5 Ways Herbs Can Aid Post-Pregnancy Care & Breastfeeding

RYT 500 By Amy Jirsa
RYT 500
Amy Jirsa, LMT, is a master herbalist, E-RYT 500 yoga teacher, forager, and writer from Maine. She is the author of Herbal Goddess: Discover the Amazing Spirit of 12 Healing Herbs with Teas, Potions, Salves, Food, Yoga, and More and the founder of Quiet Earth Yoga.

Herbs can ease the transition into motherhood (both for the mind and the body) just as they eased your transition into pregnancy. One of the toughest aspects of being a new mother (besides the lack of sleep) is the rapid hormonal changes the body goes through as soon as the baby is delivered. Let herbs do the heavy lifting of this transition while you rest and indulge yourself as much (and as often) as possible.

1. Hormone balance

Using liver-healing herbs is one way to ease this transition. Cleansing the liver assures that this filtering organ is in top form—all the better to get those hormones out of the body as easily as possible. Try a tea of blessed thistle, dandelion root, wild yam root, and astragalus root. Combine one tablespoon of each in a quart jar. Pour boiling water over the herbs, stir and steep fifteen minutes. Store this in the fridge and drink throughout the day.

You can also add a tablespoon of fennel and marshmallow root to help boost breast milk production.

NOTE: Take this tea no longer than the first two months after birth.

2. Body reshaping

The body is also reshaping itself as the uterus returns to its normal size. To ease the pain and discomfort of this transition, try mixing raspberry leaf tea with lemonade as a postpartum tonic to help retone the uterus.

3. Emotional support

The nervous system definitely goes for a ride after giving birth. Try a blend of black cohosh, crampbark, wild yam, motherwort, and hops. Combine these herbs as a tea (see directions above) and sip on it when you feel frazzled.

4. Nursing support

To ease into breastfeeding and to add nutrients to your breast milk, try a tea of the following herbs: red raspberry leaves (1 tbs), nettle (2 tsps), borage flowers (2 tsps), blessed thistle (2 tsps), and fennel seeds (2 tbs). Place the herbs in a quart jar, steep 10 minutes. Drink 1-4 cups per day.

5. Pampering

New mamas need to de-stress in order to heal. Now, we all know that baths are really wonderful for relaxing sore muscles, but they’re also a great go-to for easing hormonal fluctuations (be sure to keep a thermometer nearby—you don’t want the water hotter than 99 degrees).

For aches and pains, try a raspberry bath tea:

  • 3 tbsp. red raspberry leaf
  • 2 cups boiled water
  • 1 cup Epsom salt

Mix raspberry with water and steep (as you would a tea). Draw your bath and add the tea and salts.

Of course, new babies need pampering, too. When bath time comes around, try adding a few drops of lavender and/or chamomile essential oil to the bathwater. The aromatherapy will help soothe the baby and ready her (and you!) for sleep.

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