Taking a Baby Honeymoon By Shari Green, Childbirth Educator

 

cosleeper to keep baby closeThink about falling in love with your partner, and about making a commitment - either officially or not - to spend your lives together. Whether or not you go on a honeymoon trip, there would likely be a honeymoon period when you spend as much time as possible together, thoroughly enjoying one another, exploring your love and discovering new things about one another. What a wonderful time!

As a new mother, you've just embarked on a lifelong relationship with a wonderful, new little person. You?re entitled to a honeymoon! Like a marriage honeymoon, a baby honeymoon is a time set aside for the two of you to get to know one another and to fall more deeply in love.

During your baby honeymoon, you should not be distracted by visitors, household chores, or other commitments. This is a time to focus only on the two of you! (Unfortunately, the honeymoon can often dissolve into chaos as exhaustion sets in and difficulties and questions arise. This is especially a problem when we don't have someone that we're comfortable with lined up to care for our other children, to prepare meals, and to do laundry and cleaning for us, and when we are unaware of the many helpful resources available in our community. Planning ahead will pave the way for a calm and beneficial honeymoon period.)

Just as marital honeymoons come to an end and the reality of change and adapting to change must set in, so also your baby honeymoon will end. You?ll gradually return to many of the responsibilities and activities of your "pre-baby" life. Your partner will go back to work and perhaps eventually so will you and your mother (or whoever) will leave. But you'll be ready for it. Having nurtured yourself, your baby, and this new relationship for a time, you will have given yourself a significant headstart in your role as a mother.

If you hit a stressful or difficult time, try to arrange for another honeymoon - even 12 or 24 hours of uninterrupted mom-and-baby time can make a world of difference. This is especially beneficial for establishing breastfeeding or increasing your milk supply: you are free to nurse baby as often as needed while you and baby spend the day in bed, nursing, sleeping, and enjoying one another.

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While an additional "baby honeymoon" may be the perfect solution at times, consider too that you'll need some time for yourself, without the demands of your infant. Be aware of your own physical and emotional needs, and nurture yourself intentionally.

In her book, "Mothering the New Mother" Sally Placksin outlines some mother-centered needs you might have:

  • the need for someone to talk to a good role model and listener
  • the need to focus inward
  • the need to feel dependent
  • the need to feel mothered
  • the need to talk about the labor and delivery, or the need to talk about the adoption experience
  • the need to feel protected
  • the need to feel nurtured
  • the need to respect your own vulnerability
  • the need for private time
  • the need for lots of praise and encouragement
  • using baby wrap sling for holding newborn babies the need to pay attention to your psychological and emotional states, even if others aren't doing so

Since your partner will also need to spend time getting to know this amazing new person, you may be able to work together to schedule time for mom while dad cares for baby. However you manage to work things out in your family, my wish for you is that you thoroughly enjoy falling in love with your child. Happy honeymooning!

Shari Green, 37, is a Childbirth Educator and mother of four (ages 14, 10, 7, and 2). In addition to her interests in pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting, Shari enjoys writing and running, and she is active in her church, working as a youth leader with junior high students.