(Click to read the blog on mother.ly)
“Is he sleeping through the night?” asks a stranger.
“She’s too clingy. You really need to stop picking her up.” says a friend.
“Is she a good baby?” asks a woman at the park.
“He should be self-soothing by now. Consolidated sleep is critical for healthy brain development.” proclaims a sleep trainer.
“You’re creating a rod for your own back.” exclaims a grandmother.
“I hope you’re putting her down drowsy but awake.” advises a mother at a meetup.
“Feed, play sleep! Feed, play, sleep!” chants a daycare worker.
“You’re not nursing him to sleep are you? That’s a bad sleep association. How do you expect him to learn to fall asleep on his own?” questions a health nurse.
“Oh, he’s just manipulating you, dear. He’s got you wrapped around his tiny eight-week-old little finger.” says a mother-in-law.
“If you don’t put your three-day-old baby down to sleep in a crib on his own you’re risking suffocation and death. It is the only way babies are safe from SIDS.” states a pediatrician.
These are the loud lies of infant sleep that our culture repeats from one generation of new mothers to the next, as if on autopilot.
Without questioning the roots or validity of these statements.
Without an understanding of the biological needs of babies.
Without knowledge of what normal infant sleep looks like.
Without an appreciation for how most cultures around the world care for their babies (and why).
These mistruths are dangerous, not only because they’re false, but because they’re full of unrealistic expectations that set a new mother up to feel like she’s failing. To doubt her own abilities. To worry that there may be something wrong with her or her baby.
(click link at top to read blog in entirety)
Growing a baby a beautiful experience, but it’s also demanding on your body. New mothers may be told by books and doctors that they’ll be back to “normal” within six weeks of giving birth, but a new study has found that most women take much longer to recover.
Dr. Julie Wray, a researcher at Salford University in England, interviewed women at different stages of post-partum life. She found that the standard six-week recovery period is a “complete fantasy,” and it can take a full year to recover from childbirth.
It’s not just physical recovery that’s needed, but mental as well. Many feel the pressure to get back on their feet soon after childbirth and feel it may be necessary to head back to work as early as six weeks.
Wray found that recovery should start in the hospital. Back in the day, women spent more time in the maternity ward learning how to take care of their infant and getting breastfeeding advice. Now, some women are discharged as early as six hours after giving birth and expected to just go with it, according to Wray’s research.
“The research shows that more realistic and woman-friendly postnatal services are needed,” Wray concluded. “Women feel that it takes much longer than six weeks to recover and they should be supported beyond the current six to eight weeks after birth.”
Recovery after childbirth is different for everyone, but the general consensus is that a full year to heal the body and mind is much better than a month and a half.
I love my baby. But I was unprepared for how childbirth would change my body.
I thought I was pretty well prepared for the birth of my son. I had loads of friends with kids, I was an aunt, I’d attended a prenatal course, read (bits) of the many books recommended to me. And yet I discovered afterward that I was completely unprepared for the physical changes my body went through in pregnancy and the recovery that would follow. Obviously giving birth is one of the most extreme things your body can ever go through. So why was the aftermath also such a shock?
(Click link at top to read this op ed piece on nytimes.com)
It’s estimated that worldwide, some 10 to 15 per cent of new mothers suffer from postpartum depression. According to studies, having a strong social network – both online and in real life – can help mothers cope with this common medical concern.
A DARKER SHADE OF BABY BLUES
Postpartum depression is not to be confused with what’s come to be known as the postpartum “baby blues”, which is common to 80 percent of women after giving birth, usually beginning within the first three days after delivery and sometimes lasting as long as two weeks.
The baby blues are typically characterized by mood swings, anxiety, crying spells, irritability and insomnia, and while undeniably unpleasant, the condition is temporary, very common, and doesn’t present any long-term health concerns.
Postpartum depression, however, is a different story, being a more severe, long-lasting affliction linked to the chemical, social, and psychological changes associated with having a baby. While similar to the baby blues, its symptoms are considerably more intense and can eventually interfere with a mother’s ability to take proper care of her newborn or simply perform basic daily tasks.
(click link at top to read the entire article)
When I met Johnson at WMN Space, my first question was how, exactly, she started doing this kind of work in the first place. (I mean, it’s not something you can major in at college.) The former yoga instructor and bodyworker told me she found her calling while dealing with a serious pelvic-floorinjury brought on by childbirth.
“I started researching [treatment], and all I could find were tens of thousands of entries on postpartum depression,” she recalls. “But I was like, ‘Of course I’m depressed.’ I was pooping in my pants, sex was impossible, my low back was killing me all the time—and I’m someone who was totally fit and healthy [before giving birth.]
(Click to read about pelvic floors on wellandgood.com)
Whether it’s with breast milk, formula, or a combination of both, every mother and baby needs to figure out the feeding choices that work best for them.
These days, our culture sends a strong message about the benefits of breastfeeding. Many moms feel proud when breastfeeding is going well — like they have passed their first important test of motherhood with flying colors. That being said, not every woman can or wants to breastfeed, and it’s my opinion that the outcomes for babies who are formula fed may be academic, but in real life are imperceptible. Breastfeeding is not nature’s way of testing your abilities as a mother, and formula feeding is certainly not any indication of failure or insufficiency.
Whether it’s with breast milk, formula, or a combination of both, every mother and baby needs to figure out the feeding choices that work best for them. Though some find that it comes easily, most women say that breastfeeding involves a learning curve. It can take days or weeks for you and your baby to find your way.
The majority of women admit to me that, even when it works, breastfeeding is also really hard.
(click link at the top to continue reading on medium.com)