Tag Archive | after birth care


In the spirit of my article Postpartum care and Eastern concept of “doing the month” in this article I am listing different types of care/help you can turn to during the postpartum period.

  • Partner: Talk to him. Let him know what you need from him and were he needs to take over after the baby is born.
  • Friends and family: If possible ask your family or friends to help you with cooking, cleaning and taking care of your older kids. Sometimes family can stress us out. It is important to think through who you would even ask. You don’t need extra stress, you need an understanding hand.
  • Online community can represent a great source of information and support. In Berlin there is a great Facebook group for Expats “ExpatbabiesBerlin” also “Supermamas Berlin” whose concept is to bring new mums in touch with more ‘experienced’ mums who live in the same neighborhood. Mums bring food, gift, and support to new mums. The new mums returns a favor to another new mom in the neighborhood at a later time.
  • Hebammen (midwives) offer pre and postnatal care. During the postnatal period (“Wochenbettbetreuung”), insurance will cover up to 26 visits for up to eight weeks after the birth. During these visits, she ensures that both the mother and baby are doing well. She will answer all questions regarding baby and you and will give suggestions if you will need specialized help. Here you can find the Hebamme list. In the search engine you can enter wanted area, language and type of care.
  • Familienzentren: All round Berlin there are Familienzentren. Each Zenter offers a variety of activities, support or help to young parents and families. Write to Zentren in your neighborhood to find out what they can do for you. Here you can find a list.
  • Aufsuchende Elternhilfe is meant for Families during the pregnancy and untill the child’s 1. year. The staff members of the Aufhilfe Elternhilfe provide support and health advice, social counseling, they can run errands, take care of older kids, accompany to the pediatrician and assistance in dealing with authorities. Help is free of charge. For more information turn to Kinder- und Jugendgesundheitsdienst des Gesundheitsamtes in your districts or contact organization directly, HERE.
  • Help through volunteers: Various projects, such as „Wellcome“, „Känguru“, or „Berliner Großelterndienst“ offer families help by trained volunteers. These offers are mostly free. For more information look at their webpages.
  • Home help as a health insurance benefit (“Haushaltshilfe als Leistung der Krankenkasse”): If the discomfort exceeds the normal level after birth (caesarean section, a multiple birth, premature birth, postpartum mental health issues, problems with breastfeeding) there is the possibility that your health insurance company will cover the costs of household help. You need to go to your doctor (Hausartz) and get a prescription where they state why and to what extent support is needed. You will need to pay 10% of the daily fee yourself – but not less than 5 euros and not more than 10 euros per day.
  • Paid help during pre/postnatal period: cleaner, babysitter, doula, sleep consultant, lactose consultant, pelvis floor consultant.


After the baby comes, attention shifts from you to your baby. In most cases even mom can only focus of taking care of the baby, but who is now focusing on her? It is very important that after birth you are your own number one advocate and you take good care of yourself. You don’t need anyone’s permission, that is your right. Taking great care after birth helps prevent postpartum depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. Furthermore, it helps your body to heal fully.

I heard so many times from my “after birth support system” that you are not allowed to donate blood 1 year after giving birth because birth is the same as going through a major surgery. Even if you don’t feel it, it doesn’t hurt to realize that your body is going through its own demanding processes during the pregnancy and also long after birth.

I believe many mothers don’t realize how important it is to take at least 3 months to nurture themselves after birth. I took a whole year. To me, my only job the first few months was taking care of myself and the baby. Meaning breastfeeding, being close to her and snuggling.

How to nurture yourself? Sleep, rest and eat well. Make sure that you are getting enough vitamins, minerals and amino acids through nutrition into your body. A lot of the nutrients will go through breastfeeding to the baby. You need to have enough for both of you. Seek advice from your doctor about supplementing if needed.

A wonderful concept that convinced me was so called “doing the month” (zuo yuezi) that derives from Chinese culture. While exploring this concept I figured out that a lot of eastern countries follow the similar idea. Of course, this is an old concept so some of its directions don’t apply to today’s mothers, but let me pinpoint some of the guidelines that are followed after the birth in different cultures:

  • In these cultures, the postpartum period is a time when the mother is supposed to recuperate, her activities are limited, and her (female) relatives take care of her. How long after birth this period last varies a little bit from culture to culture but mostly its lasts somewhere between 3-6 weeks, and in Korean culture up to 100 days.
    During those weeks, visitors are prohibited, and new mothers and newborns are not allowed to go out unless it is really necessary. The reason behind it is to avoid contact with a possible source of infection. Mothers are encouraged to abstain from chores, food preparation and cleaning. This time is meant for rest and being with a newborn.
  • As mentioned above, women who practice this tradition are not alone, and that lowers the anxiety and stress of motherhood. In these cultures, friends and relatives provide the family with meals and take care for other children.
  • Cold/hot concept: One common belief is the necessity of maintaining a “hot-cold balance” within the body and with the environment after the birth. Cold and wind are pathogenic factors in Chinese medicine, meaning they can trigger a disease process. In many non-Western cultures, blood is considered “hot.” During the birth women losses blood and it is considered to be in a cold state. Consequently the goal is to keep the mother warm after birth. This is achieved through various ways: food, warm environment, clothes, and baths. In China there is “no shower” rule after this period. This rule made sense in the past because there was an absence of proper shower systems and hair dryers. Back then, new mothers could have easily gotten a cold after a shower. Nowadays this doesn’t apply anymore, but some still follow this rule.
  • Food: Mothers are fed very simple but special foods and a number of herbal drinks to promote healing and recovery, boost their immunity and improve their milk supply. It is advised to eat warm and cooked foods. Cold food in Chinese medicine means that food has a cold (or hot) characteristic and not that is physically cold. For the list of cold foods according to Chinese medicine look here.
  • Pampering during this time is also very important. In India mothers are given massages with warm oils daily.

The most common underlying theme throughout this concept is protecting the mother and newborn from exposure to pathogens and extra stress. This may quicken recovery time, potentially preventing postpartum mental health issues and other health problems, while promoting healthy milk production and a healthy immune system for both the mama and baby. If this concept felt close to you try to apply it as much as possible after your birth. You can also read the article “Where to find extra help in Berlin, Germany” HERE.