Disclaimer: All of the information in this blog post is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your doctor or a qualified healthcare provider if you have a medical condition or are taking any medications before using any herbal medicine.
Becoming a mother whether it’s the first time or fifth time is such a magical and beautiful moment in a woman’s life. We want to spend every second holding and snuggling our sweet baby so they are comforted knowing that their mother is right there caring for them. As new mothers we need to take the appropriate steps to ensure we have the reserves to care for our babies.
I remember when I first became a new mom I was so excited but also overwhelmed with responsibility of caring for my son. I wanted to make sure he had all of his needs met at every moment. So like a lot of new moms I neglected a lot of my own needs. I didn’t take care of my body as well as I should have and more importantly I didn’t take care of myself the way my son and my husband needed me to! Yes as a mother and wife I have a responsibility to take care of my family but in order for me to do that I needed to fill my own cup first.
The Importance of a Nourished Nervous System
It took me a long time to really understand the connection between my own nervous system and my ability to be a mother. The way I am with my children, being present with them, speaking to them with respect, having the capacity to hold them emotionally and physically comes down to my ability to regulate myself as a parent. There are many things to take into consideration when it comes to being well regulated like proper nutrition, eating nutrient dense foods, eating enough and often. And having some kind of support like a friend or family member you can call for help or just to chat. Being able to communicate well with your spouse is also important.
Tea as Ritual
But all that being said, there are times when turning to a warm cup of tea was so comforting. It actually became a little ritual for me. When my baby was sleeping or playing happily on the floor, I would brew up some tea with honey, sit on the couch and get as cozy as I could. My warm cup of tea always felt uplifting. I am so grateful for the extensive knowledge I had of herbs so I knew what herbal teas would be best at any given moment. And I’m really glad to share that knowledge with you here.
What are the benefits of drinking herbal teas during the postpartum period?
There are many reasons why postpartum women should be incorporating herbal teas. Herbal teas can help to assist with many issues that may arise during the postpartum period like milk production, anxious thoughts, postpartum depression, mood support and energy levels. Herbal teas also help in getting essential nutrients that were depleted during pregnancy, labor and while breastfeeding.
What is a Galactagogue?
A galactagogue is an herb that helps stimulate and increase milk flow. Many but not all of the herbs I have listed below are galactagogues. I have indicated the ones that are.
Which herbs specifically are galactagogues?
- Blessed Thistle
- Fennel Seeds
- Goats Rue
What is an adaptogenic herb?
An adaptogenic herb increases the body’s resistance to biological, emotional, environmental or physical stress. They are herbs that help us cope better.
Do herbal teas have all the essential nutrients for increasing my breastmilk supply?
While I know and trust in the incredible healing powers of herbal teas, I do know from personal experience and from years of study that food is the best medicine. Eating a nutrient dense diet is so important during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Eating foods like meat, eggs, high quality dairy and fruit will not only increase your breastmilk supply but it will also make your breastmilk super nutritious. To learn more about what to eat to help support your breastmilk supply please read my post Foods to Be a Well Nourished Mother.
What do I need to do to be healthy during this postpartum season?
Remember that a healthy lifestyle is more than just one thing. To me a healthy lifestyle means high quality food, loving relationships, the ability to cope with stress, movement, sunshine and beauty. Bringing pieces of beauty into our lives like cut flowers or a beautiful painting does so much to help us feel happy and calm.
Do herbal teas help with postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety?
Again I must state that I am not a medical professional and the information provided here is for educational purposes only. If you or someone you know is suffering from postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety then seek medical attention immediately.
If however you are experiencing some nervousness like many postpartum women and new mothers do then I do believe that herbal teas can be very uplifting and calming.
27 Herbs for Postpartum Healing and Recovery
1. Alfalfa Loaded in vitamins and well balanced in minerals. Alfalfa helps to promote breastmilk flow.
2. Ashwagandha– Ashwaghanda is a great adaptogenic herb because it works on the adrenal glands helping to normalize cortisol levels. Adrenal function is so important for our well being and overall health because the glands produce hormones that are involved in so many important processes in the body like metabolism, immune response and how we cope with stress.
3. Astragalus Root Another great adaptogenic herb, Astragalus helps to rebuild energy levels and nutritional reserves during the first weeks postpartum.
4. Blessed thistle– Blessed thistle supports the endocrine system helping with hormone balance. It is a wonderful herb to help increase breastmilk supply.
5. Catnip Catnip is a wonderful herb for nursing mothers because it is a relaxant. It is calming for mother but also can be nursed through to calm a colicky baby.
6. Chamomile an anti-inflammatory and helpful with anxiety. Chamomile tea is also a remedy for teething. A mother can drink a cup of chamomile tea which will get into her breastmilk supply and into the baby. Another option is to brew the chamomile tea and dip a wash cloth into it and then freeze the wash cloth. The frozen wash cloth can then be given to the baby to chew to soothe sore gums.
7. Cinnamon Even though cinnamon is not exactly an herb, I still wanted to include it. Cinnamon is a warming spice that I like to add to a lot of my herbal teas. Keeping warm, especially in the pelvic region is very important for postpartum women to heal properly.
8. Dandelion Leaf and Dandelion Root Dandelion tea is another wonderful herb to be used in many stages of a woman’s life. It is powerful herb for cleansing the liver and the kidneys.
9. Damiana Once you have passed the initial postpartum period and you have been cleared by your doctor or midwife, you maybe ready for physical intimacy again. Damiana is an aphrodisiac that can be very helpful to nursing mothers when we are not quite in the mood.
10. Fennel seeds Fennel seed tea is a well known galactogogue. Combine it with other herbal teas to make a herbal blend that will increase breastmilk supply.
11. Fenugreek Fenugreek is another popular galactagogue that helps with the development of breast tissue.
12. Ginger Root Ginger root tea will warm you up like no other herb I know. It increases circulation, bringing blow flow toward the pelvis, an important part of postpartum recovery.
13. Goats Rue an incredibly important galactagogue because it not only increases breastmilk supply but it helps develop glandular tissues in the breast.
14.Hawthorn Whether its the berries, leaves or flowers, hawthorn tea is a great herb to use for nervous heart.
15. Hibiscus Hibiscus is one of those herbs just like rose petals and lavender that all women can benefit from having in their life. It is incredibly moisturizing and hydrating while breastfeeding.
16. Holy basil or Tulsi Basil Another adaptogenic herb, Holy Basil or Tulsi is a very important herb in ayurvedic traditional medicine. It is often given to help with restoring balance in the body after a stressful event like birth.
17. Hops Hops has long been used a galactagogue as well as a nervous system tonic. Some people do not mind the taste of hops in tea form but most use it in tincture form. In some cultures women were given a small amount of hoppy beer to help increase their breastmilk supply.
18. Lavender Often used for depression, lavender is helpful during postpartum hormonal shifts.
19. Lemon balm– A wonderful herb that soothes the nervous system, aiding in anxiety and depression. Lemon Balm tea is calming and promotes restful sleep.
20. Motherwort- Motherwort is a wonderful herb to support the heart during times of anxiety and stress. Motherwort tea also supports the female reproductive system which is another reason this a great postpartum herb.
21. Nettle leaf- a wonderful herb for strengthening the kidneys and adrenal glands. Nettle leaf tea is a great healing tonic for women at all stages of life. Nettles also help postpartum women recover from heavy blood loss during labor since it is loaded in minerals and b vitamins.
22. Oat straw– sometimes being a new mother can be overwhelming. In stressful times it’s good to have an ally like oat straw tea to sip on. Oat straw tea is great when the nervous system is feeling fried.
23. Passionflower Passionflower tea is an incredibly powerful herb. It has a way of stopping those ruminating thoughts that keep us awake at night. Use sparingly.
24. Red raspberry leaf while often recommended during pregnancy for its ability to strengthen and tone the uterus, red raspberry leaf tea is also beneficial during the immediate postpartum period in supporting the uterus to return to its normal size and tone. It is also loaded in minerals and b vitamins.
25.Red clover Red clover has been used in traditional medicine as a blood cleanser by helping the liver remove toxins from the blood. Another wonderful herb for women in all stages of life.
26. Rose petals The day before I went into labor with my first child, I couldn’t stop staring at this one rosebud in the garden that was just starting to open. It was so calming to look at and felt relaxed and open at my heart center. Which is exactly what rose petals offer in tea. Rose petal tea is calming mentally and physically and perfectly safe while nursing.
27. Rose hips Rose hips are the fruit of roses and are very high in vitamin C. Vitamin C does more than just help prevent a cold. It helps with the absorption of minerals and collagen.
Where should I purchase herbs?
The company that I typically purchase of my herbs from is Mountain Rose Herbs. Since these herbs will most likely be used while breastfeeding then it is extremely important to purchase organic herbs. Organic herbs are best since conventional herbs just like conventional foods run the risk of being contaminated with pesticides. And it is best for babies to avoid as many pesticides in their early life as possible.
Two of my favorite postpartum herbal blends
Warm & Sweet Blend
This blend is warming and feminine. Exactly what a new mother needs.
- Ginger Root
Nourishing Lactation Tea
This herbal blend does it all. It enhances lactation, improves uterus strength, nourishes the body and provides emotional support.
- Red Clover
- Oat Straw
- Red Raspberry
- Rose Petals