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Mothering a Mother: 11 Tips to Take Care of a New Mom

This article was originally posted on Nuture Therapy, LLC by Jamie Kreiter, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist certified in perinatal mental health. She is also an Expert on the SocialMama app.

Having a baby is an overwhelming, emotional experience. The realization that this tiny and fragile being is completely dependent on you—paired with the physical exhaustion and recovery of delivery, rapid hormonal changes, and sleep deprivation—can be a challenge for any new mother. In recognition of these challenges, many cultures have adapted traditions and rituals for a mother to rest and recuperate and focus solely on bonding with her new baby.

In Hispanic cultures, la cuarentena, a period of approximately 40-days where the new mom abstains from sex, eats only approved foods and is mandated to rest in order to focus on nursing, taking care of her baby and herself. During this time, other members of the family pitch in to cook, clean and take care of older children, if there are any. In China, there is a 30-day period of confinement or “the sitting month” after a child is born. During this time, a new mother does not leave the house in order to recover from childbirth. The period usually includes traditional health beliefs, rituals, and practices, including eating bland foods and avoiding cold water to restore the body’s balance. In Korean tradition, samchilil, which means 21-days, is a time for a new mother to rest and be cared for by her mother or mother-in-law for at least 21-days. It is believed that the new mother must be cared for in order to ensure a quick recovery from birth and sufficient time to bond and adjust to motherhood. There is no housework, errands, cooking or responsibilities.

In our culture, we perpetuate the notion that women should experience a smooth and euphoric transition into motherhood. However, practices in the United States