The last post talked about pregnancy, today I would like to talk about the symbiotic period, which is the first two months of the child’s life.
During this time, the child need his mother and the mother needs her child. They have a symbiotic relationship. He needs her for nutrition (breastfeeding) and as a point of reference in this new world. He remembers her smell, her voice and even the sound of her heartbeat from the womb. Experiencing these familiar sounds help with his adaptation to his new life. The mother also needs him. Some mothers experience a sense of loss and emptiness after birth. The child they have carried and nurtured for 9-10months in now outside… their womb is empty and stomach looks deflated. Holding their baby during this first two months helps ease this feeling of loss and can help with postpartum depression. Breastfeeding also helps shrink the uterus back to its normal size.
Both the mother and child need a special kind of help and support during this period of adaptation.
Support: As the mother is a crucial part of the child’s adaptation, she needs to be available to him. Therefore, she needs help. Help with cooking, cleaning, laundry, care of the other children, hosting guests and all other tasks that do not have to do with the baby. This help can be provided by her partner, parents, friends or whoever is available. This is so important. My husband actually changed the name to “teambiotic” period referring to need for the couple to act as a team during this period.
Good Nutrition: Breastfeeding is hard work. A protein rich but balanced diet is important to help in milk production. Arrangements should be made to ensure this is available to the mother during this period.
Rest: As the baby is still adjusting the day/night routine on the outside, there will be a lot of sleepless nights or nights with very little sleep. It is important for the mother to get a lot of rest throughout the day to enable her provide the support the child needs. The team can help ensure she gets enough rest by attending to some of the guests, answering some phone calls and generally shielding her from things that would take from her rest time.
What does the child need? come back tomorrow to find out 🙂