Nesting – Part of a Movement for Change

Two blue jays built a nest in my lemon tree early in the spring, and I had patiently kept my distance as they diligently tended their young over the past months. As it turned officially summer this weekend, I decided it was time to get the ladder out and take a closer look at their handicraft.

The outer layer of the nest was made of hundreds of of twigs about ⅛ to 1/4 inch in diameter.  The liner was comprised of thousands of long strands of fine grass along with threads from my sewing in the yard, pressed into a 1-inch thick mat until it mirrored perfectly the shape of the mother bird’s breast — all part of Mother Nature’s plan for survival of the species, and encoded in their DNA.

There is a saying among architects; “the only thing man cannot build is a bird’s nest’.

From the very onset of our awareness, we are all born into a nest that shapes how we experience our world.

The interplay between the human newborn and the outer world has a profound affect on how easy or difficult the first days, weeks and months of life are.

If it is a hostile, cold or unresponsive environment the baby is hard-wired for either fight or flight. Neither is good.

If it is a warm, welcoming, nurturing and responsive environment, the baby will find its natural rhythms of waking, feeding, sleeping and exploring the world around it.

  

Mothers throughout history mothers have known this, and in every culture women have created ‘nests’ — finding different ways to attach their babies to their bodies to ensure that they have the intimacy, warmth and nurturing they need to survive and thrive during the first months of life.

It has only been in the last hundred years, and predominantly in Western cultures, that the idea that the ‘place’ for infants was in a crib or baby carriage, became the norm. This shift came at the same time that commercial formula became popular, and it became prescribed practice that your newborn should sleep through the night or be left to ‘cry it out’.

It is only, thanks to recent research, that these mores were not only found to be wrong, but harmful.

Part of my motivation in creating Nesting Days Newborn Carrier was to become part of a movement for changing how we welcome the newborn into the world, and to give voice to the innate knowledge that resides in our species, to nest and nurture –  during the Nesting Days.

Your Chief Mother Officer,

Julie

Happy Father’s Day!

Today is Father’s Day, and my husband and I are enjoying a weekend at our cabin in the Sierra Foothills, taking a break from city-life in San Francisco, and getting some much needed R&R…at least that was the plan.

I spent most of Saturday writing a script for a video for Nesting Days, and suddenly realized that I hadn’t taken the time to slow down and enjoy how special this day is.

I am a very lucky woman. I’ve been married to a wonderful man for over 40 years, and we’ve been through many ups and downs together.

We took one day at a time, and today, I’m going to end this blog to spend the rest of the day enjoying him.

I hope you all have a wonderful Father’s Day and do the same!

Julie, Your Chief Mother Officer

The Merger Poem by Judy Chicago

This beautiful and hopeful poem has always touched my heart.

I hope you will take time to read it — really read it — and let it touch yours.

xo, Julie

And then all that has divided us will merge.

And then compassion will be wedded to power

And then softness will come to a world that is harsh and unkind.

And then both men and women will be gentle.

And then both women and men will be strong.

And then no person will be subject to another’s will.

And then all will be rich and free and varied.

And then the greed of some will give way to the needs of many.

And then all will share equally in the earth’s abundance.

And then all will care for the sick and the weak and the old.

And then all will nourish the young.

And then all will cherish life’s creatures.

And then all will live in harmony with each other and the earth.

And then everywhere will be called Eden once again.

Judy Chicago

The Human Nest: Creating an infant-mother friendly environment

Humans are an altricial species, which simply means when we are born we are helpless and require almost constant care.

Here are the biological facts about the newborn:

  • Newborns need to be fed often and on-demand on high-calorie, low-fat milk which is digested quickly to support the rapid rate of development after birth that requires a lot of energy.
  • Newborns are born with well-developed senses and rely on smell, taste, hearing, touch and even sight as a means of survival.
  • Newborns are born with an underdeveloped physiological system and have difficulty regulating body temperature, breathing and controlling heart rate.
  • Newborns can’t cling to a caregiver, and so rely on being carried to stay close.

In other words, the human infant is totally dependent on their caregiver to keep them close, to provide warmth and protection, to ensure frequent access to maternal milk, and to help regulate aspects of their physiology.

Given these facts, it is no wonder new mothers and caregivers of newborns are exhausted.

As a postpartum doula, my role is to help relieve some of the burden on the primary caretaker, which was the same goal I assigned for myself as the creator of Nesting Days. As a doula and an inventor, I was also committed to honoring the biological needs of the infant and also to nurturing the new mother.

The result is a garment for the new mother that:

  • gives her gentle postpartum support; is comfortable and attractive
  • safely ‘nests’ her baby in a ergonomically safe position
  • allows them to enjoy hours of skin-to-skin contact
  • helps to control her baby’s temperature, respiration and heartbeat
  • soothes baby’s senses with familiar smells, sounds, and tastes
  • provides easy breastfeeding
  • and is hands-free

Coming soon!

Julie, Your Chief Mother Officer