Nurturing the Mother: How to Actually Help New Moms After Childbirth
“How is the baby?”
This is one of the first questions that mothers get asked after giving birth to their baby. But we have to make sure the mother’s experience is acknowledged as well. Moms are in a battle between taking care of themselves and taking care of their baby. Most of the time, the baby comes first. Newborns involve so much time and energy that the mother has little to no time to take care of herself. Moms often don’t accept help from others during the postpartum time. It is hard for them to let others take on the load of their home. But mothers need to be nurtured as well. They are healing, physically and emotionally.
MOMS! Accept the help! Some may feel unworthy and uncomfortable asking for help but this is normal and its okay. It is so important for the mother to be well nourished and rested.
Here in the United States, we do not practice nurturing the mother like other countries do. In a lot of countries, families and their community come together to give the mother a healing and comforting space during the postpartum period. It is a time for rest and recovery.
So how can we help the new mom transition into this world with a new baby? Here are the best ways to help the new mom through this new stage of life;
Most new parents just want to sleep. They are waking at all hours through the night and the mother in particular is probably going on day 2 or 3 of no sleep at all. Moms are usually on an initial high during those first few days home, but the first few weeks home are exhausting. Give the mom time to rest. Take the baby out of their sleep space, give them some ear plugs, and let them snooze until baby is ready to feed.
2. NOURISH HER
Food is medicine! Offer water, lots of water! Especially if the mom is planning on breastfeeding. Breastfeeding or not, water is very important for the body to recover. You could offer to make the family dinner, meal prep for them or give them a gift card to a food delivery service. Easily digestible foods are ideal, and don’t forget the good fats!
3. Let her know ITS OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY!
Hormones are so out of whack after having a baby. It takes a while for new moms to feel normal and feel like themselves again. This is all normal. We have to remember that the baby blues are a real thing and its completely okay to feel sad and happy within a 30-minute duration. These hormones can make moms feel a little crazy! It's okay for them to cry. It's okay to accept help from others. It's okay to not feel okay.
But it is very important that they pay attention to the signs of postpartum depression. If baby blues seem to worsen and last longer than the first few weeks, it's important to ask for help. Remind the new mom that they are not weak and they are not alone.
Let the mother REST. Help her with the laundry. Do the dishes. Walk her dog. Do anything around the house that can help ease her mind. Moms want to attend to the baby's needs. The less things she has to do around the house, the better.
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About the Contributor:
Danielle Davies is a mother, military wife, and Postpartum Doula living in Washington state. Ever since she was a little girl, Danielle dreamt of being a mom. Her dreams came true a few years ago, when she gave birth to her son and then her daughter a couple years later. With both children, Danielle experienced an extreme amount of postpartum depression, inspiring her decision to train as a Postpartum Doula. She now runs her business, Serenity Postpartum Care, where she coaches and advises women through the postpartum journey.