Facebook groups, meetup, places of worship and neighborhood message boards can help new parents find support but for moms and dads who may want more formal or specialized support, local resources for DC, Maryland and Virginia are here:
Postpartum Mental Health Support: Perinatal Mood Disorders are the most common complication of pregnancy, with 1 in 7 mothers experiencing postpartum depression. Fathers and partners can also experience postpartum issues, called Paternal Post Natal Depression in men, and early intervention is key in helping parents' mental health. Postpartum Support International (Postpartum.net) is a non-profit with chapters in every state and their mission is to provide "current information, resources, education, and to advocate for further research and legislation to support perinatal mental health."
Twins, Triplets and Higher Order Multiples: For parents expecting more than 1 baby at a time, a support group can be the non-judgemental village able to offer advice, fellowship andhands-on support for the unique circumstances multiples' families face. For example, club members volunteer to assist parents with household tasks or care of older children if new babies are staying in the NICU, or a mother is confined to bedrest. Besides advice from veteran parents, multiples clubs are also known for their excellent consignement sales and passing on those expensive double strollers and gear to new families who need them!
- Northern VA Parents of Multiples (NVPOM) is one of the largest multiples' organizations in the country and is open to all parents in Washington DC, Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, Vienna, McLean and beyond. - - Montgomery County Parents of Multiples is open to all multiples' parents in Chevy Chase, Bethesda, Potomac, Gaithersburg and DC. If your town isn't listed here don't worry, you can still be a member!
Children with Special Needs: Families whose babies are born with a special needs diagnosis often have government resources to turn to for help and these resources are usually listed by county:
- In Washington, DC Childcare Connections lists early intervention, playgroups and childcare resources for babies and toddlers experiencing developmental delays or wishing for special needs assistance. - Families in Fairfax Co. can begin their search for early intervention services by using the Infant and Toddler Connection (ITC). - Montgomery Co. parents can visit Montgomery Co. Infants and Toddlers Program (MCITP) for local early intervention and family training.
Breastfeeding Support: Perhaps the best known resource for nursing help is La Leche League International (LLL) and that reputation is well earned as LLL has been helping moms and consulting with medical professionals parents since 1956.
La Leche League of Maryland, Delaware and DC has email and phone support as well as in person meetings open to all who are nursing, feeding human milk or support nursing. Meetings are led by accredited Leaders who are also experienced breastfeeding parents.
La Leche League of Virginia and West Virginia offer meetings and breastfeeding cafes, and help mothers who are currently nursing or wish to by phone and in person.
General Support - Based in Bethesda and unique to the DC Metro area, Parenting and Childhood Education or PACE Moms, offers educational and emotional support for first and second time moms. Parents a placed in groups led bymental health professionals and as it says on their website, "The combination of education and support works so well that P.A.C.E. group members usually continue to meet on their own after the workshops end." The cost for PACE is $350 for eight 2-hour sessions but persepctive members should know it's a 501c3 non-profit.