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Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Postpartum Recovery Pack - Because I'm Worth It!

With the birth of our second just around the corner, I wanted to share this postpartum pack that I've put together to help myself to a few different postpartum health and wellbeing traditions from other cultures. In the West new mums are generally given a couple of weeks to get themselves together and are then expected to go on doing whatever it was they were doing before childbirth. Well I'm planning on taking it easy and living it up in the first few weeks!

This pregnancy I've been reading a wonderful book by Aviva Romm called "Natural Health After Birth - The Complete Guide to Postpartum Wellness". Based on some of the things I've learned from this book I've put together a pretty beautiful postpartum recovery pack that I think all new mum's should be given. I think it would make the perfect gift for a pregnant friend. The baby gets loads of pressies but the Mum needs all the support she can get...A happy supported mum is a happy healthy baby.

The pack includes:

Hot Water Bottle with wool felted cover - ( just an old blanket with a needle felted design on the front). Traditionally heat is used a lot in the postpartum period across many cultures. Romm says "If any single theme from traditional postpartum care emerges from one culture to the next worldwide, it is the importance of keeping the new mother warm....heat usually goes beyond just keeping the ambient temperature warm, but also incorporates techniques for infusing heat deeply into the woman's body specifically for the purpose of facilitating postpartum healing." Mother Roasting or Fire Rest the practices were sometimes called. Also pictured here is the beautiful Weleda Nursing Tea, and of course nourishing superfoods in the form of raw chocolate by Loving Earth...
In Chinese traditional medicine Moxabustion was essential, so I have also included Moxa sticks which you can buy at most traditional chinese medicine centres...Use the moxa sticks to treat the area of the body over the sacrum on the back and on the front just above the pubic bone.
Bathing was another important traditional postpartum treatment. I made up some lovely herbal bath tea bags with Comfrey, Lavender and Calendula. This is a beautiful blend that is uplifting, soothing and healing. You simple boil a bag in a large pot of water, steep covered for 30 mins and pour into a hot bath. You can take the baby in the bath too for it will help heal the umbilical site. You can also use the spent tea bags directly on the perineum to help heal and soothe. Even better add a few drops of Hypericum/calendula homeopathic tincture to the muslin bag before applying to the perineum.

Nourishing herbs for the postpartum mother include: Motherwort, Shepherds Purse, Dong Quai and Nettle. There are more but these are the ones I chose and I had a naturopath make up a body tonic of these four herbs. 
Nettle is used for enriching and enhancing breast-milk production while providing optimal nutrients and energy for the mother. Motherwort is a bitter herb that helps reduce tension in new mothers and is used for strengthening the cardiovascular system. It is excellent for reducing nervous heart palpitations and anxiety and it is a uterine tonic which can help return the uterus to its nonpregnant size and allay cramps. Shepherds Purse helps to reduce postpartum bleeding and Dong Quai is a Chinese tonic herb that helps relax the uterine muscles and manage uterine cramping among many other things...
Massage is another important postpartum practice, in Malawi the midwives were noted to use their head on the abdomen on the mother and massage upwards to help return the uterus to its non pregnant position. Weleda's Arnica massage oil is gorgeous and slightly warming and arnica is brilliant for helping that feeling like you've just been hit by a bus. 
Did I mention Chocolate? What postpartum healing pack would be complete without a selection of raw chocolate bars by Loving Earth. Chocolate releases endorphins and is stimulating and has so many health benefits I can't possibly list them all here!

So there you have it. I hope someone will see this and be inspired to make themselves or a loved one a similar postpartum pack because I think it would be the best gift you can give yourself or a new mother close to you.

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