New Moms and that all important Rocking Chairtweet
The rocking chair is that timeless piece of furniture found in so many homes in the USA and elsewhere. While rocking chairs will usually conjure up an image of a couple of elderly people rocking gently on their porch or a young mother rocking her baby to sleep, you might not be aware of the tremendous health benefits gained from rocking.
This post concentrates on those benefits for the new mother and her child. Rocking is very healthy for both:
- We are all familiar with the idea of rocking a baby to calm and help them off to sleep but research has also found that the rocking of babies by their mothers is crucial in the bonding process between them both. So mothers and newborns will bond better when spending time rocking together.
- A rocking chair is helpful and beneficial during the different stages of pregnancy too as rocking regularly for a few minutes or longer at a time helps in the development of the nervous system of the fetus while soothing or even preventing back pain in the mother-to-be.
- In addition, new moms and adopted babies will also benefit from this practice. Dr. Wendy Hanevold who is a therapist in the Atlanta, GA area, and also an adoptive parent of two (through international adoption), encourages rocking in a rocking chair towards fostering positive attachment with parents and adopted children. Dr. Hanevold says: “Rocking is marvelous – it has smell, touch, sound and kinesthetic approaches that combine to reward both parties.”
- Studies have shown that new mothers who rock their babies in a rocking chair for an hour a day recover faster after a C-section delivery, reporting less gas pain after surgery, the ability to walk faster and if they have rocked in the hospital itself, they will spend less days in the hospital than those who have not. Rocking offers post operative relief from any acute, painful medical procedure.
- Varicose Veins can benefit from rocking as it stimulates circulation and improves muscle tone, helping prevent and and even treat varicose veins. Pregnant women may find rocking chairs especially beneficial because the chairs provide back support and often have matching stools that let the mom-to-be put her feet up and reduce swelling.
- More good news for new moms is that rocking burns about 150 calories an hour, helping mothers recover more rapidly from the experience of childbirth and even leading to weight loss.
- In newborn babies, rocking has been found to reduce crying and assessed as a beneficial comforting method for pain – especially those who suffer from colic – while improving the regulation of breathing in both premature and full term babies. Rocking soothes fussy babies and relaxes mothers but it also stimulates the balance mechanism of the inner ear, helping an infant’s biological development and his or her ability to be alert and attentive.
In the womb, babies are lulled to sleep by the natural movement of their mother’s body but after delivery, rocking chairs re-create some of this natural movement and help newborns to relax. According to T. Farrimond of the University of Waikato, New Zealand, this can reduce the odds of apnea and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). “Some infants seem to be born with a degree of respiratory centre immaturity which in combination with other problems such as illness, head colds, exposure to cold, air or smoke, may result in cessation of breathing. Vestibular stimulation by rocking has been shown to be beneficial for premature babies in reducing apnea. There also appear to be other benefits, resulting in more rapid maturation of the nerve cells of the cerebellum which is still developing during the first six months of life. The suggestion is made that crib deaths may be reduced by the use of automatically rocking cribs, particularly during the night when most deaths occur.”
We have had a rocking chair in our home for decades – it is a mid century Swedish wooden rocking chair that I gave to my husband for his 21st birthday before we were married. I found it invaluable when feeding and nursing my babies but was unaware of just how beneficial at the time. It was moved into the nursery for every new baby.