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It’s full of blurry lines.
The new mom not only has to learn how to tend to her new baby, but to also tend to all the opinions and advice bombarding her.
Pregnancy and birthing a baby do many things to a woman’s body. As her hormone levels rise and then deplete after birth, so do her emotions. Many new moms feel ecstatic post birth as they meet their new little babe and adrenaline kicks in as they prepare for sleepless nights. If you have experienced motherhood you know this is truly a beautiful experience, but it can be accompanied by lows.
As the woman’s body is changing and her body is trying to regulate to breastfeeding and not sleeping, her emotions can plummet and guilt is often accompanied by this plummet.
The community surrounding this new mom and new babe play a vital role. Often, the focus becomes on this brand new baby. I would like to offer that it is more valuable to focus on the new mom in the first forty days. Obviously, there will be moments the mom asks questions about her new baby and seeks rest. However, the focus should be on helping the mother transition into her role and allowing her body to heal.
There are some tangible ways to assist the mom during this sacred time.
Food is vital during this time. For the breastfeeding mom her body is begging her for more nutrients. It’s very normal for the mom to feel hungry all through the day. Nourish her body by preparing food for her. Nutrient rich food is the goal. Her body has just gone through a marathon and it must be replenished. Kale is a great food as it helps replenish iron levels. Sweet potatoes are nutrient dense, but also help mom feel full. Grass-fed meats help keep mom full and add iron and protein to her body. Dairy is often very irritating to the new baby, so it’s best if possible to avoid serving this to mom, unless she has an intense craving. There are dairy free ice cream options and goat cheese is a great cheese substitute
Mom should not be getting out of bed to prepare anything, including water. Encourage her to drink both filtered water and coconut water to hydrate her body and keep her supply high and nutrient rich.
Rest is just, if not more, vital than food. Again, her body has gone through a marathon and she must rest. This allows her body to heal and gives her ample time to bond with her baby. Encourage mom to lay in bed and watch her favorite shows or read her favorite books. When baby sleeps, ask mom if she would like to sleep. Encourage mom to try and stay in bed and only get up for the bathroom and shower. Sometimes the mom needs to get up for a quick stretch, but gently encourage her not to overdo it.
Rest allows bonding. Bonding can increase milk supply, help the uterus go down, and help baby develop and grow. It’s the MOST important thing for the baby to bond with mom FIRST. It’s natural for others to want bonding time with the baby, but the mom should be priority here. After all, she carried, nurtured, and birthed this little one. She will be the one there for the remaining years and the bond is vital to set both mom and baby up for success
If mom is struggling to bond with baby skin to skin, this is one of the best things you can help with. Support mom to help get her baby in just a diaper and to get baby on mom's chest and a blanket over them both.
Encouragement is huge for the new or returning mother. “You’re doing a good job.” “You are such a good mom.” “I don’t know how you do it all.” “You’re an amazing person and mom, look at what you made!”
These types of affirmations encourage the mom in a time that is both beautiful and challenging.
Support for the new mom cannot be stressed enough . The baby is receiving support from his or her mother and father. The mom has natural instincts on what is good for the baby and what to do to nurture him or her.
The first forty days should be considered as her fourth trimester. It is a time to encourage rest, nourishment, and affirmations of who she is and who she is becoming.