There's nothing quite like a soothing bath, particularly in those first postpartum days, when you're yearning for speedy healing and recovery! If the postpartum herbal bath isn't high on your to-do list following delivery, it's probably because you, A) haven't heard a darned thing about it, B) don't have time to read about it, or C) don't feel like throwing together a recipe today, tomorrow, or yesterday. If the answer is B, just know that the postpartum herbal bath is amazing, and your perineum will thank you. If your answer is C, then my friend, Althea, with Mother's Life Tea, has prepared the herbs for you, and has teamed up with me to provide this article to you!
And if you do have time to read on, kudos!
It's no secret that, throughout history, herbs have been used and proven beneficial throughout pregnancy and after delivery. Dr. Christopher (Herbalist) sums it up: "When taken regularly in pregnancy, the infusion will quiet inappropriate premature pains and produce a safe, speedy, and easy delivery. Raspberry leaves stimulate, tone, and regulate before and during childbearing, assisting contractions and checking hemorrhage during labor, relieving after-pains, then strengthening, cleansing, and enriching the milk of the mother in the post-deliver period."
So what IS the postpartum herbal bath?
Think bathtub plus healing, soothing herbs. It's like relaxing in a giant cup of tea. This soothing soak will decrease swelling of the vagina after childbirth. What new mom would pass up reduced pain and inflammation of swollen, irritated tissue around the vagina, perineum, and rectum?? The soak will also reduce breast soreness and assist in the healing of tears, sutures, and swelling symptoms of hemorrhoids. And if you happen to not be pregnant, but simply enjoy scouring my website and reading this article, and maybe you even stalk me a little, you may be interested to know that the herbal bath is also beneficial for women during their cycles, reducing inflammation, discomfort, and pain from swelling!
And how am I going to find the time to take a bath when I have a newborn?
Your babe will benefit from the postpartum herbal bath, too! Remember, you're not the only one who needs healing! Specifically, we're talking about that cord stump, as well as any irritated skin. The postpartum herbal bath is physically healing, and can also be a profound opportunity for emotional healing and bonding with baby.
Hold on. What does this have to do with photography?
Many of my clients love to have baby's first bath captured in photographs. The serene, postpartum herbal bath, filled with delicious cuddles and breastfeeding, is a great alternative to the more rushed and stimulating hospital bath. If this is something that interests you, we can definitely incorporate the herbal bath into your Afterglow Session.
What are the ingredients?
You'll see many variations of the herbal bath if you sift through the internet. Here's what's in Mother's Life Tea's Soothing Sitz:
Canendula Flowers: It prevents infection and aids in the healing of the perineum.
Chamomile Flowers: With anti-septic and anti-inflammatory, properties, it soothes irritated tissue.
Shepherds Purse: It serves as a coagulant and vasoconstrictor. Helps your uterus to contract blood vessels and lessen bleeding.
Epsom Salt: It treats aches and pains.
Comfrey Leaf: It relieves and protects swollen tissue, tears (by acting as a cell proliferant). Comfrey is deep healing for perineal muscles, soothes tissue, and relaxes nerves.
Uva Ursi: It kills bacteria in the urinary tract.
Plantain Leaf: It facilitates healing and prevents infection. Contains an anti-microbial agent, stimulates tissue regeneration, and reduces pain.
How do I prepare the herbal postpartum bath?
- Visit Mother's Life Tea and purchase a couple of the Herbal Sitz Baths.
- Prepare your herbs during early labor (or kindly ask your partner to do it for you).
- Pour half a bag of the premixed herbal sitz to approx. 2 qts of water.
- Bring to a boil and let gently simmer for approx. 15 min.
- Strain off the herbs and set aside (may be used twice).
- Pour some of the mixture into a peri-bottle for use at home later (you'll thank me). Set aside.
- This mixture can be stored at room temperature for 24 hours, or in the fridge for 2-3 days.
- Pour mixture into 3-4 inches of warm bath water in a clean tub. Stir.
- Relax and soak in your warm Mother’s Life Teas Soothing Sitz for 15-20 min.
If your baby will be joining you in your herbal soak, be sure the water is not too warm. Support baby's head above water, allowing baby's body to float. Enjoy this amazing healing and bonding opportunity!
**WARNING - If you plan to add flowers to your herbal bath for visual appeal, be sure they are pesticide-free**
How soon after birth can I take the postpartum herbal bath?
You can take a sitz bath as soon as you feel comfortable. If you've hemorrhaged, you may not be as comfortable taking a bath right off the bat. You'll want to check with your midwife or OB before soaking, to be sure they are no longer monitoring your bleeding closely and are satisfied with your clotting.
Can I take the postpartum herbal bath at the hospital?
Many delivery rooms these days do come with tubs. However, some recovery rooms are provided with only showers. If your recovery room has a tub in it, then yes, the tub is there for you to use! However, you'll want to bring your herbs already brewed, or ask your doula to bring them. If the room has no tub, you can still benefit from the herbal sitz by planning ahead at home. Just saturate a maxi pad in the soak, put it in a shallow bowl, and freeze it until you're ready to head to the hospital. Do the same for a couple breast pads.
Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out the Raspberry Blend Tea, the Nursing Blend Tea, and the Mending VBAC Blend Tea!
How do I prepare for Herbal Bath photos?
If you've hired me for your Afterglow Session and would like to have herbal bath photos taken during that time, please prepare:
- Clean your tub.
- Pick out a swimsuit or bra & underwear to wear in the tub.
- Warm the room generously.
- I'll be preparing your herbs and bringing fresh cut flowers, so don't sweat it!