Traditional Indian Postpartum Care | Ancient Recipes & Healing Practices
When it comes to whole body postpartum healing, there is incredible wisdom that has been passed down from cultures and societies all over the world. Some of the cultures that we’ve collected rituals and recipes from include Chinese, Korean, Indian, Jamaican, and English. This traditional postpartum series is meant to make this sacred information more accessible and honor the ancient healing modalities that have been lost in our modern world.
The traditional Indian view of the postpartum period holds rest and replenishment in the highest regard. The postpartum confinement period lasts 40 to 60 days, and mothers use a nourishing, easy to digest diet to support their recovery process.
Post natal body massages, often with warm sesame oil, are also an important channel for faster whole body healing. These massages help repair the mother’s body tissues and increase blood circulation. Belly binding is another time honored traditional practice meant to support the core and pelvic floor.
The healing nature of warmth continue to be a focus for traditional cultures, including Indian. Hot water bathing and warm foods are a staple during this season.
Nourishment and recovery through traditional postpartum recipes and practices that have been passed down through generations of mothers needs to be celebrated and honored. Indian culture offers us an incredible example of food as a channel for whole body healing, and we are so grateful to be able to share some recipes with you today.
Recipes for Postpartum Healing
Creamy Root Vegetable Soup
Recipe submitted by Carmen Davis, Holistic Reproductive Practitioner and Ayurvedic Postpartum Doula.
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 butternut squash, peeled and chopped
- 1-2 medium carrots, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, diced
- 1-2 Tbs of ghee
- 1/2 tsp of ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp of dried thyme
- 1/2 – 1 tsp of sea salt
- 6 cups of bone broth
- 1/2 cup of organic canned coconut cream
- Optional: pumpkin seeds and parsley for serving
- Melt the ghee in a medium pot.
- Add the diced onion and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes until the onions are translucent.
- Add the carrots, butternut squash, sweet potato, spices and sea salt. Saute for 5 minutes until vegetables are slightly golden.
- Add the bone broth and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
- Turn off the heat and add the coconut cream.
- Blend the soup mixture until smooth with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender or food processor.
- Serve with pumpkin seeds, fresh parsley and a tsp of ghee.
A popular dish rich in protein, carbohydrates, folic acid, and fiber.
- 1 cup rice
- 1 cup split yellow gram (moong dal)
- 3½ cups bone broth
- ¼ cup fine chopped or grated bottle gourd (lauki)
- ¼ cup fine chopped or grated carrot (gajar)
- ½ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
- ½ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
- A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
- 4 peppercorns (kali mirch)
- 1 bay leaf (tej patta) – optional
- 4 cloves (laung) – optional
- 1 tbsp ghee
- Salt to taste
- Wash the rice and dal well.
- Mix and soak in water for about 20 minutes.
- In a pressure cooker, heat ghee and add cumin seeds. When cumin seeds crackle, add asafoetida, bay leaf, peppercorns and cloves.
- Add chopped/grated bottle gourd and carrot.
- Sauté the vegetables for a few minutes. Now add rice, dal, turmeric powder, and salt.
- Mix for about a minute or two. Add bone broth to the mixture. Cook the khichdi until the rice is well done.
- Serve hot with fresh curd and coriander (dhania) or mint (pudina) chutney.
A rich source of iron, calcium, fiber, carbohydrates and proteins. This dish is also believed to aid lactation.
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ½ cup carrot (cubed)
- ½ cup potato (cubed to half inch pieces)
- ½ cup green peas
- ¼ tsp ground pepper
- .25 tsp Salt to taste taste
- 1.5 cups Water (adjust as per your oats, depends on the brand)
- Optional seasoning ingredients: 1 tsp butter/ghee/oil, ¼ tsp mustard, ¼ tsp. cumin, 1 sprig curry leaves, 1 pinch hing
- Dry roast oats in a pan just for 2 mins. Then add vegetables and toss. This is done to bring out the aroma of oats and make the porridge less sticky.
- Add salt, pepper, 1.5 cups of water and cook on a medium flame , stirring occasionally.
- If needed pour more water and cook until the veggies are soft cooked.
- Heat butter/ oil/ ghee. Then add mustard, jeera and curry leaves.
- Allow the mustard to splutter.
- Add this to the cooked oats porridge , mix well and serve.
- Squeeze some lemon juice before serving.
Date and Almond Shake
This is a nourishing beverage recipe that can be used 7 days after postpartum and repeated throughout the postpartum period.
- 10 medium dates, pitted and soaked
- 1 tsp soaked fennel seeds
- 25 whole raw almonds, soaked overnight
- 1.5 C warm water
- 1/2 C cream, coconut milk, or more water
- 2 pinches cardamom
- Soak the pitted dates and almonds with optional fennel seeds overnight in separate bowls.
- The next day, drain and peel almonds. If the skin is sticky, pour boiling water over them and peel while warm. Drain the dates and fennel seeds, too.
- Bring milk to a boil then take off heat.
- Blend with 1.5 C warm water and all other ingredients until smooth.