Sweet Peas, Pods & Papas: All About Birth, B@@bs & Babies
So you are finally holding your baby and the outside...you are so tired - more than you ever could have imagined when you were sleepless in pregnancy...and nothing is back to normal yet. Welcome to motherhood!! I encourage you to embrace the idea that you, your baby and your partner are on your way to finding a "new normal". This TOP 10 list is shared with the hope that it will help you make some sense out of the swirling chaos, and help you start feeling more "you" and less "mombie". The list was inspired from some notes I took at a birth circle meeting I attended in 2013.
Along with the tidbits shared below, please be sure to check out our suggestions for your postpartum kit HERE and the 10 things we want you to remember before your Sweet Pea’s Birth-Day HERE.
10. COLD AND HOT
Have lots of ice packs or warm compresses to soothe your perineum if you have a vaginal birth. Some mamas end up with two births: the one they pushed for and then their cesarean that delivered the baby. Sometimes those mamas feel perineal pain, so it doesn’t hurt to have them on hand for whichever birth experience your baby needs. The owner of the store where we work also highlights her favorite items for cold/hot breast care HERE.
9. SAY YES
- Don’t say no to anybody unless they have boundary/space issues or germs.
- Never pass up the opportunity to take a bath or shower.
- Let people bring you food or help with errands. You can even make a list of things you need help with and your partner can say, “I think she left her list on ___ of things that need to be done. Would you be able to help with that?” when people ask if they can help you.
8. STAY IN YOUR PAJAMAS
Assuming a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome, you are not sick. You may not even be tired if your body is still running high with endorphins. However, it’s a visual cue for people not to overstay their visit. It may also be the psychological permission you need for yourself to take it easy and lower your expectations of yourself in the early postpartum days. You don’t like your pajamas? A nice pair of pajamas, or two, might make a great push present. Check out some pretty styles HERE.
7. TAKE THE BABYMOON
The first week of your postpartum sets the tone for healing, the nursing relationship, and what people may expect from you as a parent. Although women in this day age get all kinds of “you need to be superwoman” messages, please take at least a week, if not six weeks, to slow down and enjoy your baby. Once the newborn smell is gone, it’s gone for that child.
If you have strong feelings about the state of your home or other spaces, ask for help. Prioritize which things really need attention so that you are in a good mental space, and then let everything else go. There will be plenty of time to address “the list” after you have enjoyed the newborn period and allowed your body to heal from the birth. Take naps, sleep when you can – everything is better when both parents are rested!
Normal biological sleep rhythms are much different for newborns than they are for adults. Babies are not supposed to sleep long stretches at a time for survival reasons: they need to learn how to sleep and breathe at the same time. Too deep a sleep and you are going to have other issues to deal with. I found THIS article that offers scientific insight into baby sleep patterns. Many parents find that everyone gets more sleep when families co-sleep and/or bed share (yes, they are different!). For more information on that, please check THIS website run by Dr. James McKenna, a well-known and trusted infant sleep specialist.
There is no way one little snippet on one little blog post can possibly cover all you need to know about breastfeeding a newborn. In short, I can tell you, “Just because pain is common, it doesn’t make it normal.” If you have any pain, get help early and often. You can reach out to a hospital or private support group (usually meet weekly), a La Leche League or a Breastfeeding, USA group (usually meet monthly), or you can contract with a private lactation consultant who may work in an office, or maybe they can do home visits. Get on the phone or the Internet, and find the help that you need as soon as possible so that you and your baby get the full benefits of a comfortable nursing relationship. If you know that breastfeeding is the right choice for you, and you are going getting advice from friends, pay attention to the words from families that have breastfed for at least a year, or as long as you plan to have a breastfeeding relationship with your child.
4. INVESTIGATE PLACENTA PRACTICES
Placentophagy, the practice of consuming the placenta after the birth of the child, is gaining attention in the United States and the United Kingdom. Although this is new to our Western sensibilities, the customs around the afterbirth go back in history and span across cultures. You can read previous blog posts with some basic Q&A HERE and the benefits of placenta encapsulation HERE, and look HERE to see some of the different ways other cultures honor the sacred organ of birth.
3. PREPAY POSTPARTUM SERVICES
This was one of the best “new” suggestions I heard Tuesday night. Maternity leave practices are a discussion for another day: suffice it to say that many mothers find themselves on leave without pay after they have their baby. In order to mitigate the tight finances during this unpaid leave, consider pre-paying for services like lactation consultation, housekeeping, postpartum doula, baby nurse, and placenta encapsulation before you take the maternity and/or paternity leave. You might think about creating a written contract for prepayment that ensures you will get a full refund for any unused services.
2. INVESTIGATE BABYWEARING
Many moms agreed that a woven wrap or carrier of some kind is the best gift you can give yourself. They allow you to be hands free while still giving your baby the benefits of skin-to-skin contact. You will learn to read your baby’s cues, and they will get to learn from you. We had a babywearing expert offer THIS list to our mamas group. Dads can babywear, too! The great thing about babywearing is that it allows for dads to get involved and bond with your newborn without any extra equipment, or cleaning and sanitizing of breast pump parts and feeding tools.
1. THAT BABY!
1. You will develop a mother’s intuition – it feels like it kicks in right after the baby is born if you haven’t already felt the twinges of intuition during pregnancy. One of the most common questions is, “Is my baby producing enough wet/poopy diapers?” A good rule of thumb is the baby should be making as many diapers as it is days old for about the first week. Beyond that, look at your baby: how is their color? Their mood? Their temperature? If you think that your baby is doing okay, (s)he probably is. If you are concerned, call your care provider. There is no such thing as a silly question when it comes to your new baby.
2. Pull together your most used items (diapers, wipes, nipple cream, extra phone charger, magazines, etc.), plus snacks and water, in a portable carry-all that can travel with you around the house. If you have a two-story home, you may want to set up a changing station on both floors of the home.
3. You can also pull together an extra carry-all with everything you use (diapers, wipes, extra clothes, heat-proof snacks, water, etc.) for the car. Sometimes we are in a rush, or sometimes just not used to the new routine, and it helps to have extras to use if and when you find yourself out and about with a diaper bag low on supplies.
4. In the immediate postpartum, people coming over to visit and/or bring food want to hold your beautiful bundle of joy. It is okay for you to set boundaries that you are comfortable with. Baby is crying inconsolably in a guest’s arms: excuse yourself with your baby to “check the diaper”, baby might just want to be back in your familiar scent and arms. You can also take a moment to nurse away from company if you are not comfortable nursing in front of people yet. Your baby, your rules!
My favorite quote of the night came late in the evening as the group was parting ways: “The process of giving birth helps you transform into trusting yourself to parent your baby. You are still who you were, but more than you were before your child was born.”
Best wishes to our students and to anyone else reading this who is getting closer to the day when they get to meet their Sweet Pea!
Do you have any postpartum tips to share? Please leave a comment – thank you!
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It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.