive concerns in children
IBCLC: International Board Certified Lactation Consultant: Lactation consultants support a mother and baby through the breastfeeding process. Many are covered under insurance and some come in-home.
Intrusive Thoughts: unwanted thoughts, often scary or startling, that “pop up” abruptly, sometimes repetitively, and can cause emotional distress.
OT : Occupational Therapist: Professionals who offer treatments that support patients in better functioning in their everyday tasks and activities
Perinatal: The time before, during, and after the birth of a child. Much like the term “postpartum,” the exact number of weeks or months can vary.
PMH-C: Perinatal Mental Health Certification: a certification available to a number of different types of licensed professionals. These individuals have dedicated special time, education, and practice to the support of perinatal clients
Postpartum: the term postpartum refers to the time after a woman has a baby. There are varying opinions on how long this time lasts; some resources consider the postpartum period to be the first 6 weeks following a birth, whereas many other professionals consider the postpartum period to last up to a year or more following the birth.
PT: Physical Therapist: Professionals who offer treatments regarding the physical body using exercises, massage, and other forms of care.
The messages relayed in each of these Instagram accounts do not necessarily reflect the individual or collective views of ChristianWorks or Allison Hurst.