Are you wondering what Omugwo is and why it’s so common in the Ibo culture? What are the benefits you say?
Then keep reading, we are diving into this right away.
What is Omugwo?
Omugwo is a traditional after birth care amongst the Ibo people of South-Eastern Nigeria. It is given to new mothers by their mothers to help them into motherhood, by providing knowledge and support during the first 40 days of the child’s life.
It is a practice that has some credit for keeping postnatal depression at bay.
Babies make us happy as they serve as a physical reminder of the love between the couple. After delivery, the baby has to be cared for which can be challenging for first-time parents.
In Nigeria, various tribes have various practices to accommodate a new baby into the family like “Omugwo for Igbo”, “ojojo omo for Yoruba” and “umaan for Akwa Ibom.”
How Long does Omugwo Last?
Omugwo lasts between 3 to 5 months. This can be done by the mothers mother or any close relative if the mother is no longer alive.
What is the Benefit of Omugwo For New Mothers?
Omugwo is a traditional Igbo custom for postpartum care by the mother of the couple. The importance of this practice is that it helps the new mother to ease into her new role through the experience of the mother (husband or wife).
During Omugwo, it’s the responsibility of the mother of the husband or wife to put her through what she needs to eat to help with milk production for the baby’s consumption, Swedish massage techniques and hot water therapy.
After childbirth, the grandmother helps the new mother with hot water therapy and a sitz bath. Hot water therapy involves soaking a cloth in hot water and using it to massage the new mother’s belly.
Sitz bath is a necessary practice if the new mother gave birth vaginally so that blood clots in her womb can come out so she can heal properly internally.
The new mother will be given spicy foods such as pepper soup to help to flush out unwanted blood clots in her body and help to boost breast milk production. Pap is also another food option given to the new mother as it helps to boost her breast milk supply.
After-birth care, Omugwo, is necessary so that the new mother can rest well to regain her strength. The practice of Omugwo is helpful although there might be friction between the new mother and the mother of the husband or wife because of conflict in ideas.
What to Get Your Mother After Omugwo
After Omugwo, the couple is meant to give the child’s grandmother some gifts. Here are the things you can get for her that will mean something for her. The unspoken rule here as the husband of the new mother is to do things according to your pocket.
Suitable items to get for your mother after Omugwo;
- George or lace material with assorted types and colors.
- Food items like yam, rice, plantain, chicken
And any other thing you have the finances to give her.
Whatever you buy, ensure there is very high quality George lace material among it. Assorted types/colours if possible. Don’t overdo it though. Add money on top. A decent amount too.
But it depends on the woman’s socio-economic situation. If she’s a multi-millionaire, giving her 50 or 100k won’t really seem right. A valuable present would do.
George wrappers and laces are a must in Igbo culture. It is assumed that carrying the new baby wore out her wrappers.
It’s very good for the new mothers to have someone who will help them transition from the pregnancy to the state they were in pre-pregnancy. Omugwo is helps both the new couple and the visiting mother or relative.
It creates joy and connection between the families as sometimes both mother-in-laws can come around and you’ll get a full house.
The greatest beneficiaries of this is the new couple as they get all the help they need just after the new baby is born.
Don’t discourage your wife from doing this as she might not be able to cope and it can also cause disharmony.