During your pregnancy you may have taken some childbirth classes and read all the books under the sun about pregnancy and birth. Labor only lasts a day (or 3 for some) and then it’s over. Now that you have given birth to your baby (or babies) what the hell do you do now? It’s very easy to get lost in the pregnancy and the idea of a baby. The reality of having a baby is much different then the idea of one. Nothing really can prepare you other than jumping right in. When I meet with my doula clients we talk a lot about the birth plan and the pregnancy. I also make it a point to talk about the first two weeks after the baby arrives. People are often afraid to ask for help in those first few weeks. Your friends and family want to help. Take advantage. They usually stop offering once the babies get a bit older and they start focusing more on their own lives than your new baby’s arrival. Take advantage when the luster of a new baby is shining bright. Let people wait on you hand and foot. Staying in bed with your new bub helps to establish breastfeeding by lying skin to skin. If you are not breastfeeding this skin to skin contact is so important for bonding in those early days. Eat tons of hearty simple foods. Staying nourished so your body can heal is essential for getting those hormones back in check.
Here is some info from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen:
Good foods to nourish a post partum mom:
Plenty of purified water
Organic chicken and vegetable soup with plenty of fresh herbs
Greens!! Fresh salad greens, dark leafy greens, and green smoothies
Sweet vegetables (yams, squash, carrots, beets)
Raw nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds)
Raw almond butter
Whole grains (quinoa, amaranth, oats, sweet brown rice, millet, teff)
Carminative herbs and spices (cumin, cardamom, fenugreek, ginger, mint, fennel seeds)
Raspberry leaf tea (raspberry leaf along with fennel help to contract the uterus)
Nettle tea enriches and increases milk production
Healthy fats (avocado, extra virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil, fresh flax or fish oil)
Foods to avoid during the post partum period (may cause upset in newborn baby):
Citrus fruit, especially juices
Heavily spiced foods
Raw garlic and onions
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage)
Wheat / Gluten
Refined soy products
Caffeine (coffee, tea, soda)
Prenatal vitamins (the iron may be irritating to baby)
So now that you know what to be eating have your friends and family bring you food. If they offer take them up on it. It’s nice not to worry about anything other than your new baby. Laundry, cleaning, and errands can all be passed off to a family member or friend. Consider the help of a postpartum doula
if family is far away and no help is available to you. According to the DONA
what a postpartum doula does changes from day-to-day, as the needs of the family change. Postpartum doulas do whatever a mother needs to best enjoy and care for her new baby. A large part of their role is education. They share information about baby care with parents, as well as teach siblings and partners to “mother the mother.” They assist with breastfeeding education. Postpartum doulas also make sure the mother is fed, well hydrated and comfortable. Ask for help if you are having any problems with breastfeeding and/or any newborn care. Kellymom
is my favorite for nursing issues and/or concerns. Don’t be afraid to call your pediatrician or a lactation consultant if problems arise. Last but not least consider eating your placenta
. I know some of you may think this is yucky but if you’ve eaten Micky D’s you’ve put way grosser shit in your body. Encapsulation is a super easy non-gross way to reap the benefits of eating you placenta. I love that Time magazine titled an article Afterbirth: It’s What’s For Dinner.
If this isn’t your cup of tea then kindly ignore. Good luck and take the help of that damn village. They tend to disappear when that newborn phase is over.
AHH look at Rocky’s chicken legs! I’ve been very nostalgic after Mia’s tooth fell out the other day and can’t help but think about how damn big my twin boys are already. 9 months just flew by. They were such little nuggets and now they are crawling all over the place and trying to walk. SLOW DOWN. They are growing out of their clothes and starting to breastfeed less. I love the freedom that it gives me but it’s sad at the same time. They will be my last babies. I’d love to have more babies but I must use my brain and not my hormonal heart to make that decision. When I hit the jackpot playing the lotto I’ll have another set of twins. So back to reality…the last babies that I nurse. My boobs sure will celebrate when they get a well deserved break after nourishing 5 babies. I’m scared to see the after math but I’m proud that I stuck with it. Now see the fruits of my labor with some more recent shots of the boys.
Man I just love when I get that crazy warm happy feeling while nursing my babies. These feelings are augmented by the release of hormones such as prolactin, which produces a peaceful, nurturing sensation that allows you to relax and focus on your child, and oxytocin, which promotes a strong sense of love and attachment between the two of you. These love hormones are no joke! This post in no way implies that breastfeeding is the only way these hormones are released. Regular skin to skin contact with a formula fed baby will help to release oxytocin and promote bonding as well. So go and get your hug on with your wee one. Partners can increase their oxytocin levels as well by stimulatory parenting. Helping baby sit up or tickling and laughing with baby are good examples. Increased oxytocin levels can reduce stress and anxiety. Hell I’ll cheers to that.
When my almost 6-year-old daughter plays with her dolls she nurses them when they get hungry or fussy. Funny because that’s what I do when my twin boys get hungry or fussy. I’m not posting this to make any non-breast feeding mammas feel bad or say that I’m superior because of my choice to breastfeed. I’m just really excited about the fact that my kids find the act of breastfeeding as such a normal part of our family life. Our neighbor’s kid came over and stared in horror as I nursed one of my babies. She stood wide-eyed and asked me “WHAT are you doing?” I realized that she had never seen a mother nurse her baby. I found this extremely sad and alarming. Any baby doll you purchase in the store comes with a bottle. Remember all the outrage the breastfeeding baby doll from Spain caused? Why? What’s the big deal? My kids would find nothing controversial or sensational about a baby doll that nursed. They would look at a baby doll that comes with a bottle the same way. Both are ways to feed a baby. Bottle, breast, or both. It’s crazy to me that women need to fight to protect their rights to nurse in public. Friends have been told that they should cover up or that what they were doing is disgusting. Really? Feeding a baby is disgusting? Where the fuck did our society go wrong? Our bodies were made to birth and feed babies. I could go on for ever ranting but I won’t at this moment. I just wanted to share the joy I had this morning watching my girls feed their dolls.