Well Being

The Importance of a Babymoon

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Welcome to the February Carnival of Breastfeeding! This month contributors talk about overcoming breastfeeding challenges. Check out the round-up of links at the end of this post, but first, I make the argument that a babymoon is invaluable in helping mothers overcome breastfeeding challenges.


Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/yohutch/ / CC BY-SA 2.0

Wikipedia defines “babymoon” as “a period of time that parents spend bonding with a recently-born baby.” It goes on to explain that nearly 15 years ago the term babymoon was coined in the book The Year After Childbirth by childbirth educator and author Sheila Kitzinger. Kitzinger claimed:

The transition to fatherhood is easier when a man can take time off to be with his partner and baby in what I call a ‘Babymoon'.

I definitely agree with that statement and would take it another step further — that the transition to motherhood is easier when the mother's partner can take time off and help her get breastfeeding off to a good start. (Note that more recently, “babymoon” has been taken over by the travel industry to mean a honeymoon-type trip taken before the arrival of a new baby, but obviously that's not my meaning).

My Experience

When my third daughter was born in July of 2008, my husband had only been at his new job for seven months. Thankfully his employer allowed him to take two weeks off after the birth (using what little accrued vacation time he had, plus some unpaid time off), and to take additional days off here and there after that so that I got as much help as possible in those weeks after the birth. Even though I had breastfed my other two children, I knew that each baby is a new learning experience. As it turned out, I had a rocky start even this third time around, simply because I experienced some intense afterpains/cramping and spiked a fever a few times over the first 10 days or so after the birth. My midwife thought I had mastitis and prescribed lots of rest and of course, continued nursing (I held off on going in for antibiotics and the infection, if it was mastitis, resolved on its own. I recommend that you consult with your medical provider if you have a fever and flu-like symptoms, particularly right after the birth!) I remember feeling very discouraged because I was not feeling well in those early days. At the same time though, I remember those early days as ones where I gratefully lounged in bed all day with my newborn. Because my husband was home to bond with the baby and take care of our other children, I had the luxury of focusing all my energy on getting well and establishing breastfeeding.

From my husband's perspective, I know he loved being home with us all during that special time. Not all partners are as lucky as he was. I highly recommend making arrangements for as much time off as the employer (and your finances) will allow.

Other Carnival Participants (stay tuned as links are added throughout the day)

The Milk Mama: How I Got My Bottle-Guzzling Breast-Phobic Baby to Love Nursing
Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog: A Poll about the Obstacles You've Overcome
Hobo Mama: Supplemental Feeding Techniques for the Breastfed Baby
Whozat: A Rough Start
Living Peacefully with Children: When Nursing Takes Longer
Maman A Droit: Clueless!
Jessica Montalino: Week 7 and Our Breastfeeding Experience
Breastfeeding Moms Unite: I'll Be Brief
Mama's Herb Garden: 9 Things Your Nipples Wish You Knew about Them
Good Enough Mum: Tongue Tied and Twisted