Monday, October 7, 2013

40 Days of Rest

In Indian tradition, as in many cultures, the first 40 days post-partum are considered a critical period of rest and recovery. In olden times, new mothers would be on strict bed-rest, and banned from any activities, including cooking and cleaning. This period is thought to be for bonding with the newborn, breastfeeding, recovering, and eating specific foods that support milk production, digestion and healing. The body is considered weak and vulnerable during this time, and so, extra precautions were taken to maintain the new mother's good health. These include keeping her ears covered (so cold air doesn't infiltrate her system) and keeping the baby inside the house (to protect from germs and excess noise). While much of these extreme measures are not possible in modern day society (thank goodness for being able to take a walk outside, or escape to a restaurant for dinner!), I still tried to follow much of the resting and specific diet protocols post-partum. As my 40 day period comes to a close, I thought it would be fun to share some of what I've been eating.

My mornings started out with these main concoctions:

Milk with Turmeric and purified butter. Yes, it's about as disgusting as it sounds... but, turmeric is thought to reduce inflammation and clear out the system. Milk and butter add essential good fats and calories to promote healthy breastfeeding.

Fenugreek and Shatavari supplements. Both herbs though to promote the production of breast milk.

Almonds. These can be eaten raw, soaked, or pureed into milk, but are considered essential healthy fats, and important for the baby's mind development.

Carom Seeds. Can be soaked in water or mixed into foods... these are to help with digestion, both for the mother and the baby as well.

For breakfast, I'd have a hot mug of Milk with Oats - which are high in protein, folate, iron, and calcium. This food is both soothing and easy on the tummy. Plus, it's packed with essential nutrients for the infant and oats are said to increase lactation. I had this with a touch of brown sugar and enjoyed every mug to the fullest!

During the day, I try to eat frequent, healthy meals that are rich in protein and vitamins:

All of my meals have been heavy in spinach and kale (leafy greans are high in minerals and vitamins, while also promoting lactation), and all types of squash, which are also easy for digestion and promote the production of breast milk. If you're intersted, here is a great resource for a healthy post-partum diet.

For snacks, I stick with cheeses, nuts, and glasses of milk. I also had ample amounts of almond halva, and post-partum sweets like ladoos. I really didn't mind this "diet" - It's important to stay hydrated and maintain a high caloric intake to produce enough fatty milk for your infant. In addition, resting helps recovery, but also boosts milk supply.

Would you stick to a post-partum diet based on the above?
I'd love to hear about any traditions other people may follow...

1 comment:

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