baby, birth, breastfeeding, motherhood, postpartum

The amazing benefits of Skin-to-skin: Investing in your long-term wellbeing

There is nothing more beautiful than holding your bare baby against your skin in the magical moments after birth.

For some years now, the practice skin-to-skin contact, immediately or as soon as possible after birth, has been found to be beneficial to both mum and baby.

Newborn skin to skin

However, here in Portugal, it is still common practice for the pediatrician to take the baby away for medical checks in the first crucial minutes  or hours after birth. Here, I am going to explain why asserting your right to spend the first hour of life skin-to-skin with your baby is an investment in the long-term health and wellbeing of both of you.

You may want to discuss your preferences with your caregivers during your prenatal appointments so that they know how important it is to you that you have an uninterrupted hour of skin-to-skin time immediately after birth. Your partner, doula or birth companion will need to assert your wish to have this skin-to-skin period at the birth when you, the mother, may not feel like speaking up.

Skin-to-skin, or Kangaroo Care (KC) as it is known specifically when the baby is in an upright chest-to-chest position with the parent, is not just something nice to do with your newborn. There are many important and tangible health benefits for both mother and baby.

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our work

What is a doula anyway?

Although the word ‘doula’ dates back to Ancient Greece, it is relatively new to the English and Portuguese language, but what does it actually mean?

Below is a (not exhaustive) list of some of the aspects of the role of a doula in this day and age, which I recently wrote for the Uma Mãe Nasceu website…

Doula is a word of Greek origin meaning servant or handmaiden. It has become the term used for someone who takes care of a woman during labour and birth and in the early days and weeks with a new baby.

These days, when we live in less close-knit communities than in the past, women are often choosing to hire someone to fulfill the role of a birth companion that might once have been taken by a grandmother, aunt or other experienced woman in the community.

doula-hug

Reassuring presence
A doula is often, but not always, a woman. She will have a positive perspective on birth and mothering either through her own experiences or by attending other women. Her role is to provide emotional and practical support to a mother, her partner and family throughout pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. Continue reading “What is a doula anyway?”

motherhood, our work, postpartum

‘Closing the Bones’ – Every mother’s birthright

My first experience of having my ‘bones closed‘ after the birth of my daughter was with Rocio, a shaman, healer and ethnobotanist from Ecuador, who touched my body and could feel straight away how my energy was both blocked and leaking out of me. It is a bit of blur what followed but suffice to say I felt quite different when I left the clinic that day after having been jiggled and massaged by Rocio’s warm healing hands. Some years later, as a doula, I heard about a technique called ‘Closing the Bones’ being taught by two doulas, Maddie and Sophie. At the time I didn’t realise it was the same technique that Rocio had given to me, but I felt drawn to the idea of closing the body after birth so decided to learn in order to offer it to birth clients postpartum.

It turned out that Maddie and Sophie had been trained by Rocio to pass on the techniques. During the workshop I had a profound experience with the woman I was working with. As she rocked my pelvis with a rebozo in a technique called sifting, I felt held and nurtured. I went back to a memory of myself in my own mother’s womb; energy started to flow throughout my body and I experienced something similar to a full body orgasm. I wasn’t able to formulate any words for several minutes after. It felt like my whole body had been bathed in a healing light. I continued to experience the effects of what we had experientially learnt during that workshop for several days. One of the most poignant realisations was of feeling like I had come back home to myself. I felt centred and complete, which meant that I was able to be with my daughter in a completely different way.

Continue reading “‘Closing the Bones’ – Every mother’s birthright”