Healthline: New moms cope with disaster

Healthline: New moms cope with disaster
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Everyone affected by August's historic flooding has their own unique story of recovery, but it is especially challenging for new and expectant mothers.

Jessica and Brennan Hood lost nearly all their possessions inside their Watson home – except their newest and most precious prize. Their son Wyatt was only three weeks old when the water nearly hit their roofline.

"We got out through kayak, he pulled us on the kayak," Jessica recalled. "I had Wyatt in a little Moby Wrap strapped, and then Reid, my 2-year-old, in the middle."

That was around 5:30 a.m. on August 13. It was a surreal moment even for a trained first-responder.

"I run into burning buildings for a living, and I never want to do that again, pull my family out," Brennan said.

Stress like that can weaken the immune system, which can lead to infection and even preterm labor.

"Hydration, rest, and nutrition are huge, and so especially during a traumatic time those things are of most importance," said Woman's Hospital educator Angela Hammett.

She recommends at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, but said more is even better. Proper hydration can prevent preterm labor and also helps maintain milk supply.

Many families – including the Hoods – lost their cribs in the flood. Hammett worries where those babies are sleeping now.

"There are lots of babies that are displaced. They're not in their own homes, but we want to make sure that those babies are not in the bed with you," she said.

Babies should always sleep flat on their backs on a hard surface with no additional blankets, pillows, or stuffed animals. The Hoods were lucky to find a spare crib and accommodations at Jessica's parents' house.

"We had our parents watch the kids so we could go for date night, you know just to get out and have some sort of normalcy," she said.

Hammett said that's the perfect way to de-stress, regardless of the specific situation.

"We feel like we're trying to be supermoms and we have it all under control, but accept help," she explained. "There are so many people out there that are willing to help. Accept that help."

New and expectant moms should also avoid unnecessary risks, like sorting through damaged belongings and being exposed to mold or cleaning supplies.

"They wouldn't let me go back to the house because I was three weeks out of having a baby," Jessica recalled. "So by the time I got back, it was all gone, which is probably a good thing."

Like thousands of others, the Hoods are now forced to accept their new normal. They manage to keep smiling despite what they call a very humbling experience.

"You're trying to figure out your new baby, while also dealing with insurance and contractors. It's tough, but we're makin' it."

Woman's Hospital and Woman's Center for Wellness offer several classes and support groups that could help families dealing with the disaster. CLICK HERE for a complete list.

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