According to the great vaidyas, and to the women who took care of one another, passing practices mother to daughter, each day of care after birth corresponds to one year in a woman’s life.Proper nourishment, or lack thereof during postpartum, can affect a woman's health for the next 42 years.
So what's a mom to do? Balance, calm, and nourish vata dosha, especially ap?na vayu (downward moving wind). Addressing this properly can pacify constipation, pain, uterine discomfort, digestive upset, prolapse and many other complications. (Welch., 50) Unfortunately we can’t give a full guide in one article, but we want to provide a couple “must know” practices for those mommas getting ready for birth. We are putting together workshops to prepare you more in-depth, but if you are giving birth soon and want further support soon please get in touch!
1) 42 Days of REST REST REST: Stay inside and keep visitors to a minimum. These 42 days are a precious time for you and your immediate family to heal and connect with each other. When possible, arrange others to help with housework and meals.
2) Warm, cooked and mildly spiced foods and liquids: Specific foods are recommended for each day or week after birth, but the general idea is that we rebuild our rasa (blood plasma) with very warm, nourishing, hydrating, and nutrient rich foods and we rebuild our agni (digestive fire) with spices and easy to digest foods. We don’t want to tax our body with heavy and hard to digest meals.
- 10 Days Postpartum: Favor thinner soups and purees, and steer clear of foods that are tough on the digestive system such as raw foods, meats, fried foods, and too many greens.
- Eat Wholesome Foods: Wholesome foods include: stews, soups, porridges, whole grains, baked veggies (yams,squash, carrots, asparagus, carrots, and beets). Add digestive spices such as ginger, clove black pepper, turmeric, fenugreek, fresh dill, cumin, saffron, and cardamon. Eat ample protein and good quality fats such as olive oil and ghee to nourish and build the blood.
- Drink Warm Spiced Drinks: Warm spiced milks, and digestive teas such as fennel, tulsi, and ginger.
- Preferred Tastes: Sweet, sour, salty and a little pungent to balance excess air and wind
3) Warm Herbal Massage: This cannot be emphasized enough. Warm oil massage, helps to soothe and strengthen a woman’s body postpartum. Check out our abhyanga post for more information about abhyanga massage for you and your baby.
4) Bind the Abdomen. For centuries, mothers from traditional cultures have used belly wraps to speed up weight loss and to support the abdominal muscles and skin after birth.
5) Nourishing herbs: Upon individual assessment there are some fabulous herbs to assist with postpartum healing. We will talk about this more in our upcoming workshops.
6) Very gentle movement: Rest as much as possible for the first 42 days after birth, doing only what feels relaxing such as a short walk or very gentle, restorative asana. Great asanas include: ?avasana with ujjayi breathing and sandbags on thighs, Salamba supta badha konasana with ujjayi breath (supported reclining bound angle pose), and Yoga Nidra.