Postpartum Rejuvenation Guide

Here in the West, we give much importance to prenatal healthcare and the delivery of our precious child. Important as this may be, too often our mothers fail to receive the postpartum care their bodies desperately need. The postpartum period is a time for deep rest and rejuvenation. Through the intense process of birth, the body is weak, the tissues are depleted and the digestion is severely impaired. New mothers are as delicate as their newborns at this time. In order to give our children all the love and attention they deserve, we need to be strong, healthy and well balanced. Our babies receive all of their nourishment through us. If we do not take care of ourselves properly, it is our precious newborn who suffers. This is a simple guide to provide you with the wisdom you need to make the postpartum experience one of profound rejuvenation for the body, mind and soul.

It is important to recognize all of the changes your body (the newly delivered mother) has undergone. The empty space that has been created due to the baby’s exit of the womb, all of the fluids lost with the birth, displaced organs, stretched connective tissue and strained muscles to name a few. Your digestion is severely impaired because all your energy was given to birthing your beautiful baby.

Proper rejuvenation is key for optimum health of both you and your baby. The major components required for postpartum rejuvenation are: warm oil massage of mother AND baby, deep rest, warm, oily, nourishing, digestible food, good quality breast milk, herbal support, and LOVE.

Warm oil massage

Warm oil massage daily (right after birth) is of utmost importance during this vulnerable time. Daily massage with warm sesame oil is deeply nourishing to all the bodily tissues, down to the cellular level. Gentle oil massage will help facilitate the organs and connective tissue return to their pre-pregnancy condition and location, will help eliminate excess waste products leftover from the birth and will soothe Vata (air/ether elements) that have manifested themselves in abundance after the birth. Qualities of Vata that manifest after birth include roughness, lightness, coldness and dryness. Warm oil massage is grounding and soothing and is very important to be done daily in the postpartum period. Warm oil infant massage is also a must for a healthy, colic free baby. A baby’s best life insurance policy is daily infant massage and high quality breast milk! (Note: allow 2 hours in between feedings to allow for good digestion for baby.)

Warm bath

After the oil massage, a warm bath should be waiting for you and baby. Again it helps soothe Vata, your muscles and your nerves! It is also a wonderful bonding time for you and your baby.

Hot water bottle and belly wrap

You should have your belly wrapped tight with a long length of cloth and use a hot water bottle on you belly and back. The belly needs to be wrapped tight so the organs are supported to return to their pre-pregnancy location. The hot water bottle helps warm the empty womb and also soothes the back muscles from all of the strain of labor.

Warm fluids

Have a Thermos beside you at all times with WARM fluids in it. Water, lactation tea, cell rejuvenation tea (recipes follow) or milk tonics. Cold drinks should be avoided! They will ruin her very sensitive digestion. If you really are craving something not warm…have something room temperature.

Cell rejuvenation tea

Dashamoola tea- works in the pelvic region to soothe vata (very important tea for proper rejuvenation!)

Boil 2 cups of water with 2 teaspoons of dashamoola powder. Boil down to ½ cup and take ¼ cup warm, in morning and evening. Refrigerate unused portion and rewarm. Make fresh daily.

 

Sweetwater lactation tea

Boil 2 quarts of water and ½ teaspoon each of fennel and fenugreek seeds for 10 minutes. Keep in Thermos and drink throughout the day and night to support hydration, lactation, digestion and rejuvenation. Refrigerate unused portion and rewarm. Make fresh daily.

 

Warm room

You never want you or your baby to catch a chill. You both will be naturally colder after delivery and will need a warm room and extra blankets.

Daily routine

Having a daily routine is important for rest and rejuvenation. You will need to think less about what is going on once you get in the flow of a routine. Have the oil massage and bath in morning. Maybe have visitors in the afternoon. Limit the visit to 15 minutes. You and baby really need to be protected and have lots of rest. If visitor stays longer, have them do some chores to help out.

Stay inside the house for 2 weeks

It is best if you and baby don’t leave the house for two weeks…even to go outside! You both really need to just nest and rest during this time. Babies are so sensitive to outside influences and energies. Protect them.

Don’t expose baby to public for 6 weeks

It is best for the baby not to be taken out in public for 6 weeks. It is very exhausting for baby to have so much sensory stimulation. They don’t like it.

Nourishing mother after birth

After childbirth, foods must be more Vata soothing, warm, easy on digestion, with no fermentation or raw except when sweet fruits are desired. A wholesome, pure balanced diet is essential.

For the 1st 10 days, the diet should be focused on cleansing, building digestive fire (Agni) and lactation

Use pippali, aloe, ginger and clove to burn toxins and lighten Agni

Foods to favor during the first 10 days include: Boiled milk; favor with saffron, turmeric (1st 3 days only), cardamom, fresh ginger and at least 1 teaspoon of ghee (clarified butter) per cup. Hot almond milk with ghee, spices and soaked dates. Milk based puddings with ghee, halva, soaked almonds (well ground), very mushy kitchari, simple soups with digestive herbs and spices.

10-21 days, grounding, Agni and lactation

Use the ayurvedic herbs: shatavari, bala, ashwagandha, vidari, jatamamsi

Foods to favor 10-21 days include: Focus on foods listed above plus more stews, root vegetables, and grains. Lassi, taken mid-day (half water and half yoghurt), mung, lentil and urad dhal; avocado, water or flax oil thinned nut butters in sauces, seasoned ricotta, panir, cottage cheese, nut milks, chicken and fish broth and soups, Dark leafy greens, chapattis, whipped cream with honey, rosewater, cardamom and vanilla, freshly squeezed orange juice.

21-42 days, rejuvenation of tissues (dhatus), Agni and lactation

Use shatavari, bala, ashwagandha and vidari

Foods to favor 21-42 days include: Thicker dhal and kitchari, pastas, sprouted unleavened breads, saffron cream cheese with flax oil, heavier (still easy to digest), nourishing foods

Preferred foods by category

Proteins

Ricotta, cottage, unfermented cheeses, boiled milk, sesame and almond milk, split peeled mung beans, chicken and fish soups(after 4 weeks), lassi, soaked ground nuts, quinoa and amaranth.

Carbohydrates

Basmati rice (cook with extra water), unleavened wheat, tapioca, oats, yams and sweet potatoes

Fruits

Sweet fresh (not chilled) fruits and fruit juices, avocado, lemon and lime

Vegetables

Cooked until tender: Asparagus, beet, carrot, summer squash, pumpkin, artichoke, okra, fresh dill, fennel, fenugreek leaves, dark leafy greens and green beans after 2 weeks.

Seasonings

Basil, a little black mustard, cumin, caraway, citrus peel, cardamom, cinnamon, fennel, fenugreek, licorice, garlic: minced and browned in ghee(not raw!), fresh ginger, hing, marjoram, nutmeg, black pepper, paprika, pippali, tamarind, tarragon, turmeric, ajwan

The rejects

Dry, rough, cold, hard to digest, clogging, fermented and most pungent peppers (except cayenne). Cold drinks, soda, alcohol, leavened breads, salads, ice cream, red meats, fermented cheeses, sour cream, eggs, onion, raw garlic, radishes, cabbage family, chilies, chocolate, coffee, potatoes, crackers, dried fruits, tomatoes, peas, peppers, sprouts, soy sauce, pickles, tempeh, miso, mushrooms, vinegar, yeast.

Managing the Vata dosha is very important at this time. There needs to be modifications for the Vata soothing diet since there is very weak digestion. Avoid excess astringent and bitter foods.  They are very drying.

Oleation of the body is very important after childbirth, outside as well as inside. Cook or serve nearly every preparation with ghee or sesame oil.

Foods and seasonings especially good for lactation include: ajwan, fennel, caraway, basil, fenugreek, sweet warm milk and almonds. Garlic is very good IF and only IF it is minced and browned in ghee or oil.

Your basic mantra should be “something warm, with protein, vegetables with good oils, spices and flavorings, a small sweet for dessert, massage and rest”.

Happy mothering and best wishes!

Ameya Duprey CMT, CPKT, AyurDoula

Samadhi_healing_arts@yahoo.com

(530) 388-8296

 

 

 

 

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© 2012 Ameya Duprey