As I researched postpartum care practices I read about what many other cultures currently do to support postpartum mamas. As I read about these other traditions, I started noticing patterns. A beautiful picture began unfolding before me. These cultures were thousands of miles away from one another, and yet there were overlapping core tenets describing how to care for the new mother.
These cultures around the world have developed traditions over thousands of years. These traditions focus on surrounding the new mother with a holistic healing plan that helps her body, mind and spirit gracefully move through the transition of being pregnant, to being a mother.
Here is a glimpse in to 3 universal postpartum traditions.
Mothers are kept warm in a variety of ways. Warm teas and broths are brought to her just after birth and kept going for the first month to three months postpartum. She is always kept warm with heaters, blankets, and warm socks on her feet. Herbal baths or steams are made for her. It’s of top importance that she not be near a draft and is bundled when she needs to go outside.
When a woman gives birth she loses a lot of blood and fluids and she is in a fairly depleted state. Many cultures have very specific foods that are given to the mother immediately after birth to help replenish her. Special broths and spiced ghee (clarified butter) are two examples.
For the next few weeks to few months foods that are easily digestible, warm and nutrient-dense are given to the new mother. Healthy fats, proteins and whole grains are priorities. Herbs and spices are also added to the new mothers diet to help with her digestion.
The immediate postpartum time (the first one to three months after birth) are not meant for the mother to go on any diets such as low-calorie or low-carb. This is a very special time to focus on loading the mother with nutrient-dense calories.
Lastly, it’s universal to use medicinal herbs to help the mother heal and repair after birth. Sometimes the herbs are given in the form of medicinal teas, sometimes as spices in food, and other times used in baths and steams. Medicinal herbs are wonderful for the new mother because they have direct actions to help balance hormones, improve digestion, aide the uterus in going back to it’s original shape and help the mother regain energy and peace of mind.
Do you come from a family that has special postpartum healing traditions? Please share in the comments below!
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