This month we explore India's postpartum traditions. Through the adoption of different cultural postpartum traditions, together as a community, we can provide support to mamas during their postpartum journey.
Some examples of practices and rituals found within the Indian culture:
- Warm massages and baths
- Belly Binding
Similar to Chinese postpartum practices, in Indian postpartum traditions - mothers are encouraged to rest and recuperate after childbirth. This provides an intimate time for mothers to bond with baby. During this time of rest, mothers will stay home for a period of six weeks, also known as the period of confinement. Mamas are well nourished by her mother and relatives during this time.
In Ayurveda, mothers follow the healing tradition of consuming easily digestible foods and herbal drinks that strengthens their immunity and promotes healing. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we too rely on the support and wonder of herbs to replenish qi and blood after childbirth. Some common ingredients that promote healing and lactation is turmeric, fenugreek, sesame, cumin, fennel seeds, ginger and ghee.
WARM MASSAGES AND BATHS
In the Indian culture, mothers are given hot oil massages on their back, limbs and shoulders by a family member or an experienced practitioner. During this practice, they use oils such as sesame, coconut or olive oil.
These nurturing oils will provide healing properties to mothers post birth. The hot oil massage is then followed by a warm bath, to wash away the excess oil, mothers will use powdered moong dal or chickpeas instead of soap.
Mothers are encouraged to take baths with neem leaves that are cooked in boiling water. Neem leaves can provide soothing properties to mothers after childbirth. Our founder, U-Fhern - completed a similar practice during her postpartum journey of confinement of bathing in herbs cooked in boiling water.
In Indian postpartum practices, mothers bind their bellies with a cotton sari or cloth. The act of belly binding allows the uterus to return back to its original place after childbirth, providing support and promoting healthy postures for mothers during their first forty days.REFERENCES:
See our Instagram post here.