Hi! First of all, Happy Monday! Second, thank you so much to all of you for reading my last blog post ❤️ It has been by far my most read blog. I truly am so happy that you took the time to read it. I am going to follow that blog by sharing my postpartum journey that I’ve followed after delivery is, known as La Cuarentena. First, I want to say my inspiration for following the Traditional Mexican Cuarentena has always been my mom. my grandmothers, and my great grandmothers. I know we joke around how Hispanic moms use Vaporub on us for everything when we are sick, how they say a caldito de pollo cures a cold (chicken noodle soup) and how they say don’t leave the house when you have wet hair, or you will get sick. In all seriousness, though, those same things that they swear by are wisdom that has been passed down for generations for a reason. I hope to share this because I would love for other moms to learn more about a wonderful tradition I have strictly followed for all 3 of my pregnancies, I will follow in my future ones, and I will ask my daughters to follow in their future as well. Like I have said in my previous post, this is my postpartum journey and only mine. I am sharing what I am passionate about. I understand this is not for everyone, and it is ok ❤️
What is a Cuarentena?
La Cuarentena is a postpartum tradition originating from Mexico. It has been followed for centuries. To this day, woman (younger and older) still follow it. La Cuarentena is a 40 day period following a woman giving birth in which mothers follow certain restrictions, diets and make lifestyle changes in exchange for faster healing and recovery and lifelong benefits. La Cuarentena is taken very seriously by my abuelitas, my mom and myself included. The benefits for doing this make it all worth it in my opinion. I myself can swear by it because of my own personal experience the 3 times I have followed it. Look, if you saw both my abuelitas to this day after birthing 10 kids you would be blown away at their energy and physical strength. They have more strength than people my age! Up until 2 years ago, my dads’ mom was still running around her ranchito cleaning, cooking and chasing her animals. My mom’s mom still currently is running all over her little pueblito with not a bone in her body aching! My wish is to have the same energy and strength at their age! In Cuarentena, a woman does not leave the house for the full 40 day period. We do not clean; we do not cook meals and we do not move heavy objects. Our main focus is bonding with our baby, breastfeeding and taking that time to heal our bodies properly. We also follow a balanced diet, we get help with meals, other children and from the moment we leave the hospital we wear a faja (a girdle).
During the Cuarentena, one of the rules is that new mothers should not be cooking. That time must be spent resting with our babies. We also are not to eat spicy foods that can upset our stomach or our babies. We try not to drink too much caffeinted drinks or coffee. I am very lucky as that my mom and mother in law will take turns cooking us homemade meals. Drop offs are usualy done by my dad or father-in-law or picked up by Damian. The food for myself usually consists of arroz con leche, or oatmeal for the mornings, caldos or sopita for lunch and some arroz con pollo for dinner. Both my mom and my mother in-law rotate who is brining me what meal and will bring other meals that the rest of the family can have. Damian will cook on some days as he stays home the first weeks to help out with the new baby and myself. The reason that a mother should have oatmeal or arroz con leche or atole in the mornings and throughout the day is to boost milk supply to feed baby. When I did my first Cuarentena at 19, I would get easily bored of eating soft foods and having to limit what I could and could not eat. I am not going to lie; I just wanted a pepperoni pizza with jalapenos. The times I did have a bite of what I shouldn’t have, my stomach or my babies would suffer the consequences of that choice. Now, I have my mom to thank for encouraging me to eat healthier during that my Cuarentenas. In my second Cuerentena, my third one and to this day, I think of this time as a way to thank my body. I want to nourish it and make sure it has all the right ingredients it needs to pass on to my newborn baby. My mom has always talked a lot about how following a diet like this would help your body recover and help you feel back to normal in a much faster time. Physically, my body does not go back to feeling “normal” until after a year of giving birth, but I do think that I have been able to easily lose the weight and get my shape back without much effort thanks to the nutritional diets followed in the Cuarentena.
Fajas go way back in time and I think we always think of them as a way to slim and shape our bodies, but they are also so good for postpartum recovery. I swear by them and so does my uterus. Since I had my first birth, I have always left the hospital with a faja ( a girdle) . I try to wear it every single day until the 40 days are over and I should probably wear it longer, but I am lazy. I wear a faja because my body needs help keeping holding everything together to what it was before I got pregnant. My abuelitas wore one and they stayed the same size even after all the kids they had. I like that it speeds up the process of your body going back to what it was pre-pregnancy. Our uterus grows from the size of a lemon to the size of a watermelon during pregnancy! It also helps with my posture, and it just makes me feel good. I also do the whole wear socks, cover your head with a hoodie and wear loose clothes when you leave the hospital thing. My mom says, “Para que no te de aire”.
My favorite part of la cuarentena is this! Resting ❤️ My life is always so busy and I always seem to be on the go that I really do cherish this time when I am to be home for 40 full days! The only day I do leave is for the newborn checkup after he is born but I don’t drive to that appointment, and I come right back home. I really do love it. For 40 days, I am in my mom glory. I am in heaven. I get to stay home, I don’t have to worry about fitting in to my clothes to leave the house, I don’t have to worry about going anywhere, I don’t worry about leaking breasts when out and about, I don’t worry about baby getting sick out. I literally get to cuddle my newborn 24.7. I also LOVE breast feeding. Huge Cuarentena perk. Breastfeeding is so wonderful. I love smelling, holding, kissing my newborn all day long. I love the feeling of just holding your baby while they eat and fall asleep in your arms. Damian, my parents and my in laws all communicate to see who will help me with drop offs, pickups, it’s a whole family team effort to make a Cuarentena successful. I am truly so grateful to my parents, my in-laws, to Damian for encouraging me from my first Cuarentena to helping my 3rd one be a successful one. We also limit our visitors during this time as well so that we can enjoy as much family time as possible and catch up on needed time. I have spent hours holding my baby or watching him sleep on my bed. Appreciating this downtime was hard the first time around, time went by so slow. but at my second cuarentena, I was ready to indulge in all those snuggles. I am ready for my 4th Cuarentena actually. LOL
Ok, maybe you’ll like be shocked or mom judge me for this. But I put my babies in my bed as soon as they come home from the hospital. We used a crib for our first born. That crib turned in to a clothes hamper which turned into a storage pile. It was never used. Since our second baby, the first few days we have used a Dock a Tot and I sleep with a hand on their chest because I am crazy and I need to feel them breathing at all times. In fact, my kids have all slept in our bed until they are at least 4 LOL. Yes, they had their own room, own beds but just loved ours so much more. Julieta was 5 when she finally started using her room other than for playing in. Yes, Damian sleeps on one side of the bed when they are born, newborn in middle, me on other side. It works out for us perfectly and co sleeping with our newborn babies is just so comforting to me. I just couldn’t see my anxiety letting me sleep otherwise.
Damian and I had our first baby when I was 19 and he was 25. I was very young, yet I always knew I wanted to follow any advice/ traditions my mom or mother-in-law had to give me in regard to birth or postpartum since I really had no idea how the whole experience would be. My mom didn’t sit me down and tell me this is how a Cuarentena will be. I learned it day to day with her by doing what she told me, eating what she served me.. I saw the changes in my body, I saw the way everything started to come back together, and I liked the way I was emotionally feeling myself again. Successfully completing a Cuarentena is HARD too, I’m not going to say its always perfect. You really do need the support of your whole family and it is mentally hard. It is lonely when no one is home. Staying home for 40 days is hard. I mean, you are able to be in your backyard and get some sun but other than that you don’t leave. I know it hasn’t been “medically” proven that going through a Cuarentena makes a difference on our physical healing or future older aged bodies or even future pregnancies, but I truly believe that completing my own Cuarentenas have helped my future deliveries and postpartum periods become smoother and easier for myself. I also feel like my body has become stronger in a way. It truly feels like my body has appreciated what I have done for it during that time, and I can feel it. ❤️ I’ve got one more pregnancy to go ( Maybe 2), and I’m looking forward to many more wonderful cuarentenas ❤️
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