After a morning spent inside LA’s cool new women’s center, LOOM two very important ideas were clear to us. One, the women of LOOM, including co-founders, doula and author Erica Chidi Cohen and policy advocate Quinn Lundberg, really know what they’re talking about. Two, there’s a desperate need for better, high quality education for new mothers out there!
After just twenty minutes with Erica, we learned more about the first forty days after childbirth than we’d ever learned from our mothers, teachers, doctors or friends combined. If you’re pregnant, planning to be, or have a bestie with fertility-minded ideas of their own, we can’t recommend the new LOOM space membership enough.
The new LOOM offers programming and services for parents, parents-to-be and just about everyone with an interest in fertility and sexual health. Their modern, practical – and stylish – approach to the women’s health space here in LA is one that promises to uplift just about everyone involved — and we can’t wait to watch it grow!
Below are twelve tips from LOOM co-founder, Erica Chidi Cohen for the new mom. Read, enjoy and share with a new mama to be…
The High + The LOW
It’s not unusual after delivery for the first few days to be adrenalized or “hyped up,” followed by an intense bout of exhaustion. You may feel too wired to sleep or may not even feel hungry. This could potentially set the tone for some unsustainable patterns, such as forgetting to eat. You can avoid this by following your baby and eating when they eat and having meals ready to go. Consider setting up a meal train with friends or having healthy meals delivered, especially in the first two weeks after delivery – because you and your partner will find it challenging to do much else but be with your baby. And that’s a good thing – it’s a pivotal bonding period.
Don’t expect to be buzzing around the house doing all kinds of things, because it’s simply not probable. If you’re really “A-type personality” that likes to have high-functioning days, I like to tell my clients to take that organized energy and use it to teach themselves how to relax and let go. The more time that you spend going slow, particularly lying down and resting, the faster your body will recover.
Lie Down … A Lot!
This is not because you’re trying to check out and not participate. It has a lot to do with the fact that during pregnancy, your uterus is stretching and it’s impacting all of your abdominal organs and moving them out of their natural setting. As your uterus starts to contract back down to normal size, the organs are re-positioning themselves to their natural setting. If you’re doing household chores, it’s not encouraging this process to happen.
Bind Your Belly
Belly binding is not a vanity thing to “snap back,” it’s more to help collect and constrict the abdomen to help organ alignment. It also helps with comfort when picking up your baby. A lot of women report feeling really “uncollected” after delivery, which leads me to say that your belly will still be there. Post-delivery there will be some swelling and most women will not have a flat stomach for up to 2-3 months or longer, and that’s totally okay!
Eat + Sleep When Your Baby Does
Newborns aren’t consolidated sleepers. They typically sleep in little 1-3 hour gaps throughout the day, and sometimes even less. It’s really important that as a new parent in the first 40 days, you simply just follow your baby’s schedule. If you do that, it makes it much easier to get through the day.
Stay Home + Cocoon
Cocoon and have the world come to you. It’s really important to try and limit your exposure to hectic environments, since your energetic system is so sensitive. You’re building a symbiotic environment with your baby outside of the womb which requires limited distraction. Being home and re-learning your environment and developing that symbiosis with your baby will reduce your anxiety and boost your confidence. If being home-bound makes you feel trapped, go for a walk or have friends come over that make you feel good. That being said, it’s a real opportunity in those first 40 days to just kind of shut out the world and camp down. Try to only leave when you absolutely have to. Take advantage!
Be Conscious of Your Digital Diet
It can be really easy to be over stimulated or trigger “FOMO,” especially if you aren’t really leaving the house. Pick social media accounts that feel good if you are going to be on Instagram, or whatever your intake is, realize that is a part of your diet too, and you want to make sure it feels nourishing.
Have the Right Kind of Visitors
Visitors in those first few weeks should bring food, ask how they can help, and be supportive of the process you are moving through. You don’t want friends or family members that are going to come over and ask you to make them tea, try to make you stay up late or tel them what to do around town.
Get Help (it’s okay!)
A lot of people feel the you have to do everything yourself, and that’s just not true. It’s actually a very American notion. New parents need support and third or fourth set of hands. Postpartum doulas can help answer questions about baby care and clue a new mother in on what to expect in her own healing process.
If you’re planning on breastfeeding, have a lactation consultant come see you within a week of being home, even if nothing is going wrong. It’s just great to have that support, encouragement and affirmation that everything is going well. There’s no shortage of how much good help you can receive in that period of time in your home, depending on what you can afford, where you live, or what is acceptable.
Wear Your Baby
Wearing your baby is really helpful, whether it’s in a soft or structured carrier. It continues to cultivate that symbiosis and connection. Your baby was in the womb for 9 months, so they enjoy being really close to their parent.
Get Body Work for Yourself
Get an in-home massage, or if you do leave the house, let that be the reason you leave. This is ideal in the first two weeks after delivery, or maybe even sooner. There is a style of a Ayurvedic massage called Abhyanga that uses a warm, hot oil and really helps to realign the body in terms of the energy and getting the lymphatic system flowing correctly again. It can really be night and day after a new mom gets a massage.
Communicate What You’re Feeling
If you’re feeling really overwhelmed, stressed out, or anxious, there’s no need to pretend that’s not happening. Get support, and if you feel you’re not sure where to go, the first line of defense may be your pediatrician. You’ll see them more often than your OB or primary caregiver in those first 8 weeks.
Explore more pro tips for new mamas and those to-be here!