Monday | June 15, 2015

The dictionary defines Sacred as “reverently dedicated to some person or object”. Sacred Nest is about creating a special intimate place for healing, bonding and love.

As a postpartum doula and lactation educator, I counsel new parents on creating their own Sacred Nest during the early days with a new baby. The transition into motherhood is exciting and terrifying. It’s not something you can completely prepare for, but there are things you can do to ease the transition and enhance your well being. The birth of my own son awakened me to a profound sense of responsibility for my child and the transformational changes that occur when a baby is born. Like most new moms, I struggled to find a good support system and often felt isolated and alone. I struggled with breastfeeding and postpartum anxiety. It was in my journey back to health that I was inspired to find a better way to bridge the gap between pregnancy and parenthood.

Creating, carrying, and delivering a new life into the world is a remarkable feat and every single mother deserves to be celebrated and supported.  Many women underestimate preparing for their time at home after the baby is born. The early days after baby is born plays a crucial role in the emotional and physical recovery for both mom and baby. This is a special time allowing for rest and bonding.

Here are some helpful tips to ensure your transition into the postpartum period is breezy.

1. Skin to skin after delivery

Skin to skin contact creates the opportunity for breastfeeding and bonding. It has remarkable effects as babies are more relaxed and calm in the warmth of the mothers chest. Mothers who hold their baby’s close to their skin have increased maternal behaviours and less postpartum pain. Babies are comforted in their new habitat outside the womb and are happier as their temperature, heart and breathing rates are stabilized and blood sugar levels are more elevated. Oxytocin is released and breastmilk production is stimulated. Dad’s or other caregivers should also practice holding the baby skin to skin while mom rests, showers or sleeps. This comforting technique can continue at home to relax, soothe and bond with your baby.

2. Limit visitors in the early days

The first few days after your baby is born should be a sacred time for recovery and bonding. Take it slow, and be gentle on yourself. You have just done a remarkable thing and for that you should be celebrated! We would encourage you to process and reflect on your birth experience with your partner. There are a lot of immediate changes happening to your body; hormones are fluctuating, milk is changing and increasing in quantity and all this can contribute to the emotional roller coaster many moms experience in the first few days.

3. Rest whenever you can

This doesn’t mean you need to sleep all the time, it means to sit or lay quietly in bed with your baby. Rest is critical in the first few early weeks and speeds recovery while replenishing your body. In many cultures around the world, women are expected to rest after the birth of their baby for up to 40 days. They are taken care of and provided with meals to nourish her body. Resting reduces the rate of complications after birth like heavy bleeding, breast infections and postpartum depression. Well rested moms can also cope better when their baby becomes fussy and inconsolable. We like to remind moms to take 5 – 10 deep belly breaths when baby is nursing to really calm her mind and relax. When baby is sleeping she can lay down and listen to some meditation music to relax. It is important to try to ignore the housework and long to-do list during these early weeks.  Babies wake often and before you know it the baby will be up again and you may not have had an opportunity to rest while you were cleaning up the kitchen.

4. Seek help if you struggle to establish breastfeeding

The importance of getting help early if you think there is a problem is crucial to establishing a healthy milk supply and long term relationship with breastfeeding. Ongoing access to one or several people who can educate, encourage and continue to advise you throughout your breastfeeding journey will be a valuable asset to have.  This support person could be a friend, relative, health care professional, peer group or a lactation consultant. When mothers feel secure and nurtured themselves it has a direct correlation with their ability to nurse and establish a healthy milk supply.

5. Hire a Postpartum Doula!

We know the gig and we can meet the practical and psycho-social needs of the family. The doula’s knowledge of the changes that come with a new baby enables her to enhance communication both within the family and with other support professionals. A doula is an important contributor to your support network in the days following childbirth. She can help to establish breastfeeding and nurture the bond between mom and her baby. The doula is also available to make referrals to quality care providers such as lactation consultants, pediatricians, counsellors and support groups, when appropriate. Keep Calm Doula

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