Have you considered lying-in with your new baby? It’s the ultimate bonding experience for baby, and the ultimate act of postpartum care for yourself.
When we talk about bringing baby home in America these days, it’s often discussed in a glossy magazine format. We need to have the Pinterest-perfect nursery ready (even if baby will be staying in mom and dad’s room).
The baby must be enrobed in the most adorable, organic, unique layette. We allow every person who’s chomping at the bit to meet baby to descend upon us.
We’re often so wrapped up in the excitement, we forget the more realistic side of childbirth.
While there’s nothing wrong with prepping for baby in these ways, you might want to welcome motherhood in another way. Take a deep breath and consider taking part in a modern “lying-in,” if the option is available to you (and hopefully it is).
What is lying-in?
A lying-in, or babymoon, is the period of time after childbirth that allows the mother the time to heal and bond with her new, beautiful little soul. Once upon a time, a lying-in was quite common and is still routine in many less hurried cultures throughout the world.
A lying-in isn’t meant as a luxury or an excuse for not “bouncing back” quickly after baby’s arrival. Many of the traditional rituals actually have a solid basis in science. Earth Mama’s free lying-in plan includes research, remedies, and a game plan for a beautiful lying-in.
Is a lying-in possible in a modern world?
We think so, as does Melinda Olson, founder, nurse, herbalist and Head Mama of the popular all-natural brand, Earth Mama Organics. Olson continually balances her trust and care of traditional herb wisdom with evidence-based research.
In order to strike the balance between a 21st century life and generations-long traditions of a lying-in, Earth Mama encourages a modern lying-in. This is one where we acknowledge the realities and expectations of a modern mama with the realities of a healing body and the expectations of a brand new baby.
“Bringing baby home means more than just an adorable onesie and a perfectly accessorized nursery,” says Melinda. “It means taking care of the mama that made the miracle, and healing her body and soul while she gets to know every crease, dimple, and the sweet scent of her brand new baby.”
Melinda offers simple yet effective tips for those opting to adapt a modern lying-in to their lifestyle, needs and postpartum care plan.
During your postpartum lying-in, stay in bed.
This is your time to heal. It won’t be easy – especially if you have another child, but do take this down time to the best of your ability. Allow yourself to reset your assumptions that you must be the same active person you were before baby’s arrival. Your body has been through a major ordeal. And this is a time for postpartum care and healing.
If you feel like putting on makeup and going out to dinner in those early weeks, by all means, do it and enjoy.
But if you don’t think you can possibly do more than feed and care for this new life, do that and don’t feel guilty. Listen to your body’s cues in case you may be trying to do too much.
Eat nourishing foods and warm drinks.
Freezing meals in advance, taking advantage of a slow cooker and accepting offers of home-cooked meals will help keep you (and the rest of your family) well nourished.
A bedside thermos (we love this purple stainless steel one) is genius for helping you avoid constant reheating of teas and infusions.
Ignore the dishes, enjoy your baby instead.
It may be difficult (especially for us neat freaks), but letting the dishes and laundry pile up shouldn’t concern you. These first weeks are precious, and in the long term of your parenting journey, this is a blip on the radar. If you really can’t think straight in a messy house, see the next tip about allowing yourself to receive help.
Your #1 priority is your baby, and not just the onslaught of diaper changes. The more you snuggle and look at your little one, the deeper your bond will grow. Remember that you’re both getting to know each other. Nine months is a long time to wait to “meet” one another, so enjoy it!
Give yourself permission to be waited on.
Traditionally, a lying-in involves someone “mothering the mother”. So take your significant other up on offers to fulfill your needs. And if you know and trust a relative or two to help out, take them up on their offers, too. (But feel free to decline anyone who will place stress on you or the baby.)
When you’re completely overwhelmed, just follow the wise words of one new mom when family and friends asked when they could come see the baby, “No one with a dust rag or pan of lasagna will be turned away.”
Fall in love with your baby.
For some new moms, every time you look at the baby, it seems surreal and glorious and literally just like falling in love. For other moms, bonding isn’t instant and can take a little while to develop. Both cases—and anywhere in between—are normal.
This new little human has drastically shifted your entire life. And it’s hard to think rationally when you haven’t had adequate sleep. Give yourself plenty of time and space to get to know and love your baby. And if you notice any of the signs of postpartum depression, ask for help and don’t feel remotely guilty about it.
Care for your postpartum body too.
There are plenty of wonderful essentials to help you have a calm recuperation so you can establish a bond with your baby while you heal your body! No matter what your birth experience, Earth Mama has the right safe, toxin-free postpartum care product to help repair, restore and soothe while you get down to the business of connecting with your baby.
Postpartum care products that can help:
An Organic Herbal Sitz Bath can be used cold after birth to help with inflammation and swelling. It can also be used later warm (or in a sitz bath) to provide continued soothing relief and increase healing circulation. Offered in easy to use sachets, use the resulting extra liquid in your peri bottle. You may even want to use these sachets to create your own soothing padsicle.
For a spritz of relief particularly welcome for those first bathroom trips, Herbal Perineal Spray’s got your back…side. And with an inverted sprayer, it’s super easy to spray upside down. Paired with Organic Perineal Balm, which offers lasting relief, you’ll be all set to handle postpartum care issues like vaginal soreness and swelling, hemorrhoids and episiotomies.
Organic Periodic Tea is formulated to jump start recovery immediately after childbirth, and help balance and calm postpartum and premenstrual ups and downs. Sipping a cup within an hour after birth will help jump start your postpartum recovery.
Our amazing bodies are naturally designed to close wounds, soothe inflammations and rashes, staunch bleeding, resist infection and fade scars. Yet sometimes even nature’s perfection needs a helping hand! Enter their Organic Skin & Scar Balm, which is formulated especially for cesarean section and other surgical wounds, old c-section scars and stretch markers, and inflamed rashes and burns.
Be sure to take care of the body while you bond with your brand new baby. This is your time to heal, cuddle, and find out everything about this new person, so you can discover what being a mother means to you.
Photography courtesy of Erin Merrill of Thirsties, Inc.
*This article was part of a collaboration with our advertising partner, Earth Mama Organics.