Written by: Jen Wittes of Welcome Baby Care
1. DIY Sitz Bath – There are many Sitz Bath “mixes” on the market, as well as recipes for you to follow at home. Most contain comfrey, lavender and raspberry leaf. Not up for the hassle and expense? You can DIY with tea bags in shallow warm water – chamomile, lavender or raspberry leaf. NOT peppermint or ginger…OUCH!
2. Easy Postpartum Pads – Whether you have a hospital or home birth, your nurses and midwives will give you cold packs to soothe your sore (and possibly torn and sutured) perineum. When the supply of cold packs runs out and you are at home, alone and healing, you can make your own by dipping maxi pads in a solution of witch hazel, aloe vera gel and lavender essential oil before freezing them.
3. Eat Your Soup – Doulas know that the traditional postpartum meal across many generations and cultures is hot soup. Why? The Chinese believe it restores your heat or “chi” which is said to leave in the process of childbirth. In Western cultures, we find that soup – often rich in nutritious ingredients – just makes us feel better. When you’re tired, hot liquid foods are easier to stomach and make you feel relaxed. Check out my favorite soup recipe.
4. Hydrate Like Crazy – During birth, you lose quite a bit of blood and fluid. After birth, your body continues to expel the fluid retention of pregnancy through frequent urination and sweating. Both breastfeeding mothers and those trying to suppress milk production need to replenish the fluids lost in lactation. Heavy hydration also helps aid in muscle recovery and involution (or the return of the uterus to pre-pregnancy size). Water, water, water! Tea is great too. I also like a simple restoration smoothie of frozen blueberries, spinach and coconut water.
5. Ask for and Accept Help – Soup is not the only multi-generational, multicultural postpartum tradition. It is customary to surround the new mother and child with abundant love, support and practical help. In the U.S., we have fallen away from this to the detriment of our women. The expected quick return to work and participation in a continuously plugged in word only exacerbates the problem. Whether sought out and hired or volunteered, postpartum support is crucial. YES to the neighbor’s offer to walk the dog. YES to every casserole. YES to anyone or anything that helps you get in a nap and a hot shower.
Dr. Katie Corazzo is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing throughout the Twin Cities in Edina and Woodbury, MN. She specializes in women’s health and fertility. Natural medicines and nutrition are used for treatments.