What is Mother Roasting?


{Image via Sacred Pregnancy Croatia}

Mother roasting refers to the almost universal practice of keeping mothers warm immediately after the birth and in the weeks that follow. It is believed to seal the gateways, which have been opened by the birth, and to keep wind and cold from entering a vulnerable new mother’s body.

~ Rhythm of the Home

In mother-centered and traditional cultures throughout the world, the art of mother roasting is a common – and essential – practice for new mothers during the first forty days of their postpartum recovery. In Asian cultures, new mothers are given warm, nourishing beverages to sip. In India new mothers are given daily warm oil massages to help soothe strained abdominal muscles, reduce bleeding and enhance the body’s healing efforts towards the womb. In Guatemala new mothers are given hot saunas with abdominal massage (Mayan tradition). Thus through warmth a new mother is honored and given time to recuperate from the birth process, physically, emotionally and spiritually.



{A blend of healing herbs}


Soon after birth (a few days or when mother and baby return home), a bath is drawn in a clean and scrubbed bathtub for mother and baby.  An infusion is made via the bathwater with a blend of healing herbs such as lavender, calendula, rosemary, red raspberry and plantain. Herbs soothe healing tissues; both mother’s bottom and baby’s umbilical cord site. Water and herbs calm mother and baby, and skin-to-skin enhances bonding and facilitates breastfeeding. The postpartum bath is a sacred ritual to celebrate birth and initiate healing.


{Image via DFC}


Similar to the Indian and Mayan methods, two weeks after birth soothing warmth is applied to abdomen to relax abdominal muscles and soothe uterine cramping. Then belly is gently massaged with warm oils infused with essential oils. Massage draws the body’s efforts towards healing the womb, reduces pain, and helps womb involute to pre pregnancy size. The new mother can be taught herself how to perform self-massage daily to facilitate healing.


{Basic abdominal binding ~ Hong Kong Housewife}


Belly binding is performed throughout traditional Asian cultures, native American cultures, and indigenous Central American Cultures. Binding supports the weakened postpartum musculoskeletal core and supports internal organs to return to their pre-pregnant state. Binding supports the womb in the involution process to return to pre-pregnancy state, thereby reducing bleeding and risk of postpartum anemia.

A basic traditional binding may be performed with simple muslin fabric, which the mother may learn to perform herself. A more elaborate binding may be performed in the beng-kung tradition.


{Beng-kung binding, Image via mother naturale}


Warm bone broths provide essential nutrients and minerals, replenishing the blood lost during delivery, enhancing the immune system to prevent infection and facilitate healing, and helping to ensure bountiful milk production.

Herbal infusions of red raspberry leaf and stinging nettle provide essential minerals, as well as slow postpartum bleeding and replenish the structures of the womb.

Warm milk tea helps support production of an adequate milk supply.


For more information, please read:

Rhythm of the Home: Mother Roasting

Postpartum Herbal Essentials

Postpartum Herbal Bath

Mother Naturale: Bengkung Belly Binding

Nourishing Traditions

One thought on “What is Mother Roasting?

  1. Pingback: A “Birthday Candle” Cord Burning Ceremony | Mama's Milk, No Chaser

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