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Post-partum Practices Around the World

In India, Ayurvedic tradition encourages a new mother to stay at home and be pampered for the first 22 days postpartum. Her role as a new exalted one is honored. This time of rest helps strengthen the infant-mother bond. In this precious lying in time, breastfeeding becomes smooth. Rest and protection of both the mother's and baby's delicate nervous systems are priorities. Few visitors are allowed. Mother and baby stay out of the wind and weather, decreasing the possibility to exposure to disease. Specially prepared foods are served to the mother.

In Bali, a mother does not enter her kitchen nor does she wash her hair until after the baby's cord stump has dried and fallen off; this ensures her rest. For the first 105 days of life, the child never touches the ground. She is held in arms continuously, floating like an angels from one loving person to another.

Most Indonesian women do not go out of the family compound (traditionally a cluster of homes for extended family, set among lovely gardens) or resume their regular responsibilities until the baby is 42 days old. On the 42nd day, the baby is named and a feast is held. For the first 3 nights postpartum, a Muslim Indonesian man must not sleep; he must guard his wife and baby.

Some American physicians advise their patients to refrain from "everything" for the first 6 weeks postpartum. Perhaps this was adopted from the Talmud which states "A woman who has just borne a child should not lie with her husband for 40 days." This Jewish practice is shared by many traditional cultures all over our planet.

The majority of the births in Holland take place at home. Excellent in-home postpartum care is provided by women called Kraamverpleegsters (professional maternity nurse). They arrive at 8am and leave at 5pm for 8 days. These angels take care of the laundry, cooking, shopping, child care, act as hostess for visitors, and do postpartum check-ups as well. They have daily contact with the midwife or doctors who attended the birth, reporting all progress of the mother and baby. Infant care is provided, parenting skills are taught and breastfeeding is supported.

This excerpt was taken from Robin Lim's "After the Baby's Birth" Revised Edition. We highly recommend getting your own copy. It's invaluable!

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