Learn more about Omugwo, the Igbo culture of traditional postpartum care, by reading this article.
Babies serve as a concrete symbol of our affection for one another in our lives. The responsibility of caring for a newborn might be overwhelming for first-time parents. Nigerian tribes all have their own traditions for bringing a new baby into the family, such as “Omugwo” (for Igbos) and “Ojojo Omo” (“Umaan”) for welcoming a new child into the family for Akwa Ibom.
It is traditional Igbo practice for the mother of the pair to offer postpartum care with Omugwo, as it does with any other child in the family. This practice allows the new mother to more quickly adapt to her new role as a caretaker as a result of the mother’s first-hand understanding gained through this practice.
When a woman is pregnant, the woman should ensure that the lady receives adequate nutrition to aid in milk production for the newborn, as well as Swedish massage and hot water therapy, among other things.
Postpartum assistance can be provided by the grandmother in the form of sitz baths and hot water therapy. A towel soaked in hot water is used to massage the tummy of a new mother after she has given birth. For new mothers who gave birth vaginally, it is necessary to take a sit bath in order for blood clots within her reproductive system to dislodge and allow her to recover properly from the inside out.
Spicy foods, such as pepper soup, will be given to the new mother in order to aid in the flushing out of unwanted blood clots from her body and to aid in the production of breast milk in the infant. Additionally, pap is a nutritional supplement that is recommended to new mothers since it aids in raising their breast milk supply by up to 50%.
Benefits of Omugwo
Omugwo, also known as postpartum care, is crucial for the well-being and healing of a new mother. The practice of Omugwo can be beneficial, even if it results in conflict between a new mother and her husband or wife’s mother as a result of a clash of ideological viewpoints.
Another importance of this practice is that it helps the new mother to ease into her new role through the experience of the mother.
It is a beneficial Igbo culture that provides moral, psychological, and sometimes financial support for a newly delivered mother and her newborn baby.
It helps cushion the shock and effect of the transition for young parents which reduces the anxiety that comes with parenthood as research shows that first-time mothers are often at higher risk of Postpartum depression.
In conclusion, The Omugwo (After-Birth Care)
Omugwo is a very important custom among the Igbo people, although it is also extensively observed by other Nigerian ethnic groups. It is known as “Itoju omo” by the Yoruba, “Iwagwala-oma” by the Igalas, and “Umaan” by the Annangs. A new mother’s mother-in-law arrives at the house to take care of her and the baby after she gives birth. Everything is taken care of for the nursing mother, from bathing the baby to massaging the new mother’s abdomen to cleaning the house and creating special foods like pepper soups. The woman’s mother or another close relative can serve as an Omugwo in the absence of her mother-in-law. Omugwo is a source of great pride and has become such a powerful symbol that they have been known to incite family feuds over who is most equipped to care for the nursing mother and her newborn. This illness might linger for up to three months.