Postpartum practices and rituals throughout the world are specific to the cultural backgrounds in which they arise from – yet, they all share common roots. In many of these ancient traditions, it is said that how a woman is cared for postpartum, will directly affect her health through menopause and beyond.
The 5 Essential Postpartum Traditions include:
COMMUNITY is the foundation of postpartum care. No other aspect can happen without the support of our family, friends and care providers. It is essential that mothers are taken care of on a daily basis. From the practicalities of cooking, cleaning, and tending to other children so that mama can heal to the mental and emotional healing that comes by way of ensuring that mother feels good and safe. When mama feels safe, her nervous system is able to down regulate which allows the body’s energy to go towards healing, bonding and secure attachment.
EXTENDED REST is a cross cultural practice (between 21-40 days) that is considered preventative medicine. Growing and nurturing life takes tremendous energy and when mother rests, she is able to receive healing, nourishment and nurturance. It facilities (short and long term) pelvic and uterine healing and encourages hormonal regulation and recalibration.
WARMTH is one of the most important ways to fortify strength and resiliency for both mom and baby. Because mothers are primary heaters to baby (until 5-9 months when they can regulate themselves) it is vital to keep mother warm. Warmth also encourages the production of oxytocin for healing and boding. Traditional ways include being near a fire, sitting in the sun, heating packs, keeping mom dressed warmly, thermal stimulation, moxibustion treatment, and skin to skin. Sitz baths, vaginal steaming, herbal compresses and peri-bottle rinses with a warm herb mixture are also beautiful ways bring heat into mother’s body and assist healing.
NUTRIENT DENSE FOOD that is warm in temperature, warm in nature and easy to digest – such as herbal infusions, bone broths, soups and stews, soft root vegetables, high quality fats, slow cooked meats and well cooked whole grains are ideal. Raw, fried, processed and cold food is best avoided.
BODYWORK is helpful to encourage movement and flow of blood and lymph to increase circulation and support healing while mother is lying in and resting. Physical touch and receiving body work is calming, nourishing and relaxing to the nervous system – allowing all systems of the body to run more efficiently. Holistic Pelvic Care, STREAM (scar tissue remediation education and management), seeing a Women’s Health Physical Therapist, Sexological Bodyworkers, Osteopathy, Cranial Sacral Therapy, Mayan Abdominal Massage and Belly Wrapping along with gentle practices such as Abhyanga, light yoga, The Bump Method Pilates and breath work can also all be incredibly helpful.