Hello Dream Mamas, I'm Rachael, mum of two and Dream Birth Coach. I wanted to share my thoughts on the surprising benefits of quarantine for new mamas. I believe if we reframe our thinking about the situation we could really enjoy this time to transition into motherhood at a nice slow pace.
There are many benefits to staying at home following the birth of your little one, which we wanted to share with you to ease your concerns.
“Postpartum” usually refers to the “fourth trimester” starting from the time your beautiful baby is born up to when they are a smiley, bouncy three month old. And the concept of ‘postpartum recovery’ and isolation are actually embraced by many societies around the world during this time. China recognises the “sitting month”; in South Korea women stay at home with no visitors for at least 3 weeks; and Latin America recognises “la curantena” a period of six weeks post birth where mama is solely dedicated to breastfeeding and taking care of baby. Rest is the norm.
However, it is rare in Western societies that we are afforded the opportunity of such a rest period. Rather than shutting the world away, many mums (myself included…) would usually try to show they can get “back to normal” days after giving birth; jumping straight into the routine of cooking, cleaning, school runs, attending numerous baby classes etc. etc. But it has been shown that all this running around could end up having a detrimental impact on our mental and physical wellbeing.
According to the World Health Organisation “the postpartum recovery period is the most critical and yet the most neglected phase in the lives of mothers and babies”.
Why does a postpartum recovery period matter?
It aids physical recovery - your body has done an amazing job at growing baby during pregnancy and then giving birth, so it needs time to heal and repair.
You need time to bond with baby. Streams of visitors could result in you and baby becoming exhausted, so it can feel lovely to shut the world away.
If you choose to breastfeed, it often takes mama and baby time to get the hang of it, so snuggling up together skin-to-skin with no undue pressure to be anywhere else is essential.
“Sleep when baby sleeps” is a bit of a cliché but it is sound advice. Being at home enables you to do this and sleep is when your body heals itself.
Planning for postpartum recovery
Here are a few tips to help you plan for your postpartum recovery:
Discuss your visitor policy in advance with close family and friends so they understand your stance and you can then manage expectations.
2. Video Calls
Set up a video call service. There are lots of fantastic options out there. Organise this in advance, so everyone (including any elderly relatives) understands how it works.
3. Call Schedule
Write a call schedule. As you likely may not be having visitors right now, arrange a regular time slot with friends and family for calls. It’s vital that mums feel supported, so make sure you speak regularly.
Fill your cupboards and freezers with wholesome foods. I recommend you set up a regular food delivery service - babies aren’t always fans of supermarkets anyhow (trust me!). And stock up on delicious herbal teas for new mamas, as you’ll need to keep hydrated.
5. Take it slow
Post birth ‘periods’, stitches and engorged breasts are all completely normal in the first couple of weeks (if a bit uncomfortable), so be really kind to yourself. Invest in cosy loungewear, choose some Netflix boxsets and settle on the sofa.
6. Support Services
Have the contact details for support to hand; many feeding experts and sleep consultants offer video consultations if they can’t attend in person. At Dream Birth Company, we can offer support with a Reflection consultation.
I hope you have found this blog post helpful and I am excited to contribute as part of The Dream Birth Company.
Sending lots of positivity to you all, stay healthy and safe.
Love Rachael xx