I gave birth to my little girl almost exactly one year ago. She was a long time in the making (roughly ten years). So much effort and emphasis was placed on my pregnancy and her safe arrival, at the time, I didn’t give nearly enough thought or preparation to the few weeks once she was here. There was no plan. How could I plan? As a first time mum I had no idea what to expect.
My mother in law suggested we move in with them because having a newborn is so hard, I would be in utter despair; while others anticipated I would likely be able to return to work soon after birth; all while Instagram suggested my sole focus should be my postpartum body and coastal treks with a pram, almond decaf latte in tow! The reality was somewhere in between that. And while I loved every moment; A year after birth, I do wish I had made a little plan for my own health, recovery and nurturing. I wish I had read and researched more about this golden moment in our lives.
I now, wholeheartedly suggest to any first-time Mum, that during pregnancy, while shopping for all the important things that babies need, that she also ‘adds to cart’ one of these four fabulous resources, focusing on her ‘life with new baby’.
The First Forty Days revives the lost art of caring for the mother after birth. Based on author Heng Ou's own postpartum experience with zuo yuezi, a set period of "confinement," in which a woman remains at home focusing on healing and bonding with her baby.
Modern mothers are pushed to "bounce back" after delivering their babies, and are often left alone to face the physical and emotional challenges of this new stage of their lives, the first forty days provide a lifeline-a source of connection, nourishment, and guidance.
The book includes 60 simple recipes for healing soups; replenishing meals and snacks; and calming and lactation-boosting teas, all formulated to support the unique needs of the new mother. In addition to the recipes, this warm and encouraging guide offers advice on arranging a system of help during the postpartum period, navigating relationship challenges, and honouring the significance of pregnancy and birth.
Nurturing your new life | Heide Sze
Mornington Peninsula local and food blogger Heide Sze (Apples Under My Bed and @Heideapples) has created a glorious guide of words and recipes for new mothers, encouraging them to surrender to the changes, reject the guilt and accept the imperfect reality of this new life.
For many first-time mothers, expectations about their new life come from idealised images on TV, in magazines or online. It's a far cry from what it actually involves: lack of sleep, time and control - and total dependency on you by another. Becoming a mother brings extraordinary physical and emotional changes to a woman's life, but it also taps into deep instincts. Adjusting expectations and being true to your unique needs will bring a comfort, joy and peace that slavishly following rules, imposing unreachable standards and accumulating rooms of gadgets are unlikely to do.
As women go through this profound transition, it is crucial that they identify their support needs and trust their intuition. This book will help women do just that.
The Fourth Trimester | Kimberly Ann Johnson
Post-partum expert, founder of Magamama.com and STREAM school for postpartum care, Kimberly Ann Johnson draws upon her vast professional and personal experience to create this informative guide to the ‘Fourth Trimester’.
The book offers advice for pregnant women on how to prepare their body for birth; how to organise themselves and their households for the best possible transition to motherhood; simple practices to facilitate healing and restore energy; and how to strengthen relationships and aid the return to sex. Johnson also explores the complex and often conflicting emotions that arise post-partum, and explores the profound nature of childbirth and new motherhood. She helps women contextualise their experience and tap into the spiritual opportunities it can provide.
Golden Month, Caring for the World’s Mothers After Childbirth | Jenny Allison
Small in size, but large on content, this book from Acupuncturist and teacher Jenny Allison has spent at decade researching this book. Golden Month outlines a holistic approach towards postnatal care that amalgamates the best practices from different cultures throughout the world. Golden Month aims to debunk the anxiety-inducing myth of the perfect postpartum body. It focuses on a mother's long-term well-being, looking at both mental and physical health. Golden Month also explains the importance of nutrition and includes nutrient-dense recipes to ensure optimum recovery during the postnatal period.
More Recommended Parenting Reads
See more of our highly recommended new parenting reads here in our For Mum section. Some fantastic books for your own pregnancy and newborn journey or purchase one as a gift for a friend's Baby Shower or to congratulate a friend on their pregnancy announcement.