MIND, BODY & SPIRIT
Get back to you – learn when it’s ok to say no, in favour of taking some time to relax and unwind
Tips for self care this autumn
Regardless of whether you have a normal or complicated delivery, your body undergoes some major changes after childbirth. How you cope with these changes can have a profound effect on your overall experience. As a practitioner, I’ve noticed that most stress for new mothers stems from feeding issues, pain and complications from birth, and sleep deprivation. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about the lack of sleep. But, medicinal plants are excellent to support your wellbeing during the postpartum period and help your body to heal from the impact of pregnancy and birth. For example, Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is considered both a galactogogue and carminative herb. It helps to boost breast milk production and, at the same time, help relieve wind and tummy troubles (in both mum and baby). Fennel also increases appetite, enhances the secretion of digestive enzymes and assists in the proper absorption of nutrients. Galactogogue herbs help to increase the body’s production of breastmilk. Even if feeding is going well, these herbs are helpful to take during your baby’s growth spurts, when they are extra hungry. And if milk production is a problem, then these are wonderful herbs to take every day to boost production. Fennel, Fenugreek (Trigonella foenumgraecum) and Anise (Pimpinella anisum) are well-known as culinary spices but also double as effective galactogogues and carminatives when they are of medicinal quality. Great for breastfeeding mothers with windy or colicky babies. Nervine herbs help to support and restore your nervous system, which every new parent will benefit from. When you are relaxed, you may find your milk lets down easier, your naps are more restorative and your baby doesn’t feel stress or tension. Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) is a gentle sedative that helps to relax muscles throughout the body and calm the nerves, ideal for soothing both mother and child in the demanding times after birth. Chamomile has important woundhealing, antiseptic and antiinflammatory properties, which help to ease afterbirth pains, heal the womb and prevent infection. St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) has an uplifting effect on physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. It strengthens your nervous resilience when fear, anxiety and irritability can become overwhelming. Plus, we can’t forget about poor dad! He will also benefit from some additional support. Nettle (Urtica dioica) is a highly nutritious herb, containing strengthening minerals and trace minerals including calcium, magnesium and iron, trace minerals, vitamins (A and C) and enzymes. It is an invigorating tonic in demanding times like breastfeeding. Raspberry leaf (Rubus idaeus) is well-known as a pregnancy herb but I like to recommend it post-partum as well. It is incredibly nutritive, replenishing your body’s stores of vitamins and minerals. When taken regularly it helps to tone and strengthen the pelvic tissues supporting the recovery of the strained pelvic floor muscles. It also helps to tighten the uterus back to its prepregnancy shape. Most plant medicines are easy to take and integrate into your busy daily routine, which is important when you have your hands full with a newborn. We have a wonderful array of quality, New Zealand products that you can purchase over the counter, under the guidance of your midwife or health practitioner.
When you are relaxed, you may find your milk lets down easier, your naps are more restorative and your baby doesn’t feel stress