Whether your baby is born in hospital or at home, it is advisable for a first-time mother to have someone to assist and help her with her newborn for the first few weeks of the baby's life. Going home from hospital with a newborn baby can be quite daunting. The birthing process only begins with the birth of a baby and this has been forgotten in our Western culture.
Many cultures still acknowledge the ‘lying-in’ period, when the newly-delivered woman is encouraged to remain at home to rest and be nurtured by the women in her family. It could make a huge difference to your well-being and confidence if you have the assistance of your husband, partner, mother, friend, doula or maternity nurse, who can give support to you during this recovery period.
Giving birth is tiring for both you and your baby. Both of you need time to recover and rest. Rest is vital after childbirth, even if you experienced the easiest of labours. You will feel tired and your body will ache for at least a few days.
Pregnancy and childbirth leave a woman in a state of imbalance, simply because of the huge reserves of energy required. A young mother requires nourishment and rest to redress this balance. Time spent catching up on broken sleep is time well spent.
Leave the running of your home to the other members of your family who have come to assist. Many mothers suffer from the ‘baby blues’ on or around day four or five, resulting as much from tiredness as from hormonal changes following a birth. So pop your feet up, take time out and regain your energy for the busy days and nights ahead.
Nurturing the newborn parent
Diet is an important part of recovering your energy and well-being after childbirth, while also ensuring a great nutritional start for your baby when you are breastfeeding.
Comforting soups and stews, chicken soup in particular, are restoring and warming. Also include in your diet; oats, rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, corn, beetroot, dark leafy greens, apricots, avocado, dates, kidney beans, red meat, as we try to focus on blood-building foods during this time.
Foods beneficial for breastfeeding are also those rich in calcium, such as tofu, eggs, fish, pumpkin seeds, chai, almonds and soya milk.
It is also essential to drink plenty of water: up to two litres a day is needed to help keep up the supply of milk required for your growing baby and to replace fluids lost in childbirth. Even if you decide not to breastfeed, drinking plenty of water is recommended.
Pumpkin seeds have been used by many women to help promote lactation, along with the herbs fennel, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves and you can now buy fusion teas which contain some of these.
With all the new mum advice out there, it is easy to give yourself a hard time if you veer off-course and become confused and lose confidence. Don’t beat yourself up if you do take a detour, try to think what works best for your family and your newborn.
You will want family and close friends to visit and meet your newborn, but try to keep visitors to a minimum. It is a good idea, to discuss with your husband/partner in advance how long you want them to stay. There is nothing worse than an overtired, over-handled newborn, as this can lead to disruptive days and sleepless nights.
The more we handle a baby, the more tired he will become. The longer the tired signs are ignored, the louder and more desperately your baby will cry.
Key Points To Take Away
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, accept help when its offered
Focus on your recovery and try to get plenty of rest
Baby blues can occur, its normal – try to take some time out and relax
Drink plenty of water, especially if you are breastfeeding