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How long should you rest after giving birth?

In Guatemala, a traditional midwife visits the new mom every day or 2 for up to 2 weeks after birth to check the baby's cord, massage the mother and do house work so the mother can

Chinese women rest for 30 days after giving birth.  Female relatives or live-in helpers do the housework for the new mother.

In India, postpartum confinement typically lasts up to 40 days. This seclusion is to protect the new mother and her infant not only from evil spirits, but also from exposure to illness, because both are considered to be in a vulnerable state after birth.

In the Middle East, it's the custom to rest 40 days postpartum in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, and Palestine.  During this 40-day period, someone comes to the house or stays with the new mother to take care of the baby, the house, and the other children, so that all new mothers have to do is rest

In Mayan Indian culture in Mexico, a new mother and infant must remain inside for 7 days and have limited contact with non-household visitors. After the first week, the mother may increase her activities. She resumes her full, normal activities only after the 20th-day sobada, a postpartum massage by a midwife, which constitutes the formal termination of the childbirth process.

But in most Western cultures we resume normal activity as soon as possible.  Sometimes we have no choice.  But if we do have a choice should we be resting more? Giving our bodies a little longer to heal and adapt to all the changes?

I was lucky that I didn't want to or have to leave the house for 10 days, DH did the housework and cooked and can't help wondering if this contributed to my speedy healing, my special bond with Erin, and how easy breastfeeding etc came to us.  

Of course it is harder in our culture and this day and age as we often don't have family nearby to help out, or are a single parent who has to get on and do shopping, etc...

What do you think? Should we be resting more or should we be up and doing stuff the same/next day?

It's an interesting question this one.  I believe wholeheartedly in the BabyMoon period but more for bonding reasons than mother recuperating reasons I think.

I find it extraordinary that it's the norm for family and friends to visit so soon after the new soul arrives Earthside.  You wouldn't turn up during someone's honeymoon would you but somehow when it's bonding with a baby in question - everyone wants to come along.


Also, an animal in the wild literally carries on after giving birth - we are almost the only mammals who don't.  Personally I feel that the fact that we don't consume the placenta has a lot to do with the drained, depleted and sometimes depressed way we feel after birth... which is why I do what I do!  :0)

But for bonding reasons... I really feel this the weeks and months after birth are essential.  Dr Bruce Lipton, pioneering cell biologist and epigeneticist says that the ONLY people it is important for a baby to bond with in the first 2 weeks are the parents.  This is because a baby is learning who it will learn from during the first few years of life.  Who's responses will it use in order to understand the world.  In that first two weeks a baby goes from being able to recognise the individual faces of chimpanzees AND humans to only being able to recognise individual faces of humans, then they gradually narrow it down after this window.  If bonding doesn't occur properly babies only focus on mouths instead of faces and find it hard focusing on anything in particular.  Apparently many cases of ADHD are actually attachment disorders which is even more heartbreaking when you consider that these children are then given drugs like Ritalin!

The most important factors in establishing secure bonding according to Dr Lipton are touch and direct eye contact between mother and baby and father and baby.

Interesting stuff...


I think we SHOULD rest for much longer than most of us do, that said I've always been up and about shamefully quickly after giving birth. (My fourth baby was at a new year's party less than twelve hours after being born Rolling Eyes  Laughing ) My neighbour told me that when she had her boys (both now in their forties) she was 'not allowed to put her feet to the floor for ten days'
Nature's Mother

I had family over for 3 days just 5 days after Erin was born and my hubby and I ended up doing all the cooking and cleaning, while family gave Erin the occasional cuddle but mostly sat around reading (as we don't have telly!). I was upset because I felt that no real value was put on this special time and the expectation was for me to get up and get on with things, when really all I wanted to do was hold and gaze at my new baby even while she was sleeping. I was still bleeding quite heavily and my perineum was still sore and I felt not running up and down stairs looking after others would have probably been beneficial. So I'm all for the resting period, although I daresay it's all going to be quite different with number 2, as Erin is now 2 and I don't think daddy is going to be able to stay home for 40 days! Perhaps I can wangle 10 days though!  Very Happy

natural birth

Postpartum depression (PPD), also called postnatal depression, is a form of clinical depression which can affect women, and less frequently men, after childbirth. Studies report prevalence rates among women from 5% to 25%, but methodological differences among the studies make the actual prevalence rate unclear. Among men, in particular new fathers, the incidence of postpartum depression has been estimated to be between 1.2% and 25.5%. Postpartum depression occurs in women after they have carried a child, usually in the first few months, and may last up to several months or even a year. Symptoms include sadness, fatigue, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, reduced libido, crying episodes, anxiety, and irritability. Although a number of risk factors have been identified, the causes of PPD are not well understood. Many women recover with a treatment consisting of a support group or counseling.

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