I talk a lot about mothermoons and why they matter to a mum, but what I haven't talked about as much is why they matter to your baby.
The first three months after your baby is born is often called the fourth trimester and is thought of as the last stage of a baby's fetal development. Unlike other animals, our babies are completely reliant on us as their parents for meeting all of their needs when they are born in order to survive.
Their home in your womb is a warm, dark, cozy place. It's familiar because it's the only home they've known. They don't have to signal to have their needs met - your body automatically gives them nourishment and oxygen. They begin to recognise the sound of your voice and your heartbeat as familiar sounds that will be comforting.
And then your baby is born.
Suddenly the temperature changes, there are brighter lights and they can stretch and move their arms and legs. They are no longer always connected and being held by you. They must learn to breath on their own and let you know when they are hungry or tired or hot or cold or scared or need a nappy change.
There are strange noises and new smells. But they hear your voice and your heartbeat and recognise your smell and begin to realise that you are there and they are safe and loved.
A Mothermoon can help to recreate some of what life was like in your womb and ease your baby's transition from womb to world. Spending time together in a calm, quiet environment, with limited visitors and few distractions and lots of time spent skin to skin where you can focus on getting to know this little person and bonding with them can help them feel safe, secure and more settled.
Another way a mothermoon is beneficial is for how it can help with breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is a supply and demand system. The more you put a baby to the boob and give them the opportunity to feed, the more you are signalling to your body to produce milk for your baby and stimulating your milk supply, building it up to be able to meet your baby's needs.
Oxytocin also plays an important part in this process. When your baby latches on and starts to feed, your body triggers your brain to release oxytocin. The oxytocin then triggers what's referred to as the 'let-down' reflex which causes your milk to start flowing out of breast and into your baby to nourish them.
Oxytocin, also know as the love or cuddle hormone, likes an environment that is calm and relaxed. Oxytocin and your milk will flow more freely if you're feeling relaxed and chilled out. That's a lot easier to achieve at home in a quiet relaxed space with all your creature comforts to hand - snacks, biscuits, drinks, box sets, than it is in a busy cafe or in a room full of visitors, particularly if you're self-conscious about feeding in public or being exposed or are having any kind of breastfeeding challenges.
Lots of time spent mothermooning, being connected, watching and learning their cues and cuddling skin to skin can help to establish and build your milk supply.
A mothermoon also helps you build a bond with your baby.
Bonding is about your connection to your baby. It influences how you respond to your baby and the love and attention you give them. For some people this comes quickly and naturally and for others it can take time.
You bond with your baby also stimulates endorphins in you which can help you get through the tough times. Endorphins are the reason that when your baby has woken every hour during the night and you're on your knees with exhaustion but then they smile at you and all is forgiven, you're filled with joy.
Attachment is all about your baby's connection to you. How you respond to your baby and love and attention you give them helps them to develop an attachment to you. It helps them to feel safe and secure and teaches them that they can trust you to love and look after them.
Having a mothermoon is one of the best things you can give your baby in their fourth trimester and helps them adjust to life outside of your womb, helps get breastfeeding off to good start and helps to build a loving bond with your baby.
A mothermoon isn't just about giving yourself the start to motherhood you deserve, but also giving your baby the start that they deserve too!