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Nurturing Tips for Moms After Birth

Posted on January 23rd, 2013 by | 1 views

by Amy Saloner, LCSW
Co-Founder Natural Baby Pros and Natural Baby Project San Diego

The essence of “nurture” is to nourish and support. It is imperative that a new mother embraces this concept as much for herself as for her child. Without the process of taking care of yourself, your ability to properly care for your new baby is compromised. We have forgotten what it means to nurture ourselves; fortunately, there are resources available, whether it is family, a holistic practitioner or support professional, who can provide us with the guidance and support we need to be able to care for ourselves and our baby. One little known resource is a postpartum doula, who specializes in caring for and assisting both mother and newborn baby, and even assists with breastfeeding, infant care, emotional support for mom, simple household errands, even caring for the baby so mom can get some much needed sleep. Having this type of assistance can make the first few days or weeks with a new baby a lot less stressful for the entire family, mom and baby especially.

In the words of Gea Meijering's, author of The First 8 Days: "A happy mom is a better mom." So simple, yet easy to ignore when we have the world demanding our attention and driving attention away from nurturing ourselves.

I was reminded recently that “If you feed yourself, then feeding others is effortless.” When we give birth to a new soul, we are faced with the realities of truly feeding another physically, emotionally and spiritually above and beyond our own needs or wants. I learned firsthand the fine line a new mother walks as she balances her own health and well-being with that of her child’s.

Following my first child’s birth I faced postpartum depression, adrenal fatigue and other health challenges due to my inability to take care of and nurture myself. Here are a few lessons I learned and utilized in my second pregnancy that made all the difference in my recovery and my ability to give back more to my children, my husband and my community...all because I took care of myself first:

Utilize practitioners that support your whole well-being before, during and after pregnancy.

I hired a Midwife, worked with an M.D. who utilized integrative medicine, received regular massage, yoga, cranial-sacral work, chiropractic, acupuncture, watsu, homeopathy, and Alexander technique. Every person’s needs are different. You can learn more about these different modalities and which would be most supportive to you at NaturalBabyPros.com.

Focus on the journey, not just the birth.

If we only prepare for the day, we lose sight of the process of healing and growth that accompanies this transformational rite of passage into motherhood. Journal, Breathe, and honor each lesson from conception through birth and into parenthood.

Surround yourself with a loving and supportive community.

Whether it is three or 20 people, be sure you have friends and family around you who support your choices unconditionally. Family and friends may not always understand your plan, whether it is having a home birth or a planned Cesarean, attachment parenting or elimination communication... do your homework and choose a path that works for YOU and your partner. Then be sure your support team fully honors those wishes. If family and friends are unsure of your choices, find others to talk to on-line or in your community who do.

Ask and you shall receive.

As mothers we are designed to give, but we can become depleted if we are not able to balance that with receiving. Utilize your community to ask for assistance in whatever way feels helpful. Other options are hiring a postpartum doula, joining a La Leche League group or mom’s group, even BEFORE you give birth. The most helpful support I received after the birth of both of my children was when a friend organized nightly meals to be brought to us in the weeks following the birth. This can easily be done with the assistance of websites like MealBaby.com. Ask for help with shopping and laundry too. InChinese Medicine it is said that women actually need 100 days to recover from giving birth, so allow others to nurture you during that time and your recovery will be much smoother.

Eat healthy, drink lots of water, and SLEEP!

Being rested, nourished and hydrated goes a long way in recovery, as well as your ongoing health and well-being.

Be patient with yourself and the process...your child will thank you for it!

 

Amy Saloner, LCSW
Co-Founder
Natural Baby Pros and Natural Baby Project San Diego 

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