By Jill, Contributing Writer
In our home, we use herbal remedies for a variety of ailments. For everything from relaxation to a hacking cough, I am reaching for my herb stash every time. The time I use herbs the most though is in the postpartum period. Postpartum herbal healing is awesome!
Mother’s Milk Tea
This is probably the most important thing during the immediate postpartum time is establishing breastfeeding. With both of my children, I started drinking Mother’s Milk tea within 24 hours of giving birth and I definitely attribute it to playing a role in my milk coming in quickly (within 48 hours both times) and abundantly.
I chose to make my own using this recipe, but there are many options out there that you can purchase. Be sure that whatever combination you use, the following herbs are included:
- Red Raspberry Leaf: A nutritional powerhouse, this herb contains vitamins C and E, iron, and calcium. Red Raspberry Leaf is known for toning the uterus during pregnancy and is great for hydration postpartum.
- Alfalfa: In addition to being a galacatagogue, alfalfa aids in digestion and regulates hormones.
- Blessed Thistle: Another herb purported to support breastfeeding, it is recommended to be taken in conjunction with fenugreek.
- Fenugreek: This is the most important ingredient as fenugreek is a known galactagogue.
Other herbs that may be helpful include fennel, marshmallow root, spearmint, nettle, and calendula.
Let me just say, OH MY. I did not experience this much with my first child with the exception of occasional uterus cramping while nursing the first week. But with my second child, the afterbirth pains were worse (or at least as painful) as labor itself. I think what makes afterbirth pains so awful is that you are resting comfortably with your new baby in your arms and then you are slammed with them out of the blue!
It is difficult to make the mental switch from cooing over your newborn to managing ‘contractions’ again. I did not use an herbal concoction for my afterbirth pains but really wish I had as I have hear many people rave about the benefits.
When looking for relief from afterbirth pains, be sure to use:
- Chamomile: A common herb known for general soothing and calming properties.
- Motherwort: Commonly referred to as “mother’s herb,” this herb is known for easing anxiety and balancing hormones.
- Crampbark: Known to reduce uterine cramps/pain, this seems to be the most important herb for after pain relief.
These are the things no one tells you about when you are pregnant for the first time. You learn quickly though, and asking around you find out this a very common issue that all women who have labored need help with. Perineal support postpartum is often found in the way of ice packs, sitz baths, and of course rest.
I used these New Mama Bath Salts in both a bath tub and in my peri bottle after both births. I just love this stuff and I often give it as a gift to expecting moms. You can also make your own from this recipe or this recipe. If you make your own, be sure to use Epsom salt along with these herbs for optimal healing:
- Comfrey: Beneficial for growth and repair of cells, reduces inflammation and is generally comforting, comfrey is also noted for being disinfectant and antiseptic.
- Lavender: Besides it’s popularity for soothing and comforting, lavender is antifungal, antibacterial, and antimicrobial.
- Plantain: This herb is praised for wound healing and is known to be antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. Topical use of plantain has historically been used to stop bleeding.
You might also find yarrow, chamomile, uva ursi, and raspberry leaf beneficial.