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Postpartum Needs: Loving Touch Matters

One of my favourite workshops I attended as a doula so far was led by Well Mother Toronto (Justine Sipprell) which was about Postnatal Touch (see their page here) . We learned some amazing healing holds and touches that take inspiration from shiatsu massage (although this is not Shiatsu of course because of course you have to be trained in that!)
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This workshop changed how I see the postpartum support I provide my clients. I now include these rituals and practices when possible or teach them to support people virtually when needed (check out my virtual package options here).

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During pregnancy and birth there may be a lot of cold, harsh touch happening, touch with a purpose to “get” something (information, image of baby, blood, blood pressure, heart rate of baby etc.)
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It is also a time of great physical journeying and changes, that happen in a relatively short period of time. After all those changes, in the postpartum period, the organs are now working to get back to normal positioning, the person’s blood and fluid volume is looking to come back down to normal, hormones are readjusting again etc. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
For these reasons, many cultures incorporate some kind of bodywork into the postpartum period. And for this reason, loving touch is also considered a universal need for postpartum in The Fourth Trimester by Kimberly Ann Johnson.
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To provide some international examples, in Mexico birthing people are guided through a closing of the bones ceremony. In Korea a new birthing parent gets a massage every day for the first 40 days postpartum.

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Think about what would fit into your postpartum plan that is manageable and that feels good to you. There is no one sides fits all with this (or with anything).
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Especially during times like now, where many of us are lacking physical contact of any kind, this can be one self-care strategy to be intentional about!

Some things that you can do to incorporate loving touch into your life now:

  • Hand massage or full body massage by a partner or loved one
  • lotion your body
  • Self face massage (you can find some really great videos online)
  • Cuddle with your baby or a pet (sometimes it’s nice to have a cuddle with someone else as well, even though your baby is a great cuddle buddy !)
  • A bath (I think water is a great caress on the body)
  • get a professional massage
  • skin-to-skin with your partner
  • dance! (it isn’t exactly touch, but its a great way to sink into your body and connect)

How are you finding ways to incorporate loving touch during your postpartum period? Tell us below !

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