Stroking my baby’s soft cheeks, feet, and her soft hair is one of the most soothing and precious things to me. Not too long ago, however, her cheeks were not the softest things in the world. I took good care of my daughter’s skin Ayurvedically.
We look to the baby's body language and body functions to tell us what they need and if they are doing okay. Like adults, babies’ bowel movements and digestion are very telling of their health and can be the cause of much distress.
How can you create an environment that supports your baby as she goes through the changes? What are some practices that will nurture a newborn? You may find, as I did, that these practices actually will simplify your life, making your life a bit easier.
I probably have had every breastfeeding issue possible—latch issues, deep milk sinuses, blocked ducts, milk blebs, vasospasms — some of which, such as vasospasms and ductal candidiasis, even most doctors do not have much experience with!
The key to postpartum care of the mother is to calm vata (the ether and air elements). The mother is full of the mobile, light, dry, and cold qualities after the loss of energy and blood and fluids, not to mention the loss of a huge space in the abdomen (previously occupied by the baby). Add to that sleep deprivation and fatigue that comes from feeding and nourishing a newborn and you can see how vata pops up in every aspect of this period.
My experience as a new mother during these past six weeks has only increased my respect for and faith in Ayurveda. They have been some of the most challenging weeks of my life, yet they have also brought with them great spiritual growth and insight.
Depending on your culture or traditional background, you may have a set of rituals that happen at the time of the birth of your baby. There are religious rituals, cultural rituals, rituals that are encouraged for the health of the baby. In the end, they all serve the purpose to create a certain environment that is appropriate for the magical transition of the baby from the womb into the world.
The texts of Ayurveda do not mention anything on the routine practice of circumcision. So, your choice of whether to circumcise or not depends on your own judgment and personal preferences. I’ll share some points that we considered.
Of course, strengthening my mind’s equanimity also will help me during the labor and delivery process. Pain is also impermanent and plays a function. As thoughts of the labor and delivery came to mind, I imagined myself welcoming the pain and source of pain to play the function it is there for (you can’t really have a baby delivered without proper contractions, after all). It too will change.
The last month of pregnancy is all about supporting the downward energy (apana vayu) and preparing the passageway. In the last month of the pregnancy, the classical texts of Ayurveda also talk about specific preparations particularly for the passageway.
There are many lists for getting a basic delivery bag together (just Google “delivery bag” and click on images for many handy lists). I am sharing my list at the end of this article. I used many of the lists that I saw for the basics, and then added items that would be helpful from an Ayurvedic point of view.
During the third trimester, many mothers have difficulties with sleep because of pregnancy discomforts and an active mind as the due date quickly approaches. There is some relief. Give these ideas a try and see how you feel.
Have you been experiencing time periods where you are suddenly extremely exhausted? During this time, the eighth month or so, the essence of life and immunity (ojas) starts flowing back and forth between the mother and the baby. Those periods of extreme exhaustion are periods when the ojas is flowing away from you and to the baby.
Move during the third trimester!? Some basic principles of Vastu (it is like the Vedic version of Feng Sui) and general dos and don’ts during pregnancy (vastu is just one part of it) that will overall facilitate harmonious and wholesome energy within yourself and around your baby.
There are specific times in the life of a human being that, according to Vedic philosophy, are said to greatly impact his or her character. These are called sanskaras. One of them is the seventh month of pregnancy.
This week I experienced some disturbances with the kidneys specifically. I had been traveling a bit and I knew my vata was imbalanced, and so it did not surprise me to see an inflammation manifest in the urinary tract.
I had my third trimester labs done late last week, which included my gestational diabetes screening and complete blood count (looking at my red blood cells, platelets, amongst other things). Luckily everything was just fine… except for the fact that I was significantly anemic.
I use to feel that the idea of a baby-moon (think honeymoon before the baby is born) was a little silly… that was until I became the parent. Then I started to think of all the changes in my life and my relationship with my husband that could come, and my husband and I quickly became keen to the idea.
The intellect (buddhi) part of the mind is likely the most emphasized part of our mind in today’s society. From a young age, we put our young ones in special preschools and buy special books or videos that are suppose to make our children “smarter.” And this is all great and important since it is the faculty of our minds that help us achieve, make contributions to society, solve problems, and make a living.
We started planning the first few logistics of the postpartum plan from more of an energetic perspective. What is going to be best for both Charlie and the two of us as the child enters the world and our lives completely transform into being full-time parents?