Like Totally Mammalian

Like Totally Mammalian

Fancy hypnosis program?  Check.  Belly-buds so the baby inside can listen to classical music?  Check.  Organic mattress?  Check.  Prenatal acupuncture? Check.  Shutterfly book ready to go? Check.  Baby shower? Check.  Contraction app downloaded?  Check.  In the land of hi-tech gadgetry, it's easy to forget the mammal within.  Birth is a primal experience, and getting in touch with your inner mammal will help you with your birth and introduction into parenthood.

A Mammal Mom Prepares For Her Birth
When mama-cat is ready to birth, she makes sure that she knows where to find a quiet space where she feels safe.  She cleans the area.  She spends time there making sure that the area is protected.  Take classes and prepare your mental and physical birthing space.  Even if you plan on a hospital birth (as most women today do), assume that you'll be home for a day (or week) during early labor.  Plan for stuff to do.

A Mammal Mom Gets Help When She Needs It
Mammals have a long tradition of female assisted childbirth.  Other females in the herd, pack, pod, or pride often assist the birthing mom by offering moral support, creating a space safe from predators, or bringing food to share.  Bring in a doula, a post-partum doula, your mother, you auntie, or friend and ask for the support you need.  Have food delivered.  Ask someone to do dishes.  Get a massage, mani-pedi, or take a yoga class. 

A Mammal Mom Uses Her Nose
Breathe deeply. The top of your newborn's head smells like none other, and it changes with you.  No, it's not just eau-du-armpit, it's a complex mix of what you eat, what you feed your baby, the healthy bacteria that grows in your house and on your person, the soaps you use, and babe's own special scent.  When you walk into your baby's room, use your nose.  One deep nasal inhalation will tell you if your child's bed is wet or diaper needs to be changed.  Learn to trust your nose, it won't let you down.

A Mammal Mom Nurses Her Young
It's so primal.  To feed your young from your body. You know the benefits- - and inexpensive tool in your mommy guide book.  Yeah, yeah. Healthier for babies.  Smarter kids.  Bla, bla, bla.  It's also an excellent way to burn calories that your body has so thoughtfully stored away on your body.  It's exercising without the effort.  And that's a good thing, because nursing is exhausting.   It's also a powerful tool in your comforting arsenal. Don't forget to drink lots of water. A good rule of thumb is to drink a glass with each feeding.  It takes a lot of water to make milk, so the easiest way to maintain a healthy milk production over the upcoming months (and years) is to stay hydrated.

A Mammal Mom Takes Time For Herself
If you're really going to keep the kid alive-'till-five, you're going to have to find a way to protect your own alone time.  It's part of relying on your support structure.  Getting your nails done gives your child the wonderful opportunity to learn that other adults can also be a source of love and support.  Really, do it for your child.

A Mammal Mom Eats Her Placenta
WHAT???  Totally.  But of course, we have Trader Joes and electric stove tops.  Still, the placenta may offer health benefits to mom and baby.  The science is still coming in on this one, but there are anecdotal stories of improved milk supply and decreased postpartum depressing. Check out a placenta encapsulator near you (honest, people really do this).  And if you don't, pay attention to your diet. This is not the time to cut calories.  Meet with a nutritionist that specializes in pregnancy and postpartum to make sure that you are properly nourished.  Eating healthy keeps you healthy. 

Mammal Moms Leave When They Are Uncomfortable
This can mean leaving the room during Birth Horror Story Hour, changing OBs who are not supportive, changing hospitals to one that makes you feel stronger, transferring from a homebirth when your gut tells you to, or changing childcare providers even when it's inconvenient. The birth and motherhood is about YOU.  A strong, confident and empowered you will make for a strong, confident and empowered birth.

Comments Please!  Do you have another mammal suggestion that should be included here?

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Chelsea (Shure) Lientz More Articles By This Author

Chelsea (Shure) Lientz, CD(DONA) is birth writer and doula. Her musings can be found at  

She is an activist with the International Cesarean Awareness Network of Los Angeles (  She believe that a doula supported birth can enhance and empower a birth experience.  If you are looking for a doula to attend your birth or support you postpartum, contact


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