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Postpartum support: The first 40 days

There is a lot to learn about transitioning to parenthood. The 40-Day Project supports Somali parents during the first five weeks after birth.

Family transitions like the addition of a new baby can be a time of change, joy and sometimes challenges. Parents may need extra support and how providers talk to them matters. 

A group of 40-Day Project team members
The 40-Day Project team shares resources, education and support to Somali parents and caregivers during the postpartum period.

Created in collaboration with Somali parents and caregivers, the 40-Day Project promotes mental wellness and self-care for Somali birthing people during the first five weeks after birth. 

“This is a critical time that can provide a strong foundation for parent and child,” says University of Minnesota Extension Family Development educator Cari Michaels.

Designed after Afartan bax, or the 40-day celebration after birth in Somali culture, the 40-Day Project offers support during the transition from birth to the postpartum period.

Michaels explains, “Somali culture supports a 40-day postpartum period when friends and family members provide organized support and care. This support is often absent in the United States. As parents learn to care for their newborn, they may need information and support during this transition.” 

Split into five weekly themed sections, the 40-Day Project helps parents and providers learn more about the postpartum period, mental wellbeing, self-care, social networks and how to navigate the parenting journey. 

Three women hugging

Support for parents

With materials offered in both Somali and English, parents can visit the site to: 

  • Sign up to receive a free gift and daily supportive text messages about wellness and self-care
  • Watch videos about parenting infants, self-care and mental wellness 
  • Listen to birth stories from other parents
  • Build social connections by creating a support plan
Healthcare provider with mom and newborn

Resources for providers

Providers can use the 40-Day site to access resources to better support families they serve with:  

  • Downloadable educational resources to share
  • Discussion scripts to support new parents 
  • Screening tools for postpartum mental health concerns and crisis support resources

Visit the 40-Day Project site

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