Often as mothers, we can feel pressure to be social and return to our “normal” lives right after giving birth. However, taking the first three months of your baby’s life—on other words, the 4th trimester– can be a beautiful time of bonding and connection for mother and baby. This is an important time of physical, mental, and emotional development for the new baby. When supported by a more inward, quiet, calm, secure, softly lit, and safe space, this allows both mama and baby to adjust, heal, recover, and learn how to work together to successfully breastfeed. Baby needs time to adjust to the world outside the womb. Mamas also need time to adjust to having a new baby, navigating all the life changes that come with that, and figuring out how to manage daily household needs. Even though this can be a magical time, it can also feel overwhelming.
Helpful tips for mother and baby:
- Limit visitors so mama and baby can put their energy and attention toward connecting and bonding.
- Set up a meal train so meals are ready to heat up and eat.
- Have a spouse, grandparent or friend come to help with dishes, laundry, cleaning, and holding the baby while mama tends to self-care—taking a shower, for example.
- Meet with a lactation consultant to support with breastfeeding.
- Be patient with yourselves and be ok with not getting more than one thing checked off the to-do list.
- Swaddle baby to help them feel safe and secure.
- Hold baby skin to skin. This helps calm and relax both mama and baby and has many other benefits.
- Sway or rock baby while holding them.
- Explore different baby-wearing options.
Mamas, remember to:
- Eat healthy, whole foods, fruits, veggies, and lean proteins.
- Hydrate. Drink your water.
- Move your body with light exercise. Give your body at least six weeks to heal before going “full on” with exercise. Consult with your midwife/doctor, and use your postpartum bleeding as a barometer to see if you are overdoing it.
- Sleep and rest when your baby is sleeping.
- Get book recommendations from friends to read while nursing.
- Be patient with yourself and your body.
- Join a mama and baby group to make new friends and be in a community of new moms that shows you that you are not alone.
Hannah Freed has been a classroom teacher and remedial specialist for 25 years. She currently runs a private practice helping both children and adults integrate and regulate mind and body. Learn more at koruintegration.com.