Postpartum Confinment? Baby Moon? What is this?

ba·by·moon -
A period of time following the birth of a baby during which the new parents can focus on establishing a bond with their child.
— Google

I've been seeing a lot of blogs going around about after birth confinement periods, or baby mooning.   When I first started seeing them, I was a week postpartum with my second child and I laughed.  Who has time for that?  Not me!  I've got a 5 year old who just broke her arm, she needs surgery, x-rays, and stitches removed, midwife appointments, and pediatrician appointments for my newborn.  My wife went back to work right away, and we shared a car.  So I was driving her to work everyday. 

I went to visit my midwives at 11 days postpartum with both kids and Constance looked at me like I was crazy and said something along the lines of "you gave birth 11 days ago, why are you here by yourself with both kids?"  I don't have time to be still.  After my appointment I went grocery shopping.  And yes, I was this bad with my oldest child. 

When I got home, it hit me.  I needed to SLOW DOWN immediately.  Everything ached.  All my energy was gone.  There must be something to this baby mooning thing.  I couldn't help the doctors appointments or the fact that we had one car at the time.  So each morning I drove my wife to work, went home and got back in bed with my baby. My 5 year old was very accommodating and allowed us to do her homeschooling in my bed. When we needed to go to appointments we went, came home, got back in bed or parked on the couch.  I started to feel better right away.  (I did still go to a friends Halloween party, so I am not perfect.)

Today I was watching the Planet Earth series with my daughter while her baby brother napped.  There was this part where a polar bear was coming out for the first time in five months.  She had 2 month old baby cubs with her.  She and the cubs had not left their den in two months!  That is amazing, and that's when it really all made sense.

There are many cultures around the world where new mothers rest for extended periods of time. In China they call it Zuoyuezi, which literally means "sitting the month."  Confinement is a common practice with Ayurveda which incorporates diet and tradition.

6 Tips for a Healthy Postpartum

  • Enlist Help!  Whether it is from family/friends (that are actually helpful) or a professional (like a postpartum doula), it is okay to ask for help
  • Eat Nutritious Meals - Food that satisfies you and offers high quality nutrition helps you heal.
  • Give Yourself Time - You need time to master breastfeeding and time to care for yourself.  Every baby has their own learning curve. 
  • Tell People "No" - Your job is not to entertain your friends or family.  It is okay to tell people you can't make it to things.
  • Freezer Meals - Start a meal train before you give birth.  It is a life saver to pop some already made food in the oven and enjoy. Friends/family love to help you prepare!
  • Find Professionals That Come To You - Find lactation consultants, newborn photographers, etc. who make home visits.