B R I O N Y, a.k.a. THE NEW MAMA NURTURER and founder of The Nesting Place is a wildly passionate woman on a mission to fill the gap in the support system for new mamas.
A qualified nutritionist, yoga teacher, massage therapist, birth and postpartum doula amongst many other motherhood related qualifications, Briony found her calling to support women on their motherhood journey after struggling with fertility issues and using holistic therapies to remedy this.
This highly compassionate woman with a strong desire to support women chats to us about the connection between Ayurveda and motherhood, her journey into becoming a postpartum doula and shares an incredibly delicious recipe for an Ayurvedic Rice Pudding!
Thanks for chatting to us Briony, I B U A Y U R V E D A evolved out of a passion for Ayurveda, and applying the principles to daily life and all aspects of motherhood - hence we are SO excited to hear that you are an Ayurvedic postpartum doula and postnatal yoga specialist.
Can you tell us what an Ayurvedic postpartum doula is, and how you apply the principles of Ayurveda into your work?
"According to Ayurvedic medicine, pregnancy and the transition into new motherhood are acknowledged as times where women need to be supported, nourished and rested.
As an Ayurvedic Postpartum Doula, my role is to make sure these things happen!"
What led you on the path to becoming an Ayurvedic doula?
I follow the Ayurvedic principles to care for new mamas. When a woman is pregnant, she is very much an abundance of water and earth, with some fire. When she gives birth, she quickly loses vast amounts of earth (the baby and the placenta), water (amniotic fluid and tears) and fire (through her blood and sweat).
During pregnancy, a woman’s body holds more heat, more fluid, blood and weight. She is prone to conditions such as reflux, indigestion, constipation, swelling and heartburn.
After a woman gives birth, she moves into the ‘vata’ dosha state (coolness, dryness and air). Because of these changes, we need to work on bringing her vata into balance.
When I support women post-birth, my focus is on:
Nourishing her with food and drinks that are: warm, sweet, moist, oily, simple and easy to digest.
Ensuring that she is kept comfortable and warm.
Providing her with soothing massage and herbal support.
Allowing her to focus on just two jobs – learning to breastfeed and bonding with her beautiful new baby.
I’d been supporting women as a birth doula for many years before I even discovered there was such a thing as an Ayurvedic doula! I first learnt about Ayurveda when I was completing my yoga teacher training. It was mind blowing, truly. I was already a trained nutritionist, but this ancient wisdom was unlike anything else I had learned and really resonated with me.
I suffered with postpartum depression and anxiety after the births of two of my children, so when I discovered there was such a thing as an Ayurvedic Postpartum Doula, I could just see how much that support would have made a difference to my own experiences. And it was from there I just knew that I wanted to offer this service to other new mamas.
What does your daily self care ritual look like?
My daily selfcare ritual is quite simple, and I must admit more consistent now that my own children are a little bit older. Being a vata dominate dosha, I include mainly cooked, warm foods and practices in my day. I love hot cups of tea and feel much more balanced if I find even a small amount of time to sit in stillness or to do a short meditation each day. I love a nice hot bath so I will include this in at least one day of my week. I practice yoga in my daily life, not asana practice every day, there are so many other parts to yoga!
Does the Ayurvedic tradition have specific guidelines during the 40 day postpartum period?
The Ayurvedic tradition does have specific guidelines for the first 40 days postpartum. Many traditional cultures around the world honour the importance of the transition into motherhood.
Across all cultures, there is a distinct focus on food, support, healing and rest for new mamas. Ayurvedic medicine supports new mamas through food, herbs, oil, massage and yoga.
Like a newborn baby, new mamas have low digestive fire and high nutritional needs. With all of the changes that her body is going through, new mamas are very susceptible to Vishama agni (irregular digestion). This can lead to conditions such as constipation, dry skin, inflammation, insomnia, fear, anxiety and lower back pain.
Special herbal supplements, easy to digest foods and massage are all part of the Ayurvedic support for new mamas.
As an Ayurvedic doula, do you have any go to recipes that help women nurture themselves during the postpartum period?
I have lots of delicious recipes I cook up for new mamas. I also use most of them at home for myself and my family too. This recipe is a wonderful one to use in the early days, helping to get the ‘digestive fires’ burning again.
New Mama’s Rice Pudding
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 6 cups water
- 1 cup of milk (coconut works well, or full cream cow’s milk or almond)
- 3 tbls ghee
- ¼ cup dark, iron-rich sugar (jaggery or rapadura is best)
- ½ tsp Himalayan rock salt
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- 2 tsp ginger powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp each clove and cardamom (optional)
- Place rice and water into a large pot and bring to the boil.
- Simmer slowly without lid, until the rice begins to thicken.
- Add ghee, spices and sugar. If need be, extra water can be added at this stage.
- Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally. When gelatinous, add the milk. Cook for a few more minutes.
- Serve hot as desired throughout the day with extra sugar and ghee.
Thank you so much for that recipe Briony!! If you could give our followers just one piece of game changing advice what would it be?
My one piece of game changing advice…this is a hard one!
I think it would have to be for pregnant women – to invest some time into planning ahead for postpartum.
So often women are so focused on pregnancy and birth that they forget to think about how important it is to plan for new motherhood.
For new mamas – to give yourself permission to rest and be cared for. This is a time of huge transformation and we just aren’t used to taking a step back and allowing ourselves to be cared for and to not to it all!
Thank you so much for sharing all of this precious information and advice with us and our readers, we understand you are a busy woman and really appreciate your time. We have heard incredible things about your business The Nesting Place, from mama's who have had you as their postpartum doula, congratulations!
What’s next for you and your business?
What’s next for me? I’ve always got lots in the pipeline. Next year I would like to put together some new pregnancy and motherhood podcasts and some more extensive online support offerings for mamas that I can’t support face to face.
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