31 Jan Prepare yourself for Postpartum
In many cultures all over the world, a 40-day-long postpartum “quarantine” is kept.
It’s a time for the woman and the baby to bond, relax and regenerate.
During this time, it is recommended that the woman has enough time and peace to care for the baby, to breastfeed and rest.
The most important activity of the newborn is spending time – best: skin-to-skin – with his or her mom.
I believe that nature has created a newborn baby in the way that it needs to feed every two hours or so, exactly because it ensures getting that precious time with mom. The mother also experiences advantages of that time, because during breastfeeding, oxytocin is released and this hormone relaxes her and helps her “switch off” from reality.
The perfect state of events is when the woman doesn’t have to take care of other responsibilities and her only task is to breastfeed, care for the newborn and rest between feedings.
Unfortunately, in the West we went far away from this 40-day-long ritual and often women don’t have the possibility to regenerate fully. The postpartum period is not taken seriously. A woman just after birth not only takes care of the baby, but also receives visitors, takes care of the household and comes straight back to all her responsibilities, sometimes even taking up an intensive workout to get back to her pre-pregnancy body as fast as possible. No wonder that after a few days or weeks she’s exhausted, sleepy and weak.
In Denmark, the country where people are thought to be happy, protected and supported by the state and social services, there is a conviction that a woman in the postpartum period “is not sick” and therefore doesn’t need to isolate herself from others. The 40-days idea is badly interpreted and deemed “exaggerated”.
In my daily life, I’m a yoga instructor, also for pregnant women. My intention is to spread a certain philosophy and lifestyle in the postpartum period. I talk women into conscious preparation for this time and planning it in a way which will ensure as much peace as possible for them and their family.
How to prepare for the postpartum period?
– Plan 40 days just for you, your baby and closest family members, putting all the friends’ and relatives’ visits off to a later time. If you let everyone know about that while still being pregnant, nobody should feel offended and they will accept your decision.
– Plan help for the household. If you can, hire a postpartum doula, who will not only take care of basic household chores but will also prepare appropriate, warm and fresh meals for you. She can also do massage or other healing rituals for you.
– If you can’t afford a doula, ask family members or friends to prepare warm meals for you. In this way, you eliminate the necessity to have food delivered from the nearby restaurants. The food you will get from these places is not as nutritious and healthy as that made especially for you by your close ones.
– If these options are not available, plan your meals beforehand and order products online, so that your partner will be able to prepare meals from them. In Denmark, there’s a website on which you can order products for your weekly meal plan that are delivered in the form of a box full of fresh, organic products together with ready-to-use recipes.
– And, above all, let yourself have the time to regenerate, do it not only for yourself but also for your baby, who needs peace and a well-rested mom so much.
– Remember that the postpartum period is important also for your close ones, the baby’s father and the older siblings. If a woman is well-rested, everything functions much better and the balance in her family is preserved.