Ayurveda post-partum care tips for new mums. Ayurveda offers so much practical and effective wisdom for the transformative post-partum time of becoming a new Mum.
My eldest is soon to turn 17, but I still remember clearly the early days and nights of Mothering. Such precious memories.
Ayurveda recognises childbirth as a Vata provoking experience and emphasises that the first 42 days after giving birth as an important window of opportunity to rebalance the effects that Vata bring.
But let’s back up a bit.
When you are pregnant the hormone progesterone increases to hold your babe in place and provide nourishment and stability. This gives the glow a healthy third trimester woman experiences, often coupled with a feeling of calmness, (unless you already have other kids to wrangle! : )
These good levels of progesterone help to promote balanced Vata and a nourished nervous system. One could say that our Vata is full and content.
The experience of giving birth creates an emptiness in the womb. Naturally, space and air, (the elements that make up the Vata energy), moves in to fill this emptiness. Thus, Vata increases at this time.
As well as this sudden emptiness in the womb, with giving birth there is a lot of movement. There is also loss of fluids which creates dryness and depletion which are two more qualities and signs of Vata.
The qualities of Vata are cold, light, dry, erratic, mobile and rough.
Signs of Vata increased in our body and mind are:
- dry skin and lips
- feeling tired
- constipation and erratic appetite and digestion with more wind and bloating
- feeling anxious and frazzled
- feeling the cold, especially hands and feet
- and hair loss.
Vata governs our nervous system. Ways of living that affect our nervous system will also increase Vata. Overstimulation, lack of sleep, and irregular rhythms all impact our nervous system and are keys features at this time of life with a new babe.
How does this Vata increase happen?
Ayurveda tells us that like increases like.
This means that when we experience foods, temperatures or any experiences that have the same qualities of Vata, listed above, then we will accumulate those qualities in our body and mind and eventually this creates like symptoms.
For example – cold food and drinks will make your digestion cold, less effective and create the symptoms of wind or bloating.
Or, when our day has irregular rhythms with eating and / or sleeping, then our body and nervous system gets confused, and we’ll feel more frazzled and depleted.
Or, when we eat on the run (mobile) the mobile or jumpy qualities of Vata will increase in our body and mind.
To bring the balance back, we need to invite in the opposite qualities to what we are experiencing.
Feeling cold… bring in more warmth.
Feeling frazzled…. Invite in rhythm, stillness and calm.
Feeling bloated…. The warm and oily qualities will help; like sipping hot water or hot ginger and fennel tea! Adding lubrication with olive oil or ghee to your diet will soothe your intestines too.
Feeling dry… nourish with more oil internally and externally with massage.
Having rhythm in your day after giving birth is not always possible. But we can invite these ideas into our days and nights to balance what is often an unsettling time.
6 Ayurveda Post-partum Care Tips
Your Dincharya (daily rhythms) will certainly change in the first few weeks of being a new Mum. Simplifying your life as much as possible, will enable you to build some rhythm to create more ease at this time of change.
Your eating and sleeping times are the most important parts of your Dincharya. Sleeping will, no doubt, be erratic but do prioritise rest as much as you can.
Your priorities have shifted to taking care of the needs of your precious little one, but you must also prioritise feeding and nourishing yourself. This is both for creating enough milk for baby and to rebuild your tissues and strength.
Planning your meals ahead of time will save you a lot of angst and help with your eating rhythms. There is almost nothing worse than being hungry as a new mum and having to throw something together whist juggling a hungry babe too!
Ideally, the first couple of weeks you are taken care of with a meal roster from your community of friends and family who provide you with meals so you can rest. Remember you are not meant to be doing this alone! There are some great apps now for creating meal rosters online such as Meal Train or Take Them a Meal.
After that time, plan your meals for the week. Pre kids I was never into meal planning as it felt too rigid but, trust me, spending 15 minutes once a week to map out meals and the ingredients needed to shop for them, makes life so much easier.
Less decision fatigue!
Mornings are a good time to prep the meals for your day. Babe is often more content in the morning so you can cook or prep your lunch and dinner. That way, you’ll have less to do in your afternoons when you may be tired and baby grizzly,
As Vata creates dryness one of the best ways to reduce this energy, nourish your whole body and nervous system is self-massage. Simply spend a few minutes after your shower rubbing some oil over your warm body. Use an older towel to rub off any excess oil before dressing.
This habit is a game changer!
If that feels like too much to do, just massage your feet before bed each night to help you feel grounded and promote good sleep.
Massaging your baby is a wonderful bonding experience too. Our harsh chlorinated water is not good for babies sensitive skin. It is too drying and strips away natural oils and beneficial bacteria. Baby massage with natural oils, such as almond or coconut, can be done instead of bathing too regularly to clean their skin or replenish after their bath.
3. Warm and Cooked Food and Drinks
An easy Ayurvedic post-partum care tip to keep nourishing your body is to prioritise warm and easy to digest meals.
Digestion is weakened after giving birth. To help it stregthen again think one pot meals like soup, kichadi or stews. Download the healing Kitchadi recipe here!
Root veggies will build strength. If you eat meat, stews are the best way to more easily digest it and bone broths will add many important minerals your body will enjoy.
In general avoid dry and cold foods and drinks which weaken digestion.
Other foods to avoid or eat very little of are raw food, (80% cooked and 20% raw or salad is generally a good ratio); iced drinks, raw garlic or onion, dry crackers; dried fruit; and very heavy foods like hard cheese, excess meat and cold dairy.
Alcohol and coffee are to be avoided at this time.
Grounding grains and sweet vegetables like sweet potato, beetroot and carrot and sweet fruits, like dates, will help new Mum to build Ojas (aka essence of vitality), rebuild her Shukra (aka reproductive juices) and help her body make milk for her babe.
4. Accept Support and Be Clear with Your Boundaries
The first 42 Days of your new baby time, often called your baby moon, is a precious time for bonding with your baby and allowing the transition into your new identity as a Mother.
It is good to not be overwhelmed by visitors. Be clear about your boundaries and your own needs. Ask friends and family to come when it suits your new rhythms and to respect your needs of quiet time too.
At the same time, do not try to do it all by yourself. It takes a village they say! Allow yourself to receive support so you can ease in.
Have compassion for yourself as you shape shift into your new identity. There are many hormonal changes post birth that can make you feel more vulnerable.
Allow yourself to weep, for no reason at all, or to acknowledge and let go of the parts of you who may lie dormant for a while as you don the cloak of your new identity.
There is too much focus in our society on a woman being able be and do it all; to get back to work, to hold it all together; to get her pre baby body back and be able to be all that she was and more.
Allow this new part of you to grow gently and without judgement from your old self. Be kind to yourself.
5. Be Gentle with Your Sense Organs
During the first 2 weeks after giving birth a woman’s energetic field is very open.
Too much stimuli with loud noises, TV, even in the back ground, social media and screens, too much social activity, even being out in extreme weather can aggravate and overstimulate her nervous system.
In the first two weeks, be gentle with your senses. Avoid excess stimuli, loud noises and being too busy.
As much as is possible you are invited to simplify your life at this time.
Keep your lights low at night, (a salt lamp makes a beautiful glow for middle of the night breast feeding.
Know that you are not alone. When I breast fed in the middle of the night I would sink into the stillness and in my mind connect with all the other women, all across the world, who were also nourishing their child in that moment.
During breast feeding don’t always reach for the book or podcasts but be still, look in your babies’ eyes for deep bonding. Or use this time to simply breathe and meditate.
6. Support your Body’s Hydration and Tissues
Staying hydrated with warm water and herbal teas is so important at this time especially if you are breastfeeding. Ayurveda has lots of herbal support to help the new mum replenish and build good milk.
Shatavari provides nourishment. Ashwagandha supports the adrenals and builds strength. Bala means child and also gives strength and soothes inflamed tissues. Guduchi supports the immune system and reduces inflammation. Any herbs given must be matched to each individuals needs by an Ayurvedic practitioner.
Or, simply using common herbs and spices in teas like fennel, fenugreek, ginger and cardamom will support good digestion and lactation.
Taking care of yourself post-partum does not need to be complicated. Small underwhelming choices and steps are the way. Little steps!
Be open to receiving support and remember to ask for it when you need it.
Be ok with what is possible each day to tend to your own needs and that of your baby even when you think you should or could do more. Ideally, drop the shoulds and coulds and be compassionately ok with what you do each day.
And know that what is possible and what your baby needs will change, again and again and again so you might as well go with the flow!
I hope these Ayurveda post-partum care tips will support your special post-partum time and help it to be more mindful and easeful.
If you would like support with your post partum time or preparing for conception, reach out! You can book a free clarity call or make a booking here.