For the parents, it signifies having the sole responsibility of taking care of another human being and catering to all their needs. This can be quite exhausting especially for new parents and they usually need help to adapt.
Omugwo: All you should know about the popular Igbo after birth care
Giving birth can be a life-changing experience.
In Nigeria, there are after birth care practices that help parents make this process easier. These vary depending on the tribes and they come with unique names. For the Yorubas, there is ojojo omo, umaan for those from Akwa-Ibom and omugwo for the Igbos.
Omugwo is a practice where the mother of either of the couple helps them by providing postpartum care. In cases where none of the mothers of the couple is alive, an aunt can take this position. The grandma in this situation uses her experience to help the new mother to ease into her new role.
During this period, she prepares meals for the new mother and also advises her on what to eat that will help boost her breast milk supply. The grandma also takes care of the newborn and teaches the mother to take care of the newborn.
During Omugwo, the grandma also takes care of the new mother by helping her with hot water therapy that helps her get better quickly after giving birth. It is said that this hot water therapy helps the new mom get rid of blood clots that remain in her body after birth.
There is also the regular pepper soup prepared by the grandma for the new mom and the Swedish massage given to the baby.
The whole Omugwo lasts for a period of three to five months, after which the grandma returns home. Traditionally, she is usually sent home with gifts as an expression of gratitude by the new parents. These include monetary gifts, new wrappers and sometimes, food items.
Although the practice of omugwo is really helpful and also seen as a thing of pride by the mothers of the couple, there are instances where issues could come up with regards to conflict in ideas or what gifts to give to her when she is travelling back.
JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!
Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or: