Why the 40 days postpartum self care is everything
Written by Siri Pulapaka from Prana²
Ayurveda,a natural system of medicine, originated in India more than 3,000 years ago. The term Ayurveda is derived from the Sanskrit words ayur (life) and veda (science or knowledge). Thus, Ayurveda translates to knowledge of life.
There is a saying in Ayurveda that the 42 days postpartum care is equivalent to the quality of life for the next 42 years.
The key to postpartum care of the mother is to help the mother regain balance after she loses her vital blood and fluids, not to mention the loss of a huge space in the abdomen (previously occupied by the baby). With the sleep deprivation and fatigue that comes from feeding and nourishing a newborn, being grounded is crucial.
If you’re a mum who loves to hit the road after giving birth and dive right into a BIG Mac from McDonald’s to satisfy those cravings for carbohydrates – Ayurveda suggests you think twice!
Ayurveda encourages the mother to stay home for 42 days postpartum, and be looked after by her friends and family who cook nourishing meals that are good for the new mum to build great gut health - warming food and mild spices/herbs are preferred to help kick start the mums digestive fire going from easier to digest foods such as home-cooked food, warming soups, broths to heavy to digest food such as milk, cheese and meat. It is also important to ground the mind with spiritual practise, focusing on strengthening muscles with healing massages and light yoga.
Self-care from an Ayurvedic lens means to nourish both internally and externally – removing build up of toxins and helping our whole system come into balance.
A daily self care routine can help us remove toxins, regulate our body clock and digestion. It is one of the best things you can do to stay in balance.
As a mother it becomes difficult to follow any kind of set routine, which is why it is even more important to do the things you can consistently.
A daily rhythm helps keep vata (air + space) in check and supports your digestive fire. Rather than a rigid schedule, a daily rhythm allows for the ebb + flow of life while anchoring in on sleep and meal times.
To ensure you are the best version of yourself for your kids, I encourage my clients to implement the following daily self care practises:
1. Wake up early and watch the sunrise – even 5 mins of breathwork/mediation practise can set the tone for the rest of the day.
2. Daily self massage with Ibu Ayurveda massage oils followed by light yoga.
3. Drink hot water approximately 20-30 mins before breakfast to kickstart your digestion.
4. Have my biggest meal between 12-2pm when digestive fire is at its peak.
5. Get outdoors for some earthing, bare feet are a must for grounding before sunset.
6. Warm cup of Ayurvedic milk before bed – a must have tonic for any breastfeeding mama or for overall rejuvenation.
Ayurveda emphasises the need of preserving a balance between the body, mind, and spirit. In addition, as everything is connected, Ayurveda is an integrative science which means it can be added to supplement your existing medical plans not replace them. Ayurvedic massage, Ayurvedic cleaning techniques, dietetics, spiritual yoga practice, and herbal medication are the key components that will help you achieve your health goals.