I find it quite astonishing that people will spare no expense or effort to plan an elaborate wedding and a romantic honeymoon and yet the greatest change of life – having a baby- is often expected to be a mere ‘blip on the radar’ that should fit into an already busy schedule. In fact, many couples assume that this time will be a great opportunity to renovate –after all, you will have time ‘off work’. Be warned, I have seen many unfinished projects and stressed out families who hadn’t anticipated the unrelenting needs and unpredictable sleep patterns of a newborn.
Just like a honeymoon has traditionally been a time for couples to get to know their partners more intimately, a ‘baby moon’ is a very special time for you, your partner and your baby to put aside expectations, shut out the world until you feel ready, and enjoy this precious time getting to know each other and bonding as a family. It is a time to take things slowly and delight in every moment – it takes time and lots of watching and wondering to get to know your baby’s little quirks and foibles and how he expresses his needs in his own way. Becoming attuned and beginning to understand your baby’s needs in these early weeks will set up a foundation of confidence that you really do know your baby best, as well as a bond between you and your little one that helps him feel secure and encourages his optimum development.
Although, as obstetrician Dr Grantly Dick-Read says, “your baby has simple needs, all of which can be met in your arms and at your breast,” it can help to consider the enormous sensory changes from womb to room from your baby’s perspective, and offer ‘womb service’ as you help your baby adapt to being ‘on the outside.' To do this and to heal your own body after such a momentous experience as growing and birthing a baby, it is best to plan your baby-moon with as much care as you would plan a honeymoon.
When you truly respect the changes that a baby will bring – even though you can’t possibly imagine these before it happens to you – and when you set aside time to welcome your baby by setting up supports and postponing unnecessary work obligations, you will avoid a mountain of stress and you will be able to enjoy this precious time together as you gently introduce your baby to the world beyond the womb.
Photo by surlygirl via Flickr