Guest Author - Vanessa Pruitt
A babymoon is a period that is set aside after the birth of a new baby for you and your child to bond and become acquainted. During this time, you can focus closely on bonding with your baby and meeting all of his or her needs. You can also focus on spending time as a “new” family.
The term babymoon was supposedly first used by childbirth educator Sheila Kitzinger. In her book 'Year after Childbirth' she explains, “The transition to fatherhood is easier when a man can take time off to be with his partner and baby in what I call a “Babymoon.” A couple lay in food and other necessities, lock the door, and go to bed with their baby for a few days.”
In many cultures across the globe the tradition is to care for a mother and her baby for the first forty days or so after birth, so she need not cook, clean, or otherwise leave her baby's side. These cultures understand the importance of a healing and bonding after the birth.
This is hard to do in our American culture, but it's once again gaining popularity. You will need to learn to ignore the slight pressure of our society to “get on with it” after the birth of your baby.
Why is this time so critical?
There is an important physiological process that takes place from the moment your baby is born and you both meet for the first time. This process continues into the first years of life, but the first few months are crucial to the way in which your relationship with your baby is formed.
A babymoon exists to establish a strong breastfeeding relationship, facilitate bonding, and allow your body to heal from childbirth.
Studies have shown that babies who receive plenty of skin to skin contact are more likely to latch on to the breast well, breastfeed exclusively and for a longer period of time, have a stable temperature and a normal heart rate and blood pressure, have higher blood sugar, are less likely to cry, and will self-wake when they are hungry.
Your healing time after birth is equally important. Overdoing it puts you at risk for breakthrough bleeding and slower postpartum recovery time. You deserve to take it easy. Your doctor or midwife will advise you not to do any kind of strenuous work or lifting for at least 6 weeks postpartum.
Getting ready for your babymoon
You will need to ask for lots of support from your spouse, family, and friends during this time. Have plenty of meals prepared in advance and line up help for additional meals. Have someone available to help with household chores and spend time with siblings.
Here are some tips for enjoying your babymoon:
* Forget having a schedule. Instead, follow your babies cues and take care of yourself and your baby.
* Unplug the phone, sleep when your baby sleeps, and ask others to respect your need for rest.
* Plan not to get out of your pajamas for at least 2 weeks and don't plan any outings.
* Freeze meals & stock up on supplies like soap and toilet paper.
* Organize help or have someone else organize it.
* Invite supportive people to visit so you don't feel isolated.