Mother and baby

The first few days are when you need the most help from all sources. The best all round herb at this time for every new mum is nettle. Nettle tea will provide iron and calcium, so it is good for anaemia, it is an astringent herb so it will help to stop bleeding, and it imay help with breast milk production.

Other herbs which may help to stop bleeding are:

  • Yarrow
  • Raspberry leaf – also contains iron and calcium so this is good if you are anaemic or have lost a lot of blood
  • Cayenne
  • Motherwort – this is especially good for someone who has had a traumatic birth – it is very healing for the heart and the uterus and is also a calming herb.

For anaemia due to blood loss try carrot and /or beetroot juice, as well as nettle and raspberry leaf tea. Or try this formula : equal amounts of dock root , raspberry leaf and nettle – add 2 tablespoons per cup of boiling water and leave to infuse overnight. Take 1 tablespoon every 1-2 hours through the day.

For healing tissue damage try some of the following:

  • Comfrey leaf and/or root tea – put it in a bath, and in a squeezy bottle to rinse before and after using the toilet. It stops the stinging and promotes healing.
  • Calendula tincture (diluted) or ointment
  • Aloe vera gel
  • A poultice of comfrey and slippery elm
  • Add essential oil of lavender to your bath – also good for relaxing

For exhaustion after childbirth – eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, at least five portions a day. Also lots of whole grains for the B vitamins. Make sure you keep your fluid intake high – but not coffee and tea - fruit juices and water are much more invigorating and better for you.

Herbs that amay be good for exhaustion include:

  • Damiana
  • American and siberian ginseng
  • Ladies mantle
  • Oats
  • St Johns wort

Post natal blues

It is normal to have a low period for a few days after the birth – you need rest, support and good nutrition with lots of B vitamins – good sources are yeast, seaweeds, fermented foods and wholegrains; and also calcium – nuts, especially almonds, raspberry leaf and nettle, seaweeds and green leafy vegetables. However if this continues for longer then try some or all of the following herbs and other remedies as well:

  • Squaw vine
  • Wild yam
  • Vitex agnus castus
  • Vervain
  • Oats
  • St Johns wort
  • Borage

Flower remedies can be very helpful at this time:

  • Walnut – for transition
  • Mustard – for post natal blues
  • Sweet chestnut – if this is severe with other causes

Essential oils that can help – put them in your bath or a burner or dab some diluted oils on your wrist:

  • Ylang ylang
  • Clary sage
  • Jasmine

Each day do something for yourself; exercise daily; relax daily; be outside and be with other people.

Breast feeding

Nutritional herbs maybe helpful when you are breast feeding - nettle, raspberry leaf and alfalfa; as is good nutrition and plenty of fluids. Remember that everything that you eat the baby will also eat and most babies cannot cope with too many spices, tea and coffee and preservatives.

Herbs which may be able to stimulate breast milk production include:

  • Fenugreek and fennel seeds
  • Marshmallow
  • Borage
  • Dill and caraway seeds
  • Blessed thistle
  • Nettle and raspberry leaf

If you get sore or cracked nipples try one of these:

  • Aloe vera gel
  • Comfrey root and/or calendula ointment

But remember to rinse off before feeding.

If you get engorged:

  • Get someone to massage your feet while feeding the baby
  • Warm shower or hot flannels with lavender or chamomile essential oil.
  • Make a compress – using some or all of these – ginger, comfrey, potato, cabbage leaf, marshmallow, slippery elm

With breast inflammation, feed as much as possible, take lots of teas, rest and good nutrition -

  • Make a compress with slippery elm and poke root
  • Take poke root, 9 drops every four hours
  • Take echinacea – one teaspoon every four hours

To stop your milk flow, sage and parsley are very effective, so if you want to continue don’t eat too much of these.

Your baby is easy to treat if you are breastfeeding as everything you eat you pass on to your baby. Other ways to treat babies are to make a tea and bathe the baby in it, or, if they are 6 months or older to make a tea and put it in a bottle.

If the umbilical cord gets inflamed or infected use a powder – goldenseal, comfrey and marshmallow – or a diluted tincture of calendula and echinacea.

Nappy Rash

Nappy rash responds very well to fresh air and sunshine, and to ointments, poultices or baths of comfrey, chamomile, calendula and plantain.

Colic

Colic can be very distressing and can be due to your dietary intake – especially avoid tea, coffee and chocolate, and also possibly dairy products and sugar. You will have to experiment. Herbs that may help with colic and that should be taken by mum if your baby is under 6 months or in a bottle if older are:

  • Catnip, peppermint , lemon balm and chamomile tea
  • Fennel, dill , cardamom and cumin seeds
  • Wild yam – if especially bad
  • Slippery elm powder
  • Acidophilus

A relaxing herbal bath for your colicky baby would be chamomile, catnip and lavender.

Massage is good for all babies, especially if colicky or teething  – massage would also be good for you too.

Teething

Teething babies need high calcium foods and herbs – nettle and raspberry leaf tea is good. Catnip and chamomile tea may be soothing to the nervous system for pain and relaxation. Rub  strong chamomile tea on sore gums, or make a frozen ice lolly with the tea.

Skin problems

Infantile skin problems may respond very well to chickweed – baths and internally - burdock may be added for some extra help.

Digestive problems

For digestive problems try these herbs:

  • Raspberry leaf tea
  • Ginger tea
  • Meadowsweet with a pinch of cinnamon
  • Blackberries and/or stewed apple

More Information

All these herbs are obtainable from myself or any herbalist, or you can pick them from your garden . If you need further advice you can come for a consultation or just telephone me for a chat.