What's A Babymoon?

Once you have given birth to a new child everything changes. Whether this is your first or last baby, the transition from individual, couple or family to include one more can be a challenge. The identity that once existed is altered and a new learning curve emerges. How you plan to take on this period of time can make a big difference to the experience.

After the birth of my first baby I would use the word shocking to explain those first few weeks. All of a sudden everything as I knew it, changed. The experience is almost impossible to explain in words. It’s pretty tough to know how this transition will affect you until you have experienced it for yourself. It’s as simple as that!

In an effort to "go with the flow" I had made little plans the first time around. I quickly learned what worked, what didn't and I knew that next time it would be different. I knew that next time I would speak my truth, I would plan my rest and I would enjoy good food!

After the birth of my second son, my experience can only be described as blissful. I spent a great majority of my time healing from birth, just as I had imagined I would. My baby and I spent our time together bonding and learning about one another. I nursed, I slept, I ate great food and I worked on my plan for a new business.

This was possible because of two things: One, I had a better idea of what to expect from my baby, myself, my family and my visitors. Two, I followed through with my vision and I made sure I had lots of support. I stretched my babymoon out as long as I could and after 4 months of postpartum bliss I crept out of the fog. I felt like a new women: I was full of love, admiration and determination. I also had a vision and a unique business to offer to my community!

Not many people think about what they are going to do right after the baby is born. They assume it will be sleepless, exhausting and painful - anything but blissful. I mean, what is there to plan anyway? You feed, change, sleep, clean, eat, and repeat, right? It doesn’t have to be this way though - introducing the “babymoon”.

What's a babymoon?

The babymoon is to a birth like a traditional honeymoon is to a wedding. It’s a time between parents and baby - a time for expressing love and connecting to one another. A time to rest, heal, eat good food and feel good too! The babymoon involves the whole family and often lasts about 6 weeks. Planning for this time period in your life will increase the stability, trust and satisfaction of everyone involved.

Everyone’s babymoon plan will be different. The first step is wrapping your head around this concept: Postpartum is a period of time, not a state of mind. Don't get me wrong, it will still be shocking, exhausting and challenging. But, it can also be invigorating, inspiring and wonderful as well!

There are lots of things to consider when planning your babymoon such as: Who is invited? What will you eat? What activities do you want to do? What supplies will you need? Just like a honeymoon, you will plan to spend your days relaxing, eating good food and enjoying the environment around you. Your plan is unique to you and your support team. And guess what else... you deserve every bit of it!

TIPS:

Try to get as much “skin on skin” time as you can. Lie for hours with your little bundle curled up on your chest. Smell them, hug them and start to recognize their cues. This not only encourages bonding but does wonders for getting your breastfeeding established.

Try to rest as much as possible and don’t plan on going out. Postpone big events and avoid having a house full of people. This is a great time to just “be together” with your baby and your family.

Decide in advance “who” you want to be a part of this time period and ask those people closest to you to support and protect you. Having people around who support your choices and lift your spirit will only aid in your healing and compliment your journey. It’s ok to allow yourself a break from draining people and draining situations.

TIP for older siblings:

Plan for friends and family to take day trips with them. Save extra money to make up a treasure box of new toys, books and art supplies for when you are home alone with them. Ask your partner to help pre-make meals or call me, The Doula Chef!

While your baby sleeps on your chest you have lots of options to keep you occupied. Read a book, watch your favourite show, pick-up an old hobby or like me, plan for the future. You can have a restful, peaceful postpartum. Give your body the time it needs to heal and give your family the attention it needs to transition smoothly into this new reality.

If you didn’t get the time to plan and you’re feeling caught up in the postpartum blahs instead of the postpartum bliss, here’s my piece of advice: START NOW!  Speak your truth and ask for help. If you feel like you have no time for resting, relaxing and recovering, find someone who will help you get some. Call a friend or family member and tell them how you feel. Let them know you need more time to relax and heal. Ask if someone can make you a meal, draw you a bath, help with the older siblings or fold the laundry.

The Doula Chef is a local London Ontario business that provides families with healthy, delicious meals, made to heal and nourish during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum time period.

- Sheina Hemstreet, The Doula Chef


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