The Importance of a Babymoon

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

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    • http://www.HoboMama.com Lauren @ HoboMama

      This is a great idea. I wouldn’t have made it without my husband helping me out in those early breastfeeding days! We’re fortunate in that we both work from home, so we were able to take off a little time together, and then start back to work gradually as we felt able. I know that’s not an option for everybody, though, and it’s sad that especially in the US, maternity and paternity leave are not valued.

    • http://fcmom.blogspot.com FC Mom

      We held off visitors and spent the first week just me, my husband and the baby. We hashed out lots of little “details” (read, disagreements) about how to do things, and we got to do it without well-intentioned advice-givers hovering around. My husband brought me whatever I needed (I had pretty bad pubic symphosis pain after birth that I eventually had to do physical therapy for) as I sat nursing all day. He made all the meals, and in general was my breastfeeding partner. I sent lots of pics to family and friends to satisfy their curiosity, but I told them the first week was for just me, hubs and baby… it was a tiring week, but with just ourselves and the baby to focus on, we learned a lot in a short amount of time and were off to a great start. We went in to see the hospital LC at day 5 when I had bruised nipples- she corrected our latch- and didn’t hit another hitch after that until 5 months when baby got SUPER sick on a trip to CA and I had to rent a breast pump bc he was puking his guts out, then not eating.

      I do realize for some moms, a babymoon might be better with family included… my sister welcomed all visitors that first week, and that’s what worked for her (and that’s why I knew I did NOT want that). As long as a mom thinks ahead honestly to what she thinks will work best for her new little family, that’s what matters!

    • http://www.breastfeedingmomsunite.com Melodie

      A babymoon *Is* so important. I remember those early days fondly. People leaving food at the doorstep, eating freezer meals I’d prepared before they arrived, snuggling, sleeping, nursing, loving every second.

    • http://livingpeacefullywithchildren.wordpress.com mandy @ Living Peacefully with Children

      We also have babymoons. It’s nice for our entire family to get a chance to know the new little one. I love that my husband gets that time to bond with the new baby before heading back to work, and it gives me some help as I transition. With our first child, it was important that we not have meddling relatives over demanding to hold the baby and telling us what to do. I know some people who haven’t felt that a babymoon is as important for subsequent children, but we feel the opposite. With more children, we have even more new relationships going on, and meddling individuals just aren’t welcome during that time.

    • http://www.modestmiddles.com Amy

      I am due with baby #5 in 5 days and have been lucky enough to have a husband who is really supportive of natural child birth and nursing. I don’t know how I could do it without him. I love the idea of a babymoon. My husband can’t typically take more than a day or two off completely, but he makes every effort to be home a little early or go into work a bit later. His efforts and care have made the transition for our older children and for me easier as we welcome a new family member. His support even led me to start my own business based on my nursing experiences (www.modestmiddles.com).

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