ayurvedic baby care practices : part 1

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At Krya, we are often asked to describe in detail what the ayurvedic baby care practices are to be followed at home. We are also asked what the science / rationale behind some of these practices are. This is specially asked because in today’s day and age, many traditional baby care practices are being rejected by attending Pediatricians for many reasons. The foremost reason being there is a simple lack of awareness as to why these practices were instituted and the benefits behind the herbs, metals and dravyas which are used in Ayurvedic baby care.

Indian traditional medicine is highly advanced in its thought process and concepts suggested in many fields. However, due to oral transmission of texts, repeated invasions and the strong promotion of a Westernised concept of Education, we have lost both the language needed to interpret these texts (Sanskrit) and a large portion of the texts themselves.

Even what is remaining to us, (a fraction of a fraction of a fraction) if followed even to a small extent, can greatly improve the health, well being and outlook of both the baby and the post partum Mother. To speak about these practices will require more than 1 post. We will start in this post by talking about a few practices, and then build it from there.

Mother & baby in seclusion: ayurvedic baby care practices to improve health and reduce infections

Ayurveda frowns upon the frequent disturbance of the new Mother & baby. Both of them are said to be recovering from a great ordeal. In the case of the mother, due to the nature of pregnancy and child birth, she is greatly weakened. As the baby is extremely young and organ systems are still not fully developed, immunity is low. As the baby depends upon the Mother for nutrition, we have to be careful about giving strong medications to either.

ayurvedic baby care practices: seclude mother & baby for first 3 months to avoid risk of infection

Hence to avoid all these issues, an important ayurvedic baby care practice is to seclude the mother and baby until they recover strength after child birth. This period can vary depending upon age, health and strength of the Mother and general health of the baby. Visitors are asked to meet the baby after atleast 2 – 3 months. Unless necessary, the baby and Mother are to be at home and should not leave the home until 4 months have passed.

Visiting a New mother and Baby:  good gifts to carry as per Ayurveda and rationale behind this

Recently I had the opportunity to meet my friend’s 3 month old baby girl and take Ayurvedically approved  auspicious and good gifts. I had carried silver anklets, a silver bindi stamp and a bracelet made of vekhand (vacha / Acorus calamus) along with the Krya traditional baby massage oil and the Krya ubtan for baby girls for the Baby’s Abhyanga Snana.

Ayurveda tells us that a baby must be bathed, anointed, fed and protected with a combination of the right herbs, metals and of course be treated well in a loving atmosphere with positive energy. It goes without saying that this loving care MUST be extended to the newly delivered Mother who has sacrificed her blood, bone, tissue and vital Ojas to lovingly protect, nourish, grow and care for this baby from the time it was conceived.

The Mother and Baby must be given rest, freshly made warm food, a loving atmosphere of serenity, and must be nurtured to strength in a positive, Ojas building atmosphere with an emphasis on the use of good sounds and air purification.

The herbs must be delivered in a variety of forms as must the metals. To encourage the skin contact of these metals and herbs, we carry anklets made in silver, bangles / necklaces made in gold, Charms / bracelets made of vekhand, and strength and immunity infused ayurvedic oils, Ubtans, etc. More will be explained about the significance of these choices in the new few paragraphs.

A brief note on the use of Silver & Gold in Ayurvedic baby care:

Silver and gold are considered extremely beneficial for babies, and in fact everyone, as per Ayurveda. Silver is to be worn on the baby’s person under the waist region (and not above). The presence of this metal is said to enhance brain development and eye sight as it is minutely absorbed through the skin. It also helps cool pitta in the genital area.

Ayurvedic baby care practices: silver is beneficial for baby's health when worn below the waist

Additionally, if baby is fed using a silver spoon / bowl (once weaned), the food is also enhanced with very minute quantities of silver which further enhances this effect.

For baby girls traditionally, home made kajal or home made Kumkum (which has not been offered to the Divine) is used to draw Bindis and drishti dots. Using a silver bindi stamp instrument or a simple silver stick (as is used to draw Thiruman Kaapu) to draw this Bindi, is another way of incorporating Silver into the Baby’s Regimen. When used in this area, Silver helps clarify the Ajna chakra and also additionally helps cool the space around the eyes and the head.

Gold is used as a samskara as per Ayurveda for babies, post partum mothers and everyone in the family. One samskara that is to be regularly followed is to give the baby “baal guti” or “janam ghunti”  a combination of 25+ ayurvedic herbs, honey along with gold. (Here I am speaking about using the whole, authentic raw herbs along with honey and gold rubbed everyday on a herb grinding stone – I am not referring to newly available Baal guti syrups, compounded preparations, etc. If you would like to try these, please do your research and choose preparations made by reliable, authentic ayurvedic companies only after consulting with your Vaidya).

Each herb is moistened and then rubbed on the herb grinding stone for a specified number of circles. The dosage of the herb changes as per the baby’s age, prakriti and physical concerns. For younger children, the circumference of the circle drawn reduces, reducing the dosage. Depending upon the age, either water or breastmilk is used to moisten each herb. Once this is done, depending upon the baby’s age, a drop of honey is added to this mixture. Finally  gold is incorporated by rubbing it on the clean grinding stone in a clockwise direction along with the mixture of honey, and other herbs. If you weigh this gold after this, there will be no visible difference in weight, but extremely sookshma particles of the metal would have entered the herbs and therefore the baby.

Baal guti is an excellent immunity builder and strength enhancer for babies, if procured correctly upon the advice of a qualified, experienced ayurvedic Vaidya. It is better not to self diagnose in this case. If a Vaidya is not available, but the family traditionally uses this and an experienced older person can advise on the herb combination, one can go ahead too.

Gold is an important metal to be used in very sookshma quantities as a “Samskara” and not directly as a metal. When we say Samskara, we mean the process of energy transfer that occurs when gold simply interacts with the herbs or with the food. In this process, we use highly minute, undetectable quantities of gold every time we follow this Samskara. But as this is a powerful and potent metal, even these quantities are more than enough to improve our health and well being.

ayurvedic baby care practices: gold improves rakta and medhya

Gold is a powerful metal to improve Rasa, Rakta (quality) and Medhya.

Another way of incorporating gold and silver samskara for Adults, is to eat out of a silver plate which has a small gold coin embedded in the centre. As your food is ladled onto the silver and gold in your plate, the metals interact with food, transmitting their beneficial quantities in minute, controlled doses over time. If it is possible, it is excellent for the family, especially the mother to eat out of such a plate.

Vacha / Vekhand / Acorus calamus : a valuable herb to nurture a baby as per Ayurveda

We often write about Vacha / Vekhand on the Krya blog. Vekhand (vacha) is a critical herb for babies as per Ayurveda. This is why our baby ubtans, baby bodywashes, baby hair oils and baby massage oils all contain Vekhand. Vekhand improves both medhya and vaak (intelligence and speech) as per ayurveda. Hence we are advised to use it regularly for the baby.

Besides this, Vekhand is also a very good drishti and dosha nivvriti herb. It drives away fear and keeps negative energy at bay. Therefore the Ayurevdic Samhitas tell us that the baby’s nursery should always contain a herb potli (bag) with lots of vekhand (among other herbs).

The vekhand bracelet is also a good idea to incorporate the properties of Vekhand. Here we use a thread dipped in turmeric overnight to string together cured , even sized pieces of vekhand. This can be tied around the baby’s foot for older babies. In younger babies whose teeth have not yet developed, this can be tied securely around the wrist. As the baby explores and chews on this bracelet, some of the benefits of the vekhand will be absorbed internally. This is a traditional practice followed in Tamilnadu and other regions in the south. This bracelet is easy and safe to make at home, and makes a great gift for an infant.
ayurvedic baby care practices: vacha nurtures baby and strengthens immunity

Vekhand powder is another suggestion given by our acharyas to ensure that the baby’s routine incorporates this herb. We are asked to smear Vekhand powder after towel drying the baby after the daily Abhyanga-Snana and BEFORE Dhoopa / Fumigation. Vekhand on the chest increases valour and courage and also acts as an excellent immunity booster. As small babies are often subject to issues of kapha aggravation, Vekhand on the chest prevents the quick buildup of such problems.

Physical , Spiritual & Pranic cleansing of the Nursery: ayurvedic baby care practices that cleanse aura & ward off negative energies

The construction, care and protection of the child’s nursery is as an important subject that has been dealt at great length across the Samhitas. The Acharyas recommend cleansing on 3 levels: Earth, Air And space using a combination of herbs , water and sounds.

ayurvedic baby care practices: physical, etheric and auric cleansing

An important part of ayurvedic baby care practices is to clean the nursery floors with a specific mixture of herbs. The Samhitas suggest choosing a herb mixture containing rakshoghna (insecticidal and anti bacterial) herbs like Nimba (Neem), Mangalya herbs (herbs that contribute a positive aura like Benzoin, Tulasi) and Vekhand.

The Krya Sookshma floor cleaner is an excellent product for this purpose. While the Sugandha floor cleaner also fits most of these requirements, as it contains organic essential oils which are potent, we recommend using the Krya Sookshma floor cleaner instead in a home with babies.

Krya Sookshma floor cleaner is a 22 ingredient whole plant formulation that uses very powerful air and space cleansing plant resins like Benzoin , Edible camphor, and very powerful Rakshoghna herbs like Eucalyptus, Lemongrass and Mangalya herbs like Triphala, Tulasi, Soapberry, etc along with Vekhand.  We recommend that the room in which the post partum Mother and infant live , be swabbed twice a day with the Krya Sookshma floor cleaner. Use a slightly higher quantity than you would use in the rest of the home.

ayurvedic baby care practices: krya sookshma floor cleaner recommended to swab nursery floors

Medicinal Fumigation is part of ayurvedic baby care practices suggested in Ayurveda to cleanse Air and Space that surround the infant and the mother. Certain herbs are better suited to the medium of smoke, so we are able to absorb their properties better while doing Medicinal Fumigation.

As reliable products are not easily available for this purpose, we suggest that the nursery be regularly fumigated with well dried A2 cow dung cakes. If you can source good quality Medicinal Dhoops which do not have any added essential oils / fragrances and use only Ayurvedic herbs that are properly processed, this would be excellent.

Otherwise using desi cow dung cakes is a very good start. This is a Mangalya dravya, purifies and sanctifies the air and also naturally repels mosquitoes. This should also ideally be done twice a day after the room is swabbed as suggested above.

ayurvedic baby care practices: fumigation using ayurevdic herbs and desi cow dung is an excellent practice to cleanse the air and space

Additionally, after cleaning, swabbing and smoking the Nursery, Ayurveda recommends keeping bags of raw herbs at the entrance of the nursery and tied to the baby’s cradle. A mix of Drishti and Dosha nivvriti herbs , Rakshoghna herbs and Mangalya herbs are usually suggested. A good mixture to start with is a mixture of freshly sourced, sun / shade dried and lightly crushed Vekhand, Nimba (neam leaf), Tulasi (buy a mixture of different varieties like Thiruneetrupachai, Krishna tulasi, etc) and Nochi (leaf). After sun / shade drying the herbs as is appropriate, lightly crush them using a rolling pin to release the fragrance. Make this into 2 bags and secure one at the entrance of the room, and the other on the cradle.

ayurvedic baby care practices: raw whole ayurvedic herbs should be hung in the nursery to cleanse teh aura, and attract positive energy

Sound based auric cleaning – ayurvedic baby care practices that clean Akash  and improve health & wellbeing

Sound based auric cleansing is also suggested in Ayurveda. This uses certain vibratory notes and chants to cleanse the auric energy of dwelling spaces. This is a very interesting subject that deserves many separate posts of its own, so we will limit ourselves to a simple introduction in this post.

ayurvedic baby care practices: sound based energy cleansing is particularly effective in boosting health and immunity

A ubiquitous stotram we hear in many homes is the Vishnu Sahasranama. Our Purvacharyas tell us that this Stotra is very powerful to cleanse illnesses and disease. This is therefore suggested to be played in hospitals, sick room wards, etc. This is also a good Sound cleanser for a baby’s nursery and can be played on loop atleast for 1 hour every day , AFTER the room is cleaned, swabbed and fumigated.

In the 40 Samskaras prescribed for children in Sanatana Dharma, one Samskara is the introduction of the infant to the Aalayam (temple) of God Skanda / Muruga. Shree Skanda is considered a patron god of infants and helps protect children from unexpected illness, diseases and also aids in their healthy growth. So mantras like the Subrahmanya Trishati can also be played in the Nursery.

While playing chants and music, please be aware that the baby’s hearing is extremely delicate and sookshma (subtle). Hence the best method of introducing such sounds is to actually have a human being chanting these mantras as often as possible so the vibrations and sounds can be received by the baby. This can be done by elders in the home / mother when she is stronger. The next best option is playing a physical CD / cassette on a very low volume. We do NOT recommend radiation based online / cell phone based music in the baby’s nursery.

Indian Style Cradle (Jhoola / Thooli) and its benefits: ayurvedic baby care practices to promote sound sleep and healthy weight gain­­­­

An interesting suggestion given by our Acharyas is to allow the baby to sleep in a rock-able cradle / jhoola atleast some part of the day. This is a suggestion that is also given to thin, under-nourished and emaciated adults. The Acharyas tell us that the gentle rocking of a jhoola / cradle is very beneficial for healthy weight gain and muscle development in babies. It is very calming, relaxing and soothing to the brain and helps promote good sleep and immunity. This is probably why so many olden Indian homes had an internal swing / Oonjal. This was often used to rest in or for short naps.

At my friend’s place where I went to visit her 3 month old, I was thrilled to see that she had made a Thooli / Jhoola for the baby instead on investing in an expensive infant cot which many of us are sold these days. For her jhoola, she removed the ceiling fan in one part of the hook and had got her carpenter to install sturdy hooks. She had used one of her own sarees to make the Thooli / Jhoola – so as a bonus, it smelt faintly of her, soothing the baby. The baby spent half the time in the Thooli / Jhoola and the other half in the bed with her mother- so it was a good compromise which also allowed the baby to experience skin to skin contact with the mother.

ayurvedic baby care practices: indian thooli or jhoola is a good alternative to a western cradle

If you have the space and the time, please consider using a Cloth based Jhoola for your baby, atleast partially as seen above.

Importance of daily Abhyanga Snana for babies:

As a skin care company, we have written and will continue to write about the benefits accorded by the daily abhyanga Snana for everyone. An abhyanga Snana is even more critical among young infants as it helps establish the health of their newly developing immune system, and also sets the ground for a healthy colonization of microbiota on the baby’s skin.

The Ayurvedic texts tells u that an Abhyanga Snana for babies is a health giving, immune system strengthening, sleep improving and digestion aiding practice and NOT a cosmetic practice. When done regularly with the correct set of products, the Abhyanga helps good weight gain, muscle development and improves baby’s strength and sense of well being. The Snana when done with the recommended herbs boosts immunity and the sense of well being.

A daily Abhyanga Snana is extremely beneficial when done until the age of 1.

ayurvedic baby care practices: regular abhyanga snana is very beneficial for baby

Krya’s baby products receive tremendous support, admiration and appreciation from our loyal band of parents. Most of them start using our products when the baby is around 2 weeks old and continue to use our baby products until the baby reaches 2 years of age.

Krya’s Ayurvedic Abhyanga Snana products for babies:

Ayurvedic baby massage oils from Krya:

The Krya traditional baby massage oil is the cornerstone of our Krya baby care range. This is a special ayurvedic baby massage oil developed strictly as per Ayurvedic rules and includes the correct set of herbs recommended in Ayurveda to help baby’s healthy development. In case you are wondering why this is a better choice for baby’s skin over organic, virgin cold pressed coconut oil, please read our earlier post on this subject. 

The Krya traditional baby massage oil uses Varnya, Twachya, Jeevaniya and Brhamaneeya herbs which help healthy muscle development, improve immunity and natural health and aid in establishing good skin health. This is a 32 ingredient Ayurvedic formulation developed in-house which uses 27 herbs , fruits and fresh vegetables processed in the Tila Paka method in a set of 5 organic, cold pressed oils and butters.

ayurvedic baby care practices: krya traditional baby massage oil recommended for daily abhyanga for baby

The formulation uses traditional strength and muscle improvement herbs like Bala and Ashwagandha, traditional skin health improving herbs like Durva, Ela (cardamom), Kushta, Mangalya and immunity herbs like Nimba, Aswathha, Udumbura, Vekhand, etc.

This baby massage oil is suggested for baby boys and girls from the 1st week onwards, as long as the skin is healthy. If the skin is dry, eczematic, or has other such issues, we have 2 other oils available: the Krya Lemongrass nourishing baby massage oil & the Krya Rose & Palmarosa nourishing baby massage oil.

The Krya Lemongrass & Neem flower baby massage oil is designed for Pitta based skin abnormalities. Here the skin has redness,  warmth, and there is a lot of skin irritation and itching. The Krya Palmarosa & Rose baby massage oil is designed for Vata based skin abnormalities. Here the skin is dry, flaky, cool to touch and feels taut / tight in cold seasons.
ayurvedic baby care practices: krya nourishing baby massage oils are formulated for babies with sensitive skin

Both oils are 27 ingredient formulations made with 23 ayurvedic herbs, organic fruits and vegetables and processed in the Tila paka method in a set of 4 organic and cold pressed vegetable oils and plant butters.

Both these oils are used extensively by Krya parents across the world to manage sensitive skin in babies. Even in very cold and extreme climates, parents have been able to successively use these products as a better, safer alternative to corticosteroid creams suggested for these conditions.

A regular massage is extremely beneficial to baby, if done with the correct Ayurvedic herbs and oils. Here is an earlier post that explains the benefits of baby massage in  greater detail. 

Ayurvedic ubtans for newborns and babies from Krya

The Snana products for baby should also be chosen with care. The correct Snana products for babies use Astringent, Aura cleansing, Mangalya, Immunity improving, warming and skin health aiding herbs . When used along with the Abhyanga oil on a regular basis, baby’s skin and overall health is improved, body feels fresh and sweet smelling , sleep quality is good and a positive aura is maintained. To read in greater detail about the benefits of Ayurevdic Snana for your baby, please read our earlier post on this subject. 

Krya has 3 products for baby’s Abhyanga-Snana. The Krya traditional ubtan for babies is available as a variant separately for baby boys and baby girls and can be used along with the Krya traditional baby massage oil.

The Krya traditional ubtan for baby girls is a 20 ingredient formulation made using Mangalya herbs like Haridra, Vekhand, Vana Haridra, Amla, Nimba, Mushta, Daruharidra, etc. The Krya traditional ubtan for baby boys is a 19 ingredient formulation made using Ayurvedic herbs like Bala, Manjishta, Vekhand, Mushta, Kalmegh, etc. Both formulations are designed to be Mangalya (auspicious), Rakshoghna (anti bacterial), Jeevaniya (health giving), Balya (immune boosting & strength giving) and Twachya (skin health improving).
ayurvedic baby care practices: krya baby ubtans are a good choice for babys Snana

For children who have skin issues, we have formulated the Krya Gentle baby bodywash powder. It pairs with the Krya Lemongrass & Neemflower nourishing baby massage oil and the Krya Palmarosa & Rose nourishing baby massage oil.

This Gentle baby Bodywash formulation is a 19 ingredient formulation. In this formulation we have used a higher proportion of Vrana (wound healing) herbs and Twachya (skin health improving herbs) apart from our other herbs. So this formulation contains Indian Sarsaparilla, Babchi, Khadira, nimba, Amla, etc.

Parents report that using these sensitive skin products have helped heal and control the manifestation of skin allergies and also reduce the incidence of eczema, dermatitis, etc. This has been achieved without using topical steroid creams, special soaps, excessive synthetic moisturizers, etc. Most importantly, they are relieved to see that the Baby is cheerful and smiling without feeling irritable and upset due to a painful skin condition.

To sum up:

This post aimed at educating new parents, parents to be, and grandparents to be on important ayurvedic baby care practices . These traditional practices are safe to use even in newborns, and work in a variety of ways. They improve baby’s health and well being, aid good muscle development, improve digestion, kindle the appetite, and aid in sound deep sleep.

Ayurveda is a broad and comprehensive Science. We have seen in this post how the Acharyas have taken care of various aspects of the baby’s health and used different techniques like herbal smoke, specific sounds, use of medicinal herbs and strengthening Dinacharya practices like regular Abhyanga Snana to boost the baby’s development.

It is a point of frustration for us at Krya that so much of this health giving, easy to do, practical and comprehensive Ayurvedic advise is lost to us. Many of us are simply not aware of these practices and are being misled about the correct set of baby AND post delivery Mother care practices to be followed.  It is an important part of our mission at Krya to help spread this knowledge. Through this, even if a few of the practices suggested in Ayurveda are adopted by you and you see a good improvement in yours / baby’s health, we would be happy.

This post is meant to inspire and not burden you. If you have not been able to follow these practices for your child, please do not feel frustrated / guilty. We are all living very fragmented lives with a great loss of knowledge. Whatever you are able to do for your baby with a loving heart is best for him / her. If you have the opportunity to help someone else with this knowledge, please do! Or you could keep this in mind for your next baby 😊

If you would like help choosing the correct Krya baby products for yourself or to gift to a new mother, please write to us or call us –(0)-75500-89090

 

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