If you’ve just brought a baby Earthside (or you’re preparing to!), the 42 days immediately following birth are a sacred time for rest, healing, nourishment, and bringing balance to your womb and little one. As a new mother, allowing yourself to receive support from those around you during this time will serve your physical, emotional, and spiritual self and continue to build a lifelong bond with your new baby.
Here are a few simple ways you can restore balance as a gift to yourself and your new family as you start this journey as a mother!
Nest and Rest
Establishing a routine and creating space for rest during the first 42 days after birth is crucial. While it may feel like there is much to be done, this is the time to receive the support of the love around you and focus on resting. Birth was a big job! To support your healing, make sure that you are getting at least 8 total hours of sleep, and stay in bed until you do. Of course you’ll be tending to your baby throughout that time, but stay restful in bed in between, even if that means you don’t fully get up and start your day until much later than usual.
While it may feel tempting to go out and start exploring the world together, it’s important to stay home and focus on building your nest for the first two weeks after delivery. Babies are very sensitive to outside energies and influences, so it’s your sacred task to protect them during this time inside your nest as they acclimate to the world. After two weeks, you may want to start with gentle experiences in nature, but try to keep your baby out of busy public spaces for at least six weeks.
Create a cozy environment
After delivery, you and your baby will naturally be prone to feeling cold, so focusing on warmth in your space is key. Ensure that you keep a warm room at all times, and cozy up with some extra blankets for you and your babe so neither of you ever catch a chill.
It’s important to stay hydrated with warm fluids in the weeks following birth. Your digestion is quite sensitive during this time, so avoid cold liquids, and drink plenty of delicious, nourishing teas like Vibrant Baby Nursing Tonic to support milk supply if you are breastfeeding.
Yoni steam to cleanse & heal your womb
Yoni steaming is traditionally a postpartum practice that comes from Mayan midwifery. After your bleeding (lochia) has passed and any external wounds have closed — usually about 5-9 days — after delivery, begin to yoni steam 2-3 times per week for 4 weeks to facilitate healing and toning of the uterus and vagina. You’ll want to steam in the evening, just before bed and stay warm and cozy afterward. Never steam when there is bleeding or hemorrhaging (but light spotting with dark colored blood is okay). In case of external wounds, use Sitz Bath in a peri bottle before you begin yoni steaming.
Do a warm oil massage daily
To support your healing during this time, daily warm oil massage is particularly beneficial and important. It is soothing, grounding, and deeply nourishing to all the bodily tissues, helps to restore the organs and connective tissue, and to eliminate excess waste after birth. Massage all over your body, with special attention on your womb area. Ashwaganda Bala Oil is a rejuvenating massage oil that can be used on both mother and baby daily. Give your baby a gentle massage following yours!
Wrap your belly for comfort and support
To heal, reduce pain, and invite your organs to settle back into their places, give yourself an all-day hug by incorporating belly wrapping. Use a long length of cloth or scarf to wrap your belly tight and use a hot water bottle on your belly and back. The warmth is nourishing to the empty womb and soothes the back muscles from the strain of labor.
Establish a daily routine
Creating a daily routine that works for you and your baby is extremely supportive for your recovery and rejuvenation. Once you get into your flow, you won’t have to think so much about what comes next, so that you can simply drop into healing, connecting, and being together! For example, you may consider doing your warm oil massage in the morning after you complete 8 hours of rest, and inviting short visits with loved ones in the afternoon when you’re ready. The most important thing is to listen to your own intuition, and allow yourself to receive support from those around you in your postpartum recovery and process. It’s the best gift you can give your new baby!
Eat nourishing foods
Focus on consuming warm, soothing, wholesome and easy-to-digest foods. Be sure to avoid raw and fermented foods, except for sweet fruits if you desire them.
Here are some great foods to incorporate postpartum:
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
Basmati rice (cook with extra water), unleavened wheat, tapioca, oats, yams and sweet potatoes
Sweet, fresh (not chilled) fruits and fruit juices, avocado, lemon and lime
Cooked until tender: Asparagus, beet, carrot, summer squash, pumpkin, artichoke, okra, fresh dill, fennel, fenugreek leaves (this is important), dark leafy greens and green beans after 2 weeks.
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
Foods to avoid
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.
Creating space and routines to support, heal, and nourish yourself and your baby are crucial in the weeks following delivery. Give yourself and your family this gift that will last a lifetime!
Sierra Brashear, MA is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, DONA-trained doula, herbal alchemist, wellness educator and founder of Vibrant Souls yoni steams. Inspired by the rhythms and elements of nature, Sierra weaves her knowledge of Ayurveda into the products and lifestyle design programs she offers. She invites you to join her 16-week program, The Art of Fertility | Journey to Conception — to clear toxins and nourish your mind and body in preparation for an easeful conception and healthy pregnancy. Sierra is also co-founder of Cultivate Balance and Moon Bath, and lives in Boulder, Colorado.