The first 40 days post birth, also known as the 4th trimester, is a very important time for the mother to heal from her pregnancy and birth. Cultures all over the world utilize very specific traditions and recipes during this time. The gist is that the new mama’s support team circles around her to take over all of her daily chores, so that she can allow her body to receive proper healing nutrition, bond with her baby, focus on breast feeding as her main job, and recover from the very physical act of childbirth. We once lived in small villages where our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and nieces all would help. But now as we often live far away from our own families, women need an added support structure to carry on these tasks. It is scientifically proven that these support measures drastically reduce the chances of developing postpartum depression and anxiety.
In most Indian communities, confinement lasts for forty days or roughly six weeks because this is the time during which most women establish breastfeeding. Mothers are encouraged to abstain from chores, food preparation, cleaning and hosting guests. During confinement inside the house- the mother’s body can recover from the intensity of childbirth, the uterus returns to pre-pregnancy size, milk production is established, and the perineum or caesarean section incision heals. This postpartum time is physically demanding but is also a precious window for bonding and offering the new baby a gentle glowing welcome into the world. The primary purposes of the 40 day seclusion are to provide the sensitive newborn physical protection and to allow the mother complete rest and recuperation.
There is an Indian saying that “the first 40 days of life will impact the next 40 years of life”.
In Ayurveda, a 5000 year old Indian healing tradition, this period is considered a sensitive time for mothers, particularly for the digestive system—hence the strong emphasis on simple, digestible foods. Traditionally, mothers are given hot oil massages daily. They are fed very simple but special foods and a number of herbal drinks to promote healing & recovery, boost immunity and improve milk supply.
40 Days Household rules include
- Keep visits with friends and family to a 20-30 minute window.
Be very specific about what visitors will be soothing to the mother and NOT add any drama or stress. This is YOUR time not theirs.
Only allow the mama and daddy to hold baby or very close family and friends.
Keep baby within 9 feet of mama at all times so that their auric fields can begin to slowly and safely separate from one another.
Ask visitors to take their shoes off. Keep house as clean as possible.
Keep rooms dimly lit.
Music soothing and low.
No loud or violent TV shows.
Warming foods and drinks, not much cold or raw foods.
Ask for help- friends and family want to help so take advantage of that and make your life easier so that you can concentrate on what’s most important— happy healthy mama = happy healthy family.