Posts Tagged ‘bonding’

Have you written a postnatal care plan yet?

October 10, 2016

You wrote a birth plan, because birth is a big deal. But did you write a postnatal care plan? After your baby is born, your whole body and mind are in transition. Transition can be so tough, it’s even got a psychiatric label attached to it (Adjustment Disorder). Your body is physically transitioning in crazy, magical ways, and you are mentally transforming to get used to being instantly interrupt-able, having strange sleep patterns, putting yourself second, and grieving your lost carefree past. You are learning to know and love your baby. (Honeymoons were designed to help you love your new partner. Babymoons should also be designed to help you love your baby). Your brain is processing the birth. The list goes on and on and on and on. So, don’t just go home and hope for the best. Here is an example of what your postnatal care plan might look like:

“My Postnatal Care Plan

I have written a postnatal care plan because I very much want to enjoy my first few weeks getting to know my baby. I am aware that I have a tendency to do too much, and to feel guilty when I’m not getting stuff done. I want to ensure that this doesn’t happen following the birth of my baby, and so I am planning how to take care of myself in the first two precious weeks with my baby.

Generally, I wish to spend time skin to skin with my baby, I wish to establish breastfeeding, and I would like my husband to be an integral part of this with us.

Immediately upon coming home:

My husband would like to carry me and our baby over the threshold.

I would like a warm bath with rejuvenating bath salts, and then I would like to get into fresh (new) pyjamas and into our king size bed with new fresh sheets, and my baby.

I would like the lights kept low, my phone and my remote control next to me.

I would like to eat a huge, warm, filling meal of cottage pie and peas, washed down with camomile tea and a glass of champagne.

I would like my husband to join us as much as possible in bed.

For the first two weeks after coming home:

I would like visitors to stay away for at least 12 hours, apart from the midwife and my lactation consultant, who I have pre-arranged support with.

In the first three days, I would like very close members of my family only, to visit.

I do not want my baby to be held by anybody else in the first three days, other than her father.

We have arranged for a food delivery of fresh fruit, salads, sandwiches, chocolates and champagne. There are plenty of ready cooked meals in the freezer too.

I have arranged for a cleaner to come in every other day to tidy and clean the house, as per my husband’s requests (she will not clean our bedroom).

I have specific herbal/homeopathic remedies that I will be taking each day.

After the first three days, I have arranged for a postnatal doula to come in and provide emotional and practical support every three days.

My husband will help to ensure that I get plenty of rest, by regularly encouraging me to go to bed, and ensuring that the household and visitors are taken care of.

My husband will take a few hours out of the house each day, to do something to help him to feel refreshed also.

According to how I feel, I plan to spend most of the first two weeks in and out of bed. I might take a walk or potter around the house if I feel restless, but if not, I will stay in bed to recover and adjust, both physically and mentally, and to help me to fall in love with my baby and establish breastfeeding.”

What do you think? If you are thinking “that’s a bit overindulgent” then you are totally not getting how important this time is. If you are thinking “it’s only relevant to rich people” then drop the champagne and the au-pair, but stick with bed and help from family. If you’re thinking “what if I’m a single mum” then think even harder about your postnatal care plan, because support matters, whether its from a husband, a mother, the NHS, a best friend or social services.

It’s my prediction that postnatal care plans will become more and more common. If you’ve ever used one, I’d love to hear from you.

Mia Scotland

Perinatal Clinical Psychologist

http://www.yourbirthright.co.uk

Keep the Love Flowing this Valentine’s day: Plan a Natural Birth

February 12, 2013


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Valentine’s day.  A time for romantic love.  Just the two of you, together, with soft music on in the background, candle light, and a meal for two. It’s not a coincidence that Valentine’s day is associated with candle light, food, and calmness.  Romance, and all that lovey dove-iness is mediated by the love hormone, oxytocin.  Oxytocin is released when we kiss, cuddle, look into each other’s eyes, and even when we eat food together.  Oxytocin is a bonding hormone, it facilitates a sense of calm, peace, wellbeing, interconnectedness, love, trust and mutual dependence.  For more about this, see Kerstin Uvnas Moberg’s wonderfully easy to read and fascinating book, The Oxytocin Factor: Tapping the Hormone of Calm, Love and Healing.  Until very recently, the human race could not exist without oxytocin, because it is totally impossible to birth a baby and breastfeed without oxytocin. No mammal on this planet can have a baby without the help of oxytocin, unless she has a planned caesarean section.  Nowadays, Caesarean sections are a pretty common way to have a baby.  Each time a women has a caesarean section, her body has “skipped” the biological act of releasing abundant amounts of natural oxytocin into her brain and body.  The baby has missed it too.  Each time a women is given a drip of Syntocinon (the synthetic version of oxytocin) to induce or speed up her labour, her body is denied the chance to release abundant amounts of oxytocin into her system.  And the baby misses it too.  Each time a woman is given a Syntometrine injection to “help” the placenta out, her body’s natural release of oxytocin is interrupted.  The question is, what are the long term effects (or even, short term effects) of this dramatic, swift, and very recent biological change in the human race?

Nature didn’t overlook the fact that it is very important for a new mother to fall in love quite quickly with her baby, so birth and love become intertwined at birth, via oxytocin.  Maybe nature also takes into account, that if we flood a new-born baby’s body and brain with oxytocin, that baby becomes endowed with the building blocks to live a life of peace, calm, safeness, trust, interdependence, love and bonding.  Maybe, if we interfere with nature’s way,  and deny the baby this flow of oxytocin into the brain and body, we increase the cases of aggression, anxiety, autism, isolation (depression) and self harm (suicide) in our population.  Given the alarming increase in rates of mental health problems in childhood and rates of autism, this is an important question to answer.  A second issue is this: maybe, if we keep interfering with women’s natural release of oxytocin, then women will literally lose the genetic ability to release it naturally, quickly and easily, every time they go into labour or breastfeed.  Michel Odent, an eminent obstetrician and natural birth guru, believes we are seeing the effects of this already, by the fact that labours seem to be longer and more problematic now that they were fifty years ago.  With regards the effects of oxytocin on the baby, he has a whole online library of correlational evidence demonstrating a relationship between the behavioural problems outlined above, and the manner in which a child was born.  But no one is asking, except for him.  Somehow, the medical community just plows on, (lining drug companies pockets), by giving women syntocin or syntometrine or an epidural (which also interrupts her natural hormones) or a caesarean section without pausing to seriously question the long term consequences.  Last year, I heard a midwife try to persuade a mum to have syntocinon to speed up labour.  She said “it’s nothing to worry about, it’s just like a little bit of lucozade to re-energise you”.  I disagree.  We need to stop handing out these drugs as though they were sweets.  They are costing the NHS a fortune at the point of delivery (excuse the pun), and I dread to think what they are costing the NHS in the long run.

So, if you are planning a natural birth this Valentine season, don’t be dissuaded by people who think you are better off with an epidural or a caesarean section.  Keep the love flowing; plan a natural birth.

Addendum:  I would just like to say, that this blog is based on theory and statistics, and that means that research which shows a correlation between two things, does not mean these things apply to you, as an individual.  For example, research might show that “short people have more fun”.  But this is a huge generalisation, it does not mean that if you are tall, you won’t have fun, and it does not mean that if you are short, you will have fun.  It just means that out of a LOT of people, on AVERAGE, some had more fun. If you birthed without natural oxytocin, this does not tell us anything about your baby, your bonding and your child’s mental health.  Oxytocin is not just released via birth, it is released through skin to skin contact, holding, massaging, eye contact, and lots more.  If you did not have a natural birth, you will have bonded via other love producing means.  Humans and babies are very flexible and adaptable indeed.