Whoever thinks that Ayurveda is only for adults was wrong. Whether it’s nutrition, massage, or sounds, there are many ways you as a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, etc. You can lovingly support the development of the little ones, from babies to teenagers! Dr. med. Jasmin Blumenberg, pediatrician and Ayurveda doctor, will show you how. The ebb and flow of life has always been closely accompanied by Ayurvedic customs and rituals for millennia. Some of these are seemingly too simple, some unfathomable, but they exist and they all have hidden values.
The birth of a baby is one of those defining moments that change the course of our lives, and while the celebrations are in order, the emphasis should be on giving the tender newborn his best chance to grow up to be a healthy individual. At the same time, it is equally important to care for the new mom who may have experienced the joys and sweet efforts of motherhood for the first time in her life, and needs the full care and attention of those around her.
Traditional Indian medicine is well advanced in its thought process and suggested concepts in many fields. However, due to the oral transmission of texts, repeated invasions and the strong promotion of a westernized concept of education, we have lost both the language necessary to interpret these texts (Sanskrit) and a large part of the texts themselves.
The customs and traditions you are about to read here are based on centuries of observations summarized in easy-to-apply traditions. Here is a deep dive into lifestyle recommendations that are intrinsic parts of the Ayurvedic lifestyle. However, this is not a substitute for medical advice.
Forgotten Ayurvedic Tips For Newborns
Ascending oil massage – Udhwartana
It takes about 15 days for the umbilical cord to dry and fall naturally. That is also your signal to start massaging the baby. Ayurveda recommends the use of ashwagandha, shalparni, castor root, castor oil, sesame oil, goat milk and turmeric to massage the baby. Process ashwagandha or shalparni in sesame or mustard oil and after it has cooled apply on baby and massage in reverse or upward direction. This technique is called Udhwartana in Panchakarma therapy.
Staying inside until the fourth month
According to Ayurveda, the baby should be kept inside the nursery or baby’s room in a separate pavilion inside the house and access to the baby should be limited. Traditionally speaking, on the first auspicious day of the fourth month, the baby is usually bathed, clothed, and taken out of the nursery. There, an elderly woman from the home or a wet nurse (dhatri) carry a plate with honey and mustard seeds. The baby’s forehead is adorned with a little vermilion and the elders of the home should bless the baby. Once the ceremony is complete, the baby is taken to other parts of the house, or back to the nursery, as preferred, according to current customs.
Spraying the baby’s room
Another lesser-known tip for ensuring the best environment for baby is to fumigate the baby’s room with Ayurvedic resins, leaves and roots that counteract negative energies and instill positivity in the baby’s immediate environment. Jatamansi, Brahmi, Heeng and Gugulu herbs can be used to fumigate the baby’s room and baby’s clothes. This also neutralizes germs in the air and clothing.
Soft words, positive music and soft action
The baby may not have developed speech skills yet, but experiences fear and anxiety just like adults cannot express. Be sure to speak softly to the baby. Do not suddenly pick up your baby to wake him or be too loud near him. Also, the common playful gesture of throwing the baby into the air creates fear in your mind, so it should be avoided. Play soft carnatic music or traditional lullabies. Until the first year, don’t leave your baby unattended. If the mother is out to bathe, an older person in the home should watch. Hard or strong words should be avoided, instead speak in a soft, mellow tone. This builds confidence and happiness in the baby’s mind.
Limit access to baby
Traditionally, babies were kept inside the nursery in a separate ward within the home, and the only people who had access to the baby were generally the mother, the wet nurse, or older women within the home. It is important to prevent strangers from touching the baby to reduce the risk of disease, especially since immunity does not develop until the third or fourth month. Even modern science supports this fact now.
Exposure to the moon and sun
The sun and the moonlight have several health benefits that the baby needs during the first months. The only exception to the previous point of keeping the baby indoors until the fourth month is to take her outside during the first hours of the morning for a few minutes to sunbathe. This is best done within the confines of the nursery or in a place where nobody bothers the baby or the mother. Similarly, moonlight is beneficial for developing the baby’s nervous system and balancing the mother’s gynecological cycle.
Ayurveda is a great encyclopedia of knowledge that deals with all aspects of life, including childbirth and pregnancy. To learn more about how Ayurveda can help you improve your quality of life after pregnancy, speak to an Ayurveda expert for personalized advice. However, remember to see a doctor for any health problems related to the baby or the new mother.