The 4th Trimester
What every new mother needs and how you can help…
Following the painful and powerful initiation into motherhood, the key ingredients promoting a sacred connection between the mother and her baby are — peace, privacy and a calm environment for at least 40 days.
After we give birth our bodies are surged with opiate-like hormones, Oxytocin, known as the love hormone, which allows us to act altruistically bond with our newborn. Therefore, the one and only role the mother should perform is to nurture her child and herself.
The mother needs to be mothered
This is a luxury most of us modern-day mamas do not have, we must find all the help and loving allies we can get.
The 4th trimester, a timeframe lasting 40 days to upward of 3 months represents an extension of time in the womb. Several reasons for honouring this time period include protecting the baby from bacteria and viruses from the outside world, as their immune systems develop; allowing the mother to recuperate from the demands of pregnancy and birth; and providing a once in a lifetime opportunity for the new family to bond.
Physically, our bodies renew all the cells in our bloodstream every forty days. A delicate time to nourish for the production of milk and helping the uterus to heal and return to form.
How can you help?
- Don’t call / text incessantly or visit unannounced.
- Bring food instead of flowers. Being a new mama leaves little time for food preparation or grocery shopping and a homemade meal is possibly the most thoughtful thing you can do for her.
- WATER! Any breastfeeding mother needs a lot of quality fluids.
- Help out with some chores… our grandparents knew very well that it takes a village to raise a child — these days papa usually returns back to bringing home the bacon and mama is at home taking care of the baby and the household and if she can, herself. Roll up your sleeves and do some dishes, sweep, fold some laundry.
- Take mama for a walk — exercise and fresh air goes a long way for the physical and emotional body.
- Help the mom so she can REST & RELAX. Hold the baby so she can take a bath or shower. Give her a shoulder and neck rub (breastfeeding is very strenuous on the body!)
- Ask if she needs anything.. she might be shy to ask for things like breast pads for her leaky breasts, pads for post-birth bleeding, or other necessities for the baby.
- Respect her space and pick up on cues that you may be overstaying your welcome i.e. her eyes are glazing over or she is pre-occupied hosting you rather than enjoying your loving care and support.
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