Dr Chetna Kang on how to support new ‘mum friends’ for Buzzfeed UK

Dr Chetna Kang, consultant psychiatrist at Nightingale Hospital has been featured in a new article published by Buzzfeed UK, in partnership with Maltesers UK and Comic Relief.

The article, ‘9 Very Real Struggles That Your New Mum Friend Might Be Experiencing (And How You Can Help)’ offers expert insight into how to support your friends through the struggles associated with motherhood.

Throughout the article, Dr Kang shares practical tips on how you can assist your friend who might be navigating a series of issues following the birth of their child.

Below are some examples of advice Dr Kang shares for friends of new mums: 

  • If they are struggling with anxiety: “Worry can be a useful emotion… However, when that worry turns to anxiety and particularly anxiety that tends to be increasing in intensity and occurring so frequently that it is interfering with functioning and quality of life, then it’s time to get help from outside.”
  • Encourage them to seek help if they need it: “You may notice when it’s time for your friend to get help before she does. But with gentle loving encouragement, you can support her to find the help that she needs. The health visitor or GP is a good place to start.”
  • Be aware of post-natal depression:Postnatal depression can affect new mums anytime from a few weeks after giving birth right up until the child is 18 months old. Some of the contributing factors include postnatal hormonal changes, a lack of supportive relationships, inadequate rest and/or nutrition, and lack of practical help, as well as any preexisting mental health conditions. The signs of depression include sadness, worry, feeling overwhelmed, low self-esteem, poor concentration, and difficulties with sleep and appetite to name a few. It can be harder to detect challenges with sleep as these are expected when children are young so you may have to be more vigilant to symptoms. Of particular concern might be if your friend is also struggling to bond with her baby, struggling to care for the baby and/or herself.”
  • Remind them that social media isn’t real life: “Social media can also be a helpful source for parenting tips but if your friend sees something on social media that feels unachievable, remind them that it is only a snapshot of that person’s life and it would have taken a lot of hard work to achieve that “feed worthy” image.”
  • Kind words can help: “Remind your friend that much of the struggle is because many of the things she’s doing are new and babies don’t come with a manual. Remind her that she will find her way and that you trust her and believe in her. Kind words go a long way in building people’s confidence.”

You can read the full article here. 

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