Our Fall class is winding up...and we have already said, "Welcome, earthside!" to the first baby from that class. Fun times!
I thought today would be a great time to write about an idea that is gaining traction here in the West: The Babymoon.
There are actually two contexts for this term: The first one is taken before the baby arrives. A couple takes time away from their schedules to connect, intentionally make one more set of "before baby was earthside" memories; and maybe spend time talking about their birth, and their hopes and dreams for their family.
The second context for this term is the Postpartum Babymoon - this is what I am going to write about today. I can already sense that texts about "how do I manage mastitis" will be arriving in my inbox any day now...hopefully I can encourage some mamas to get some sleep/rest and avoid mastitis all together.
There are several Eastern and traditional cultures that have particular methodologies for the postpartum care for a mother and her child. The major theme is rest, establishment of the MotherBaby bond, and many have a particular postpartum diet that they follow.
How can we apply these principles in the USA? Not many of us are familiar with the idea that there are particular foods that are beneficial to us in the postpartum period. If mamas experienced heartburn, they are thrilled that they can enjoy all the foods that gave them horrible pains while they were pregnant!
It will take planning, and with some preparation you might even try some of the traditional postpartum teas and recipes from other cultures. HERE is a great place to start - Post-Pregnancy Wellness is committed to fostering a healthy postpartum period for all mothers, regardless of their cultural knowledge.
There are many benefits to a Babymoon:
Here are some elements of a Babymoon you may want to try to incorporate into your postpartum plan:
The only time you would get out of bed would be to use the bathroom, or to go out for a gentle walk for fresh air. Start with striving for three days of nesting with your Sweet Pea. If you have a homebirth, that time starts when your midwife leaves. Birth center & hospital: when you arrive home. If you can stand it, aim for seven to ten days. Ready to go uber-traditional? Plan a 30-40 day Babymoon! (Whatever you choose, would love a report back with results!)
If your partner has limited leave from work, you can get creative with leave time. Have them stay home with you the first few days, have family help come in for a little while, and maybe have your partner take the rest of their leave after family goes home. If mom is going back to work outside of the home, having dad take the remainder of their leave at that point can make that transition time less stressful.
Insulation and Peace
I was reading through my postpartum journal, and I hate to use the term "isolation" aka, the birth hut where only select clan members are allowed, because it is sounds so alone. I prefer to think of it as "insulation" - we surrounded ourselves with the people who believed in our birth, our family, and who shared the same family values. We wanted to put our bonding time first, and our visitors got that. They brought food, they brought comfort, and they gave us a chance to share our story without judgement, and our baby without telling us what to do, or what we were doing wrong.
A healthy life is based on what we put into our bodies. It is amplified in the postpartum period. Our bodies just went through the amazing act of giving birth. If there were any interventions or surgeries, there is an added layer of physical trauma that the body needs to recover from. It is so important to feed our physical body with the right kinds of food to heal: Collagen rich foods for rebuilding strong, healthy tissues, Vitamin C rich foods to build up our immune system, Vitamin A rich foods to be ready to fight off any infections...the most bioavailable sources are whole foods. The great news is that collagen abounds in both Vitamin A & C foods...win! HERE is a link to healthaliciousness.com that offers lots of Top 10 lists for you to explore if you want to load your diet with powerhouse foods. Now I imagine that some of those on the list may clash with what are considered the right foods for postpartum in some cultures. HERE is a list of nourishing ideas for postpartum mamas from the Ayurvedic perspective from Aparna Khanolkar.
It is really hard to be still in our Western culture. It may be hard for us to imagine a day in which all we do is lay around, snuggle our baby, and sleep restfully - I am sure the list of adjectives for this kind of day could be full of negatives. I challenge you to see it as a positive. Give yourself permission to be taken care of and nurtured. Allow yourself the opportunity to look on the inside, and acknowledge that although you may feel great and look fine from the outside, that huge stretch your body made to grow and birth a baby does need to heal. Your organs need to fall into place again. You have to finish voiding all the lochia (the postpartum bleeding that happens as you continue to shed your uterine lining of pregnancy). Your body is making new alveoli cells as you establish your milk supply. Your body is adjusting and making a huge hormone shift. There is a lot going on that you can't see. The best thing you can do for your body is Take It Easy. Be okay with being still - even if all you can manage is three days before going crazy, those three days are a gift to your body as you have given it time to heal and make milk without stressing out any of the other systems. Read, meditate, pray, receive visitors who know when it's time to leave, watch movies that you enjoy...do what you need to do to Be Still.
I will tell you shamelessly that my Babymoon with Otter lasted about 30 days. For the most part, all we did was eat, sleep, nurse; punctuated by little excursions outside for fresh air. Besides going back and forth to the chiropractor, that was all we did for two weeks, and it was heavenly. After about day 15, we started getting out to take the kiddos back and forth to classes - there is one entry that says I stayed in my bathrobe until it was time to take a drive - LOL. We also kept up our Bradley™ class once a week. I do remember getting back into bed by 6:ish every night, and not getting out again until 10:ish every morning. After that first month of nesting, we got back to our homeschool routine, and between my rest and the placenta pills, it was my best postpartum ever.
A Babymoon has lots of benefits - they are all available to you if you can spend some time with your partner deciding what, if any, of those are important to you. You get to decide how long and how much to do on the first few days as a new family. I encourage you to make the most of them. We have yet to figure out how to rewind time, so use that time wisely to bond with your baby, your partner, your family...it's your story. Enjoy it!
What would you like to do on your Babymoon?
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted.
*If you suspect you are experiencing PPD or any of the variants in the postpartum period, please do not suffer alone. Engage your partner in childcare, get professional, compassionate care, and reach out to a support community where you can be reassured that you are not alone, and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Try starting HERE. You can also try #PPDChat. It is a non-judgmental, safe on-line community for mothers to share stories and support.
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only. 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®.