Nurturing the New Mother
Creating spaces for new mothers where they can spend hours on end bonding with her baby and building her confidence before venturing out into the world.
As soon as a couple gets pregnant ideas of how to prepare their space for baby floods their minds and discussions. But what about the space for the new mother and her baby, the space where she will spend hours on end during the first few weeks and months? Most families make this their master bedroom and the nursery gets very little use. With a little attention to this area she will feel nurtured and relaxed. After all the birth of a baby is also the birth of a mother too. Here are a few tips to create a bedroom where she will find a bit of solace and rest, even while she is rocking, cuddling, feeding and occasionally sleeping.
~ Purchase a few new linen sets made in patterns (or plain) that make her smile. Chemicals used in the production of the materials don't just disappear when the linens hit the shelves. Mothers often try so hard to avoid chemicals in shampoos and creams, but the base of where they will lay their heads and the space they will breath many breathes is best free of those toxins. Fabrics like organic cotton and wool are naturally resistant to mites, fungi and bacteria.
~ Change bed linens weekly. Knowing that sheets absorb sweat, are a home to dust mites and will get messy just from the sheer hours she will be in them with baby; clean fresh smelling sheets are an easy way to make her feel refreshed.
~ Invest in several new pillows. While most pregnant moms sleep with more than one pillow in the later part of their pregnancy to support their growing belly, new and fresh pillows can give her piece of mind that where she lays her head is clean and chemical free. Gross fact: One study of pillows showed the average pillow has between 4 and 16 different species of fungi. You don't have to be a germaphobe to be totally grossed out by the estimate that 1/3 of our pillow weight is actually dust-mites, dead skin and other critters and bacteria.
Fresh New Pillows
~ Open the curtains every day. While it is easy to keep them closed for the lack of energy or because it might not be a direct need for the baby. Having them open allows natural light in and light can bring a smile to her face! Being awake in the wee hours of the dark morning, sometimes alone, caring for baby can be very lonely. Light brings hope, brightens the spirit and reminds us that life goes on outside and we are not alone!! Light also helps her baby with days and nights - bright bustling noise during the day and dark, quiet and calm at night!
~ Open the window at least ever few days. While it is enticing to leave the windows closed so baby doesn't catch a chill or be in a draft, changing the air in the room livens up the whole space. Fresh air brightens the soul and lifts the spirit. Mom and baby can either leave the room for a few hours or simply bundle up with a few more layers (baby should always be dressed in one additional layer than mom - too warm is not good). Fresh air will do her lungs a heck of good and the movement of stale air will be very helpful for the odours that have accumulated over the days and hours she has nestled in the space.
~ Invest in low lighting. A Himalayan salt lamp is a nice addition for lighting that can be left on at all times providing a soft warm light without creating a strain on the eyes. It also has health benefits that some find helpful. Place on the night stand allows her to easily control if and when she turns it off. While a plug in night light seems an easy fix, being that it's in the wall, she has to get out of bed to turn it off and usually most of those lights are white and create a strain on the eyes when looking at it. The warm light of a Himalayan salt lamp wraps everyone in a glow that will allow them to rest peacefully.
Add Low Warm Lighting
~ Set up a snack basket and have a water bottle with a pop-up spout. Having shelf-stable snacks accessible at all hours of the day means she can fuel her body whenever she feels the need. Being up at night means burning energy at night, and while not a typical time to eat - the energy it provides to snack at night can give her a jump in the morning. Keeping them on the night stand and within reach makes it easy in and the in-her-face spot reminds her to eat. Snacks should be dense in nutrition, knowing she needs clean healthy proteins and carbs, not sugar and sodium. She does not need empty calories during this time. The water bottle needs to have a spout that can either remain open (and not spill easily if dropped) and easily opened with one hand or using her mouth. Twist off tops are of no use when you only have one hand because the other is comforting baby.
These are just a few simple ideas to create a space where the new mother can care for her baby and feel relaxed, nourished and grow her self-confidence. Spending days on end between the same four walls can be very claustrophobic for some, so keeping the space clean and fresh will help her spirits stay bright during those early months.