Rebirthing

Why do a Rebirthing?


Rebirthing is most helpful when

  1. Birth was physically and/or emotionally traumatic for mother and/or baby.
  2. The initiation of breastfeeding between mother and adopted baby.
  3. There are breastfeeding problems due to:
  •     Separation of mother and baby
  •     Violation of the baby's mouth early on
  •     Issues of oral anatomy, like tongue tie, that have freshly been fixed
  •     A baby with an aversion to the breast for any reason, known or unknown
  •     A baby with nipple preference from bottle, pacifier, or nipple shield

This works as a reset, a start over for most babies. It tends to be wonderfully healing for both mother and baby. The younger the baby, the more likely this is to be able to be done. Even if there is cord stump left, a single wetting of the cord should not cause a problem. The basic technique (one of many ways to do it) is below, but feel free to use any (safe) variation on this method that better suits you, your baby, or what you have at hand.

The Technique:

Run a bath that is quite warm. Ideally it will be about body temperature. If you use your thermometer, you can just measure the water with it. Look for about 99 degrees.
 
Get in the tub, then have the baby handed to you. It helps if it's been about an hour since he ate well. You want a little room in his belly, but not to be hungry. Babies are born interested in sucking, but not usually feeling true hunger. Ideally, he'll be in quiet alert stage just before this, though this should put him there anyway.
 
Lower him into the water slowly until you can hold him with your hands only supporting his head. Get his ears under, but keep his face out. The easiest way to make sure of this is to have one hand under the back of his head and one hand across his forehead. Babies usually thrash about a good bit for a few seconds and then just relax into floating. Your goal is to get to where he is floating peacefully, with only his head supported. Then...
 
Have the lights shut off, or turned down a lot with the shower curtain closed -as dark as you're comfortable having it. The idea is recreating the womb. Just make sure your hands are in a position that insures his face does not go under (hence the hand across the forehead). Common sense and all that...
 
Talk to him. Talk about his birth. Talk about breastfeeding. Just pour your heart out about what you two have been through together and where you're going to go from here. When you're done...
 
Have the lights turned back on at the same time that you pull him gently out of the water. Bring him straight to your chest, skin to skin. Put a towel over him (you can even preheat the towel with a heating pad) and keep him warm. Let him root around and move down to the breast with minimal help (ala laid back breastfeeding: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6pMrqY9nPM).
 
After a while, hand him out, climb out, and spend a day in bed skin to skin like he was just born. He in just a diaper, you topless. Let him nurse or play at the breast or whatever he feels like doing during that time. Unrestricted access to the breast. While it's important to be sure his needs are met, avoid artificial nipples during this time. The idea is that this is a reset and a restart. It often works surprisingly well.