This guest post comes to us from Rebecca Egbert. A Midwife and tireless champion of moms, Rebecca has specialized in Women’s Health for 20 years. She created Little Mother’s Helper, a guide for the mind, body, heart and soul in the time following childbirth. Below she shares her top advice to new mothers.
As a midwife and maternal health advocate I have held hundreds or what seems like thousands of newborn babies close to my chest, right near my heart, whispering, “Welcome to the world little one. I hope we do our best to help you grow as you start your journey.” This little window of sacred time in a woman’s life and her family’s – heartbeat to heartbeat - initiates the outer connection and bond of life long love. The heartbeat is an incredible, basic, physiological event that happens all day everyday for the healthy human. It’s something we take for granted, because it just happens. Seldom do we acknowledge it’s profound importance, until the day we give birth. Suddenly, the heart we’re really accustomed to falls in love more than we ever imagined. That is motherhood. A pediatric ICU nurse once said to me, “The minute you become a mom, it’s like your heart jumps to the outside of your body and you spend the rest of your life chasing it.” It’s not always easy, either.
Here are a few babywearing tips that will help you nurture both your and your baby's hearts as you endure the chase:
Make a plan to get your partner in on wearing your baby. Commit to how you’re going to manage going out together, deciding who’s wearing the wrap and who gets a free moment, and at what time you’ll switch up. Enable each other to be confident with wearing your baby in social environments so that the wearing responsibility doesn’t land solely on one parent.
There are days when your babe will be particularly fussy, and you will not be able to put her down. On those days, don’t expect a lot from yourself and rely on your wrap. Position your baby in your wrap so her ear is close to your heart. I find this position to be the most effective on those fussy days, because she can hear your heartbeat just like when she was in the womb. Your heartbeat is one of the first sounds she recognizes on the outside, other than your voice. Most likely, being close to your heart will help her regulate her internal compass feeling safe and soothed. This will also give you your hands free to do what you need to while keeping your babe close.
Being a mom is hard. If you’re a seasoned mom, help a girlfriend out during the early days of motherhood. Remember, sometimes what a mom needs most is something she has a hard time asking for – a little help from her friends.
We don’t talk about maternal mental health enough. If you are worried about postpartum depression, or experience any level of anxiety during pregnancy – talk to your provider early. Like during a prenatal visit. After the birth, carrying your baby is healthy for you. But, if you are experiencing depression or anxiety postpartum, seek help from a trained and experienced mental health professional early so you can be your best self later.