31 December, 2016
Aantur : Caring for a new mum: Part 1.
Rooted deep in the ancient Indian tradition of Ayurveda is the need to care for the new mum. This phase is termed as “Aantur” in my culture. This is as important a part as is the prenatal care and childbirth. In fact we say “Aantur tola”, or ‘ lifting postpartum’ as opposed to helping a new mum. These first forty days in the life of a new mum is said to determine her health at forty years. We talk about the first, second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Aantur can very well be termed as the “fourth trimester.”
It is very rightly believed in Ayurveda that a healthy mum is in the centre of bringing up a healthy baby, who in turn is the starting point of a healthy society. Mothering a mother or in other words pampering her is the basis of Aantur. I recently was very lucky to welcome my grand baby. I am no expert in Ayurveda, neither am I trained in the science of Obstetrics. The views I express here are my own learnt from my mother, mother in law and grandmother.
I have roughly divided the Aantur in the following few categories. I plan to tackle them in parts.
Nine months of wait and a few hours of labour later you come home with a brand new human. With no “User’s manual” or may be without any previous experience you are on Day 1 of your new job as a mother.
This is precisely when Aantur starts. The exact number of days varies from culture to culture, however it is no less than twenty one days after childbirth. It ends at the end of six weeks.
Bringing another life to earth is sacred. Aantur is a time for deep rest and rejuvenation for the new mum.
The growing uterus displaces the stomach, intestine and other organs around these, compromising their ability to function. After childbirth the organs are just starting to get back to normal. Food at this stage should be those that help with lactation and are easily digestible.
a) Food helping with lactation:
Methi, Saunf Paani : Fenugreek and Fennel seed water.
Take 2 Tbsps each of methi and saunf in about 4 cups of water. Boil for 10 minutes. Strain the water, add hot water to constitute about 2 litres. Store in thermos and drink it warm throughout the day. Make fresh next morning.
Do not drink anything cold at all. Heat along with blood is lost during chidbirth , and everything should be done to keep the body warm during this time.
( To be continued )…