This is one of my most cherished pieces of advice that I pass along to new families. It came to me from the Mothering wisdom and instincts of my Sister. She has 3 beautiful girls and had the bulk of her parenting experiences before my own. I called her one mid-afternoon, distressed, and without anymore “tools” to use at the time to help my newborn. Baby was clean, fed, warm, cuddled, boob, more boob…what else could he need!?
“Put the baby in a tub of warm water.” I heard her say over my stressed-out infant (and my sniffles). With bodies comprised of about 50% water (as adults), it makes sense to trust and utilize this essential element during pregnancy, birth, and in life. When she said it, I nearly felt silly for not considering such a simple soothing solution…we take baths when we are dirty, right? Even the process of preparing, and running the water was comforting for us both. I dimmed the lights, put on some calming music and closed the door for a warmer room. It wasn’t long after our mid-afternoon spa session that we were both tucked up nice & cozy, nursing to nap.
Did you know that newborns are actually made up of even more water than adults? They average 78% bodily water, which then reduces to about 60% after their first year of life. Our babies are literally developed in water – and birthing them through it has proven to be safe, helpful and consistently used historically. Check out this Evidence Based Birth Resource outlining and explaining the evidence surrounding water birth to learn even more!
Often during Lamaze, we talk about self -care and I hope that these families take these tools into their future lives – not just for their birth or for baby. Postpartum moods can be improved with a simple hot soak. Even today, it is a practice that I use for myself when life on Earth has become heavy; I put ME into water, lighting the candles and using the good soaps. Slowing down the pace of our lives and returning to where we started seems to be something of a “reset” button for us physiologically. It purely makes sense…during all stages of our existence, especially during labor, birth, postpartum, and for our babies.