You birthed a baby!? How amazing. Take a moment to reflect on the creation you made and the miracle of birth. Women have the opportunity to transcend consciousness and receive massive spiritual growth during an empowered birth. No matter what your birth story may be, now you are on the other side of your pregnancy and life will never be the same again! The first few weeks of your post-partum period may be some of the most challenging yet also the most rewarding (funny how those two tend to go together). Learning how to take care of your newborn whose needs are demanding yet simplistic all at the same time, takes practice, patience and perseverance. Read below for the top five tips that will help you feel supported during the first few months after baby arrives.
- Ask for help, often. New mamas need a tremendous amount of support and our current American culture does not automatically create the communal support that is present in other cultures as well as what was present for our ancestors. Traditionally, women were shown by the other women in their tribe/family, that the only duties required of them after birthing a baby were to rest in bed with the baby, nurse on demand, and nourish their own bodies. Nothing else. No housework, laundry, cooking meals, replying to work emails, hosting friends, etc. All of her energy was conserved for healing her body, producing and feeding milk to her baby, and truly connecting with her precious new bundle of joy. Scheduling help from your partner, friends, family, and even a post-partum doula can help you delegate those other tasks and allow you to simply bond with baby.
- Speaking of bonding with baby, what does that even mean? It means that you are fully present in connection with your babe. Since babies are unconcerned with the past and the future, they are wonderful teachers to us in how to be fully present. Not thinking about what happened five minutes ago or wondering what needs to be done tomorrow on their to-do list. Just completely in tune to what is present. When you take a moment to feel into their thoughts, it helps to ground mama to this beautiful state of consciousness called presence. What a blessing to have such a pure soul in front of your reflecting this deep, spiritual lesson! Research shows us that mamas that are able to breathe and bond with their baby experience less post-partum depression.
- Skin-to-skin is part of the bonding process. Besides the emotional bonding that is occurring when you get present, now is the time to keep baby right next to your skin as often as possible. Not only is this practice helpful for baby to regulate their temperature, heartbeat, and other vital stats, but your microbiome, otherwise known as the microbes found on and in your body, is shared with your brand-new being whose environment was mostly sterile in-utero and therefore, needs an opportunity to replicate friendly bacteria necessary for normal physiological function. As science has informed us in the past few years, this microbiome is essential for many different processes in our body, including our immune system health, and that specific microbes are unique to specific families. That is why your baby needs skin-to-skin time with both its mama AND its daddy. Avoid frequent bathing of yourself and your baby, especially the first couple weeks of life, so that the microbiome is rich and fertile, like nourishing soil for baby’s roots to grow healthy and strong.
- Mama self-care. As the whirlwind of having a newborn in your home begins to settle, make a plan for your self-care. Maybe that means scheduling an appointment with your chiropractor for your postpartum check-up (and making sure to get bring in your newborn for a wellness check-up at the same time). Maybe a massage or facial is needed. Maybe lunch with a good friend who knows how to bring a smile to your face. Think about what may help you feel good as you recover from the birthing process and emotionally shift gears as a mother of a newborn. Make sure to prioritize things that help with physical recovery and a positive emotional state.
- Your partner needs love, too. Most new mamas are stretched so thin with caring for their new baby that having
anyextra ounce of energy to give to dad may feel impossible. As your partner is still adjusting to his new role as daddy, the intense stress of having a newborn and the lack of sleep can potentially strain even the strongest of relationships. The massive amount of change, increased responsibility, physiological depletion from newborn care, and increased financial expenses can cause both mama and daddy to stop communicating and that break down in communication can lead the way to misunderstandings. Take a second right now to silently thank your partner for all of the ways he has supported you and your baby. Feel the gratitude. Then, make sure you share it with him. Men need to feel appreciated and letting him know that he is doing a good job as a new daddy can go a long way in giving him the acknowledgment he needs to continue to show up as the paternal caretaker in your family.