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The Fourth Trimester is not just a stage. It’s a transformation—when mothers’ bodies are recovering, babies are adjusting to the outside world, the whole family is getting acclimated to the new addition and more monumental changes occur. During this critical period of time, postpartum support can help set moms, babies and families up for success in the months and even years to come.
Elsewhere in the world, it’s the norm for women and their babies to spend 30 to 40 days resting following birth. During this time, the new mamas are surrounded by friends, family and community members who help nourish them, take care of household tasks and help them recover.
Contrast that to common care practices in the United States, where many moms go back to work within weeks and often don’t see their own healthcare provider until six weeks postpartum. We are very due for a change to postnatal care standards—like the new model Boram offers with postnatal retreats for moms and their newborns, the first of which is opening this May in New York City.
Situated within the 5-star The Langham New York Hotel on Fifth Avenue, Boram has 16 rooms designed specifically for new parents and their babies to enjoy during the days after birth. Along with the well-appointed rooms, Boram provides nourishing, balanced meals crafted to help moms recover from childbirth, trained care teams to help look after babies and a gathering space for new moms to find a sense of community.
Although Boram’s model may sound novel, it’s built on proven postpartum care principles that have been embraced by cultures around the world for centuries and are still common today—like in founder Boram Nam’s ancestral Korea. After her own arduous, two-year recovery from a Cesarean birth in America, Boram sought to bridge the gap between hospital and home for other moms by creating a retreat-style experience focused on caring for them. Even the name Boram, which means “fruits of one’s labor” in Korean, was a natural fit!
Even if a stay at Boram’s first New York retreat can’t be part of your postnatal care plan, there are many lessons to be gleaned from what they offer. Here are eight ways that postpartum support benefits moms and babies.
Limiting fatigue lessens the chance of postpartum depression
As research shows, exhaustion is one of the biggest risk factors for postpartum depression (PPD). According to a study published in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing, “Fatigue by Day 14 postpartum was the most predictive variable for symptoms of PPD on Day 28.”
When there are other people who are able to help with tasks like diapering, bathing and looking after the baby while the mother gets rest, she can recover and focus her energy on enjoying precious moments with her baby that only she can provide. To help facilitate uninterrupted sleep, Boram offers a professionally staffed Baby Room, open around the clock, where baby is cared for while mom gets some much-needed rest.
Early support improves breastfeeding outcomes
There can be a steep learning curve with breastfeeding—for both mothers and babies. According to research, breastfeeding outcomes are significantly better when nursing moms receive resources and guidance while establishing breastfeeding. By having access to postpartum doulas, lactation consultants and the right tools to help support breastfeeding goals, mamas can address complications early on and build their confidence.
Balanced meals can help with emotional and physical recovery
Although much of the emphasis is on feeding babies during the first weeks, mothers require balanced, nourishing meals, too. While recovering from childbirth and breastfeeding, there are unique demands on the body that need to be met with enough calories as well as the right kinds of vitamins and minerals. In many cultures, new moms are given traditional meals to help with lactation, emotional support and physical recovery.
Building community bridges the gap during this life transition
There’s no denying that becoming a parent is a big identity shift. Connecting with, learning from and supporting other parents who are going through the same transition can help ward off feelings of loneliness, anxiety and more. Boram not only creates space for new moms to gather while they are at the retreat, but they also promote developing a “village” through postpartum classes, meet-ups and more. Although offerings differ elsewhere, it’s very much worthwhile to research local mom groups to get involved with during the postpartum period.
Mothers' physical health affects their children
According to the Journal of Perinatal Education, “Women’s health after delivery is the most important factor affecting the health of their children.” Yet, women’s health is often put on the backburner after the baby is born. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists now recommend “postpartum care should become an ongoing process, rather than a single encounter, with services and support tailored to each woman’s individual needs” that begins within the first three weeks postpartum.
Newborn care education reduces anxiety
During the postpartum period, both moms and babies are adjusting. By having a trusted support system around to help look after the baby, moms can focus on resting and bonding. Especially for first-time parents, you might not know what you need to learn while caring for a baby. So, having people around who can offer loving guidance can help reduce stress and boost confidence.
Postpartum support gives moms reassurance and confidence for what is ahead
The Fourth Trimester is just the first step in a long, beautiful journey. By starting it off on the right foot, however, you can set yourself and your family up for success in the days, months and years to come.