This month we explore the postpartum traditions of Ethiopia. Through the adoption of one’s own postpartum traditions or acknowledging the wisdom and practices of different cultures, we can provide ourselves with support, grace and tenderness as we transition into motherhood.
Some of the ways in which postpartum traditions are embraced in Ethiopian culture:
- Postpartum period and provision of food
- Cold shower
- The seventh or twelfth day in the sun
The new mother is expected to rest at home for 40 days. She is expected to be sexually inactive and use this time to heal and regain her strength. During this time the husband, family, friends and neighbours are responsible for providing mama with nourishing and suitable foods to allow her to recover.
In some regions of Ethiopia, a mother will take a cold shower after birth. It is said that this helps to heal and strengthen the body quicker.
Genfo is prepared by friends and family for the mother to eat after birth. It consists of barley, whole wheat flour and spiced ghee to help the mother heal and regain strength. A drink with flaxseed, oat and honey is prepared to support breast milk production and reduce constipation.
THE SEVENTH OR TWELFTH DAY IN THE SUN
On the seventh or twelfth day, the mother and child will go outside to be in the sun to support baby’s health. In preparation for this day, the mother is pampered with beautiful clothes, henna, special foods and a special chair and then neighbours will come to clean the house.
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