Nourishing the New Mother: Ayurvedic Postnatal Care Practices
Nishkramana Sanskara, in a literal sense, means an outing ceremony. This ritual is the sixth of the sixteen sanskaras in Hinduism. The ceremony signifies the child's first time leaving the house and interacting with the world. Experience of nature is introduced to them with the presence of spiritual prosperity. The ritual is significant in Hinduism and has a critical scientific logic behind its practices.
What is the right time for Nishkramana?
The fourth month is the right time for taking the baby for an outing. Before this, it is too early for a child to step out. Their immunity is also not favorable for their interactions with the world. The ceremony is held on an auspicious day of the fourth month, like an Ekadasi or Pradosh. Some parents conduct the Nishkramana in the second month if the child is healthy and generally in the fourth month. The day chosen should be right according to the positions of the stars of a child. Some parents believe in following the date and muhurat told by their local priest.
Preparing For The Ritual
The baby is bathed and dressed neatly in new clothes for the sanskar. Traditionally a square area is marked in the house's courtyard from where the sun is visible. The mother plasters the square room with cow dung and clay before covering it with rice grains, while some people visit the temple for the ceremony. A conch shell is chanted along with hymns and Vedic mantras, and the child's father makes them look toward the sun. During the night, they are shown the moon for the first time. This practice implores the five natural elements and offers worship to the lord of the sun and the moon.