The nesting place for a New-Mother’s Retreat need not be elaborate – essentially what is needed is a quiet, unhurried pleasant space. This can be created in just one section of the home, where the mum and baby will spend most of the time, or extended throughout the home as desired.
Quiet: remove distractions and limit visitors. Distraction, such as TV, internet and reading takes you away from being in the moment, which is when you and the baby will to get to know each other and learn to pick up on each other’s cues. Gazing at your newborn, skin-to-skin contact, and breastfeeding, physiologically enhances bonding between you and your baby. Having visitors that you need to host, rather than visitors that will provide care and nourishment for you is also a distraction during this time, especially if it interrupts breastfeeding. Traditionally, the baby would be introduced to ‘others’ after the recuperation period.
Being undistracted benefits you also – you are able to tune into what your needs are. This intuition is a better source of how you are doing, what you need, and when you can increase activity a little. Rely on this intuition rather than comparing yourself to other mothers in similar situations.
Unhurried. Any mum will tell you that the postpartum period is a twilight zone of both mystery and monotony, where day and night lose all meaning. Don’t fight this. Schedule as few things as possible during this period. Arrange for older children to be cared for by others. Leave a sign on the door when you rest, ‘Quiet! New mama napping’. This will ensure that unsuspecting visitors, couriers and salespersons, do not disturb you. Don’t feel guilty about this – everyone will need to work around you and your baby for now. Remember the mantra, ‘Care for the mother, and she will be able to take good care of the baby’.
Pleasant. There is a saying in traditional Chinese medicine that a pregnant woman should cast her gaze on objects of beauty. Beauty brings calm and feelings of happiness and positivity, and as discussed already, this has invaluable physical and mental benefits for you and your baby. Quiet.. new mama nappingCreate a space that is beautiful, functional, uncluttered and calm.
“”… [baby] will mirror your state – calm and grounded or overwhelmed and stressed – making it paramount to take care of your own needs with as much dedication as you give to his.”
note: A new Mother’s Postpartum Retreat is also known as zuo yue zi, the confinement period, the golden month, or the sitting month in various traditions.