Friday, October 21, 2011

The Three S's for Moms

Many of you may be familiar with the 5 S's for babies from the Happiest Baby on the Block book (shushing, swaddling, sucking, swinging and side/stomach positioning).  They are great and do provide a lot of calming to a baby.

However, as a postpartum doula, I am also very interested in having a calm Mom!  So, I would like to take this opportunity to present my Three S's for moms.  These three S's will help a new mom stay calm, avoid postpartum blues and mood disorders and most of all enjoy her baby.  A happy and relaxed mom can take better care of her baby.  And also - YOU DESERVE IT!

Dover Doula's Three S's:

1.  Sleep - There is nothing, absolutely nothing, like the sleep deprivation that comes along with a newborn.  So, go lay down in your bed EVERY SINGLE CHANCE YOU GET!  This means:  napping when the baby naps, napping when your partner gets home from work, napping when a friend comes to visit (they only want to hold the baby anyway), napping on the couch when your baby is safely snuggled on your chest, napping when your doula comes, napping all the time! 

Not only are you exhausted from all the nighttime feedings, but your body needs to recover and heal from birth (particularly if you've had a cesarean birth).  The only time your body can heal is when it is relaxed and resting.  Also, if you are breastfeeding, you need to be getting enough sleep so that your body can produce milk.  Breastfeeding burns a lot of calories/energy!

So, after you read #2 and #3 - close your laptop and go lay down!

2.  Sustenance - nourish yourself so that you can sustain life - your own and your baby's.  Drink plenty of water to help withe healing process, cleansing process and the production of milk.  Eat yummy, warm, healthy food.  Change your morning routine to having your partner cook you a nice big breakfast before leaving for work.  Eating lots of healthy meals and snacks throughout the day helps keep your blood sugar steady and your head clear. 

Breathe!  Throughout the day, notice your posture and try to sit up straight, allowing your lungs to fill to capacity as you inhale.  As you exhale, feel your navel pulling in toward your spine and imagine that you are exhaling all the stale air up and out from the bottom of your lungs.  Taking some moments to take some nice deep breaths can rejuvenate and relax you.

3.  Self-care - New moms (hey - all moms!) need to put a lot of focus on self-care.  The postpartum time period is a sacred time.  Nurture yourself.  Be sure you are resting when the baby rests, eating healthy meals and snacks, drinking plenty of water.  Yes, it would be fantastic if you could sneek away for a massage or a pedicure, but let's get real here.  Self-care can also be as simple as ensuring you have a moment to brush your teeth, taking the time to take a nice, long, hot shower.  Massaging your skin with a gentle oil.  Enjoying a nice, long snuggle on the couch with your yummy baby.  Self-care means postponing the thank you note writing while you and your baby go back to bed after the first early morning feeding. 

This is hard, because your "mother bear" instincts are kicking in full force with a rush of natural hormones and it is completely normal and common to put the baby first.  New moms tend to push their own basic needs to the back burner as they focus on their baby, but as any good flight attendant worth their salty peanuts will tell you, you need to put your own oxygen mask on first, before you can help your baby.

Take care of yourself.  Put yourself first - ahead of the laundry, the thank you notes, the unpacking, and the dishes.  Step over that laundry basket and go for a walk outside for some fresh air and sunshine.  Close the door on the unfinished nursery, light a candle and take a nice long soak in the tub. 

You, and your baby, are worth it.

No comments:

Post a Comment