THE FIRST FORTY DAYS
In many countries such as India, Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Korea, in Arab and some European countries, there is a custom of letting the mother and child rest for forty days after the birth. The first forty days of a child's life are considered especially holy and are treated with great reverence. The mother and child are indoors, protected, and quiet. The mother is supported by her mother and family members, treated to special food and does not take up household tasks but rests and gathers her strength. There are few visitors, and in many places, visitors are only allowed after forty days, after which there is a naming ceremony or a blessing of the child in front of the community. Today there are centres that offer room and board to new mothers and their babies for fourty days after the birth, allowing them to recuperate for the ‘sitting days’ as they are sometimes called. There is wisdom in these customs.
The first weeks of a baby's life are very important for his adapting to a whole new world and physical circumstance. In the first forty days or six weeks, minimizing outings and visitors may be best to allow the baby to come gently into the world, giving him time to find a rhythm and rest, and for the mother to recover. To help recovery and the repositioning of the organs, it can help the mother to lie down frequently, especially in the first ten days, and to start practicing Kegel exercises to tone the pelvic muscles. Also, having help with cooking, cleaning and with care of the baby allows her to sleep, helps recovery, and can help to avoid postpartum depression.
Mother and baby 1895
by Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida
"Watch how people approach your newborn baby and you will notice that they radiate warmth and a benign quality. They will smile, conduct themselves with fewer inhibitions, exude gentleness and exhibit a lightness of being. This is the baby's doing and to respect it we have to put aside our adult assumptions and be prepared to enter a realm we have forgotten."
Christopher Clouder and Janni Nicol from Creative Play for your Baby
The adoration of the shephards
by Guido Reni
Herbal Bath Recipe*
Add this infusion to your bathwater or pour it into a rinse bottle and squeeze it over your perineal area.
2 oz (56 gr/4 tbsp) comfrey leaves
1 oz (28 gr/2 tbsp)calendula flowers
1 oz (28 gr/2 tbsp)lavender flowers
1 oz (28 gr/2 tbsp)sage
½ oz (14 gr/1 tbsp)myrrh
¾ cup (approx. 220 gr) sea salt
2 quarts (approx. 1ltr) water
Mix the herbs together, leaving out the sea salt. Bring water to a boil. Turn off heat, 1 oz (28 gr/2 tbsp) of the herb mix to the water and steep, covered, for 30 minutes. Strain the herbs into the tub. Add the sea salt directly to the bath.
Use this regularly, at least once a day, in the first week after birth. [Or make a sitzbad (hip bath) using a large, open bowl or one made to fit into the toilet bowl, you can sit in.]
* From Aviva Jill Romm’s Naturally Healthy Babies and Children 
"Herbal baths are sure promoters of postpartum healing and comfort. Useful for the reduction of soreness in the perineal area, as well as the healing of tears and stitches haemorrhoids, and swelling, they are relaxing and antiseptic. Baths should be warm and at the mom’s hip level." Aviva Jill Romm
 Gaskin, Ina May. Spiritual Midwifery. Book Publishing Company, Summertown 2002
 Clouder, Christopher and Janni Nicol Creative Play for your Baby Hachette Livre UK Company, London 2007
 Romm, Aviva Jill, MD, Naturally Healthy Babies and Children, Celestial Arts, Random House, New York 2003
THE FIRST MONTHS
CLOTHING AND CARE
FOR THE BABY