A Nigerian tradition. Ndigbo practice it… goes by the name: Omugwo. Ojojo Omo for the Yorubas, Umaan for Ibibios. Caring for the mother after birth.


Nursing the mother and baby after childbirth. The joy of every mother and mother-in-law. Still practiced today even in our modern society. The family member is there to take the load off of the newborn, be there with every cry. Nurse her back to health, get her strong enough and pass on knowledge that she can too use to take care of her child. There is also emphasis and getting your body back, skin coloration back, sleep back; its like a 8 week spa holiday postpartum that is popular in the Igbo Nigerian culture.

  1. Hot water baths. Steaming hot water baths at which time the body is massaged. The stomach is pressed and massaged as well to aid in contracting down the uterus. Cloth is wrapped around the belly afterwards in the fashion of a girdle. This is done daily.
  2. Yam pepper soup. Lots of spicy pepe soups with fish and yams should be the main diet of the new mama. Believed that they help flush out clots and toxins, help the body to heal from the labor and pregnancy.
    1. My mother started my pepper soups from day one in the hospital. And I must say it was hot and spicy… and delicious. Omugwo or no omugwo, I was definitely appreciating the treat. Although I am not sure about how the healthcare staff fancied the strong, overpowering and fishy stockfish scent.
  3. Pressing. Massaging the baby, making the baby more flexible. Stretching all of the limbs into strange contortions, using oils. Dangling the babies by their feet and shoulders. Done after the evening bath and meant to make the baby strong.
  4. Helping with all the household chores, while you rest.
  5. Knowledge – mostly how to feed baby, bath baby, hold baby and sleep with baby. How to breastfeed and how to hold baby when breastfeeding. All the things that a new mother needs to know, they are there to show you, even how to get back in shape and when to get back to sexual relations with hubby.
  6. Gifts. Then you shower your mother with gifts for her to take home for all of her kindness.

I got a partial omugwo but my mother was hardcore! My mother is a working woman and could only stay for a weekend, instead my Anty has been helping me.

Did you enjoy your Omugwo?

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