This Retreat for New Moms and Their Babies Made All The Difference In My 4th Trimester

April 11-17 is Black Maternal Health Week. Be informed. Be your best advocate. – Team Lifestyle

The Black Maternal Health crisis in the United States is all too well documented, with Black women of all socioeconomic backgrounds facing harrowing odds before, during, and after giving birth due to a mix of racialized medical negligence and a lack of resources in many of our communities. 

With that knowledge, first-time motherhood can be a nerve-wracking time for a Black woman. After remaining a diligent self-advocate through 40 weeks of physician visits, sonograms, and birth-planning and on high alert in the days before and after baby’s transition out of the womb, many may believe the work is done. But the early weeks and months after baby’s arrival, often known as the fourth trimester, can be an even more critical time in a family’s reproductive health.

I became a first-time mom myself just last August. Through my joyful excitement during months of physical expansion, fetal milestones, and prenatal planning, I was still keenly aware of the challenges ahead once baby arrived. I already had the support of my fiancé and my mother – a registered nurse herself – squared away for the months leading up to my baby’s birthday and acting as my advocates in the hospital. Still, my fiancé and I were interested in additional support as we transitioned from a couple to a family of three.

This Retreat for New Moms and Their Babies Made All The Difference In My 4th Trimester

Luckily, we had the opportunity to try Boram Postnatal Retreat, a care facility revolutionizing after-birth care in the United States. Located inside the Thompson Central Park Hotel, the facility features ten suites in a private wing for moms, partners, and newborns to stay for three, five, or seven days after labor and delivery, with options for specialized longer stays.

Modeled after postnatal care facilities common in South Korea that focus on providing mom and baby with specialized care and attention, Boram was the first facility of its kind in the U.S. when it opened in the Spring of 2022. Still a relatively new concept to most Americans, largely unfamiliar with the postpartum confinement practices common in many African and Asian nations, Boram Care focuses on providing support for moms and newborns so they can rest and acclimate together and help stave off overwhelm and baby blues in the early days of pregnancy.

Featuring three daily balanced meals for moms that aid in healing, rejuvenation, and nutrition for potentially breastfeeding new mothers, an on-call 24/7 staff and nursery, new parent skill classes, and extras like postnatal massage, the facility provides all nonmedical assistance a new mom needs to ease into her transition from pregnancy to postpartum.

This Retreat for New Moms and Their Babies Made All The Difference In My 4th Trimester

The Boram Care Team, comprised of registered nurses, doulas, and lactation experts, is on call at all times to provide care for mother and baby – whether that be a quick refresher on latching methods at 2 am or preparing an edema-soothing foot bath for mom in the afternoon. This extra support was invaluable for a first-time Mama like me, fresh from the hospital and navigating both the high of new motherhood and the low of post-surgical recovery from an emergency C-section.

Their multicultural Boram Care Team brings varied experience and expertise for any situation a newly postpartum mom may face. To top things off and much to my excitement, most of the staff on hand were Black women during my stay. Speaking one-on-one with some of the Care Team members, I learned the extent to which their passions lie in postnatal care. For instance, one team member dedicated to my care during my stay had just returned from a year-long excursion to Uganda to study their traditional postnatal care practices.

Aside from the support, care, and nourishment, this facility is luxe. This is a cushy Central Park hotel after all. Upon checking in and familiarizing myself with the Care Team lead for my three-day stay, the first thing I was interested in seeing was our suite’s restroom. After spending days washing in a dimly lit hospital shower with a low-pressure handheld head, it was refreshing to take a hot steam shower on ceramic tiles in a marble-accented restroom outfitted with plush postnatal essentials (pads, pampers, peri bottles, etc.) and to pamper myself with the provided Korean skincare items from Peach & Lily and Then I Met You.

After I got the first order of business out of the way, day one at Boram found me consulting about baby’s newly formed latch with the on-call lactation expert, soaking my edema-swollen feet in warm water and Epson salt, receiving coaching and assistance while learning to pump, and enjoying a meal of salmon and salad before turning my newborn daughter over to the nursery for the evening. Only four days into our lives together and with hormones and emotions running high, it was a tearful goodbye for me to send my baby all of four doors down with bottled breastmilk in tow for the evening. Thankfully, the nursery has dedicated monitors for each baby, so nervous new mommies – like myself – can check in on their sleeping angels whenever they like. The end result? Our first full night of restful sleep in five days. 

This Retreat for New Moms and Their Babies Made All The Difference In My 4th Trimester

Well-rested and relaxed, we kicked off day two reunited with baby in early morning, and served a breakfast of avocado toast – a personal favorite. My fiancé and I joined the other parents in the dedicated Mothers’ lounge for a workshop on newborn sleep midmorning, before stepping out to take baby to her first doctor’s appointment offsite. Upon return, it was time for lunch – another balanced meal with soup and chicken – after which I was able to indulge in a 60-minute postnatal massage. 

Boram’s on-site massage therapists specialize in servicing postpartum patients with swelling, pain, and healing from surgery, which was very much needed and even more appreciated in my case. Relaxed, relieved, and finally settling into the concept of “me time” while the baby was being cared for in the nursery and her father took a walk in nearby Central Park, I requested another foot bath and enjoyed some tea and a solo Bravo TV marathon in our suite. 

This Retreat for New Moms and Their Babies Made All The Difference In My 4th Trimester

My stay concluded with another workshop on infant safety and CPR, dinner, another full night of uninterrupted rest, and a debrief session with my Care lead about needs, next steps, and options to continue receiving support from the Boram Community throughout and beyond the newborn stage. 

As I learned firsthand, the old adage that “it takes a village” is no truer than in the first days after baby comes home. With the perilous state of maternal care and lack of paid maternal and paternal leave in the United States, for new moms, especially Black women, additional help for a healthy transition into motherhood is invaluable. Boram Postnatal Retreat’s goal is to provide the necessary support for mom to recuperate and bond with baby in a stress-free environment, which can make all the difference in the early days of new motherhood.

Having the 24-hour support and assistance of a full nursing staff, healthy balanced meals, and perhaps most importantly, the luxury of time to reset with uninterrupted rest in baby’s first week of life gave me and my fiancé the boost we needed to tackle parenthood on our own back home. 

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