Mother Roasting - The Lost Art of Keeping Mama Warm After Birth

Mother Roasting – The Lost Art of Keeping Mama Warm After Birth

January 13, 2018



In the United States, women get a mere three months of unpaid leave, fathers maybe a week or two. The culture is not family-oriented, community-oriented, and definitely not mother-baby oriented.

In eastern societies, birth is considered a “cold” time, when the mother’s body has opened and expended enormous amounts of energy. Mother roasting, which is simply the act of keeping the mother warm during the weeks and months after childbirth, seeks to help the body close back up, bring the organs back into their respective places, and allow the mother {and baby} to emotionally, spiritually, and physically heal. Western medicine can also see that the mother’s body loses warmth through the baby, placenta, and high amounts of fluids lost during birth, so this is not some eastern fad. Mexican societies don’t suggest mothers drink cold beverages, and in Indian societies, its the task of the father to keep a warm fire burning next to the mother’s bed for months postpartum.

Staying home during the weeks following childbirth is also called “lying in,” and is done in a number of cultures, as well. Northern Native Americans prohibited mothers from leaving the home for one month after delivering a boy, and two months after delivering a girl.

It’s clear that postpartum is not an honored time in western society today. A few hundred years ago, Colonials expected mothers to not leave the warmth of her bed for three to four weeks postpartum, and that standard is still alive in much of the “developing” world today. There are not many statistics on postpartum in America today, but a survey of mothers noted that 76% still feel extreme tiredness two months postpartum in the U.S., and close to 50% of mothers in Canada experienced pain in their head, back or perineum at two months postpartumResearch states that it takes 2.5-3 years to build back the nutrients lost during pregnancy, and I’ve personally experienced that as well. So, we can’t expect moms to bounce back in two to three weeks, or even two to three months. We should consider giving extra care to mom for two to three years.

Each culture does it a bit differently, but daily warm massages, baths, warm teas and beverages, warm, nourishing soups, belly binding, and saunas make up some of the common traditions during this important time. If you are looking for a mother roaster, check out this site’s listing or ask your postpartum doula.

Mother Roasting at Home

Here are some simple mother roasting steps you can do at home, or ask your postpartum doula to do, to bring healing after your birth.

Warm Baths

Warm baths allow the mother to relax, bring healing to sore muscles and tissues, seal up the opened body, and create a warm environment. Adding healing herbs (see teas below) will also encourage the perineum to heal on the mother, and the umbilical cord to heal on the baby. In Laos and Thailand, women are accustomed to warm saunas and baths after childbirth for many weeks.

Warm Teas

Cleansing the blood, allowing toxins and excess blood and water to flow out of the body, and sealing up the opened organs are crucial after birth.

Herbs suggested are:

  • Plantain
  • Red Clover
  • Red Raspberry
  • Stinging Nettle
  • Calendula
  • Lavender

Stay Indoors

Find a local delivery service or use Amazon delivery for your groceries, or ask a friend or postpartum doula. Allow your home to be unkempt for a few months, and focus on resting and feeding your new baby. Ask your husband to cover any drafty areas (or stay out of those rooms) before delivery. Invest in a space heater (or wood stove), and loads of warm blankets, wraps, slippers, pajamas, and bedding. Set the expectation with family and friends that they will be coming to visit (with a soup in hand or helping hand), and that you won’t be leaving the home until you’re ready.

Warm, Nourishing Soups

Ancient cultures and still many cultures today suggest women sip on warm teas, broths and soups for the weeks following delivery. Warm milk, nourishing bone broths, oiled meats, boiled eggs, sesame and seaweed broths, and broths with vegetables and meats containing high vitamin K, D, iron and protein are what you’re looking for. If you don’t have a hubby or mother-in-law that’s a great cook, and can’t prep these ahead of time, find a local postpartum doula to deliver these to you.

Belly Massage and Binding

A daily belly massage is given to every new mother in Mayan and Indian countries for at least one month postpartum, bringing latent blood out of tissues, moving internal organs back into place, bringing the uterus back to position, softening sore muscles and ligaments.

Binding the belly, also called belly wrapping, is found throughout ancient Asian, Native American, and South and Central American cultures, and is used to bring the internal organs and musculoskeleton system back into place and harmony. Mothers can use simple cotton or muslin scarves or blankets, pre-made wraps, or a traditional beng kung binding (image here). Binding has also been shown to limit postpartum uterine bleeding.
(I have purchased a traditional beng kung binding, and rent it out to new mothers. I will also teach or do the binding at intervals necessary to the mother).