Nourishing the New Mother: Ayurvedic Postnatal Care Practices
This ceremony unites a lot of cultures in India. Anna means grain, and prashan means feeding. Annaprashan signifies the initiation of feeding grain to a baby. The name of Bhat Khulai is known in Himachal Pradesh, Choorunu in Kerela, and Mukhe Bhaat in west Bengal for the same ceremony. Ancient religious Hindu text smriti describes it as one of the most important sanskaras out of sixteen rites.
Why Is Annaprashan An Important Ceremony?
Food is vital to human existence. We are complete when we feed, and the cycle goes on for the rest of our lives. But, an introduction to feeding a newborn is a steady process. Annaprashan is scientifically essential as it introduces the baby to the guide to get the required nutrients they can not get from breastmilk, and they must learn to feed on solid food. Secondly, there is a belief that a baby has impurities while feeding via the mother before birth. These impurities are also meant to be purified by the ceremony.
When Should You Perform Annaprashan?
Culturally, Annaprashan is performed in the fourth to sixth month after birth. According to personal choice, parents can do the ceremony up to the first year. For girls, it is auspicious to do the ceremony on odd months like five or seven, and even ones are auspicious for boys. Before six months, it might be dangerous to feed a solid food as their immunity is low, and they might find it difficult to digest.
Rituals Followed In Annaprashan
Every culture has beautiful details about the ceremony, followed by family customs. Some of them are common to all. For instance, feeding rice pudding or kheer is a standard, while bathing a child in sandalwood and turmeric is critical to Bengali culture. Children get dressed in traditional followed by being fed by their father, grandfather, or maternal uncle. Everyone at the ceremony feeds some amount to a baby and puts rice and grass on the baby's head. A game is played after this main event in which a child chooses their future possibility—particular objects like pens, books, jewelry, clay, and food items are kept on a silver plate, and the child decides on their own.
The presence of friends and family makes the ceremony memorable for child and their friends. But it might be too immense for your Lil one. Keep your guest list short and precise. Even though it's a part of the ceremony, If the child feels moody and cranky since everyone is feeding them. Give them some space, and remember to make many fun memories.