This week and end of babymoon

September 17th, 2010 · 2 Comments · parenting

I must confess that I’m not much of a knitter. Most of my projects have not panned out, so I was so touched when my friend and neighbor RC dropped off this beautiful hand knit hat for O.

Special time with yeh yeh.

Pesto making with basil from our garden.

End of babymoon

This week also marks my gradual re-entry into the world. I had planned a 15 day lying-in period or “babymoon” after reading this article (At Rest in the Arms of the Mother by Katherine Gyles) from Mothering.com and with the support and encouragement of my midwives. I was able to go on some short walks around the neighborhood with O and enjoy the cooler weather this week.

Lying-in is an old practice of seclusion for the mother to rest and recover after childbirth. It can range from one week to 40 days. The purpose of a lying-in period:

  • to allow the mother to heal (especially if she has experienced a tear, episiotomy, or C-section) and to give her organs time to re-position themselves
  • to establish successful breastfeeding, if that what the mother has planned, and to give the newborn the opportunity to re-gain some weight (newborns can lose up to 10% of their birth weight while waiting for the mother’s milk to come in)
  • to encourage mother-baby bonding
  • to give the mother some extra rest, especially since newborns wake up approximately every two hours at night
  • to reduce the likelihood of post-partum depression – see this research abstract

This is completely contrary to our current society’s expectation that mothers bounce back as soon as possible, appearing in public with a baby in sling and flat belly to boot.

My lying-in period was a mixed experience, mostly because I wasn’t as vigilant in protecting this sacred time and therefore didn’t get the full experience. I also didn’t clearly explain to Tig how important it was to me, so we had to learn some hard lessons about boundaries over the past couple of weeks. Still, I did get to spend valuable time with O, my body healed really quickly, and my mood was much better than the first time around.

For more information, this blog post has a really good summary of the why’s and how’s of babymooning.

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