Herbs and Pregnancy – the who’s who of what is safe

Herbal Remedies for Mother and Baby

A few weeks back we looked at which herbs are safe to take during pregnancy and their many uses. Well this got me thinking about what happens once you have your baby.

Are these same herbs still not allowed or have the rules changed?

Post pregnancy and beyond…

You’ll be happy to know that your herbal list isn’t so restricted once you’ve had your baby. In fact there are a number of herbal remedies that can help you to deal with sleep problems and boost your breast milk content.

However, before I enlighten you to these remedies, there is still a list of herbs you should avoid, especially if you have chosen to breastfeed as they can be harmful to you and your baby.

Herbs to avoid: Bladderwrack, Buckthorn, Chaparral, Coltsfoot, Dong Quai, Ephedra, Ginseng, Ginkgo, Indian Snakeroot, Kava Kava, Petasites Root, Phen-fen, Rhubarb, Star Anise, Sophora Root, Tiratricol, Uva Ursi, Valerian and Wormwood.

Now this is by no means a complete list, so if there is a herb you are not sure about I recommend speaking to your doctor or midwife who can determine if they are safe to use (depending on your personal circumstances).

Otherwise, you can safely use any of the following herbal remedies to ease your transition into being a mother.

Herbal remedies for breastfeeding (note: herbal teas)

Oversupply of milk or weaning your baby – Black Walnut, Chickweed, Lemon Balm, Oregano, Parsley, Peppermint, Periwinkle Herb, Sage, Sorrel, Spearmint, Thyme and Yarrow. Each of these herbs can decrease your milk supply.

Increasing your milk supply – Fenugreek (can cause colic and stomach upset in your baby), Blessed Thistle, Fennel (in small quantities), Raspberry Leaf, Goat’s Rue, Alfalfa, Nettle tea and Hops flowers. These are especially good if you have had a c-section and you are waiting for your milk to come in.

Treating cracked nipples and mastitis – Phytolacca Decandra, Calendula cream, Cleavers, Echinacea Root and Garden Sage.

Overcoming depression – it is common to feel a little blue after having a baby, especially as your hormones are still trying to settle. To overcome these feelings of depression try taking St John’s Wort, Evening Primrose oil, Motherwort and Blessed Thistle.

Herbal remedies for stress and anxiety

If this is your first baby it is only natural to feel anxious especially if they are not feeding or settling well. To ensure your baby doesn’t sense your stress (which can impact on their feeding and sleep), try taking a combination of any of the following herbs:

Licorice root, Passion Flower, Kava Kava, St John’s Wort and Lavender

Herbal remedies for sleeplessness

During the first few weeks, you are bound to get little sleep with your baby needing a feed every 3-4 hours, however if like me your sleepless continued even though your baby sleeps through, then any of the following herbs can help you to relax and sleep better:

Valerian, Lemon Balm, Passion Flower, Chamomile, Kava Kava, Wild Lettuce and Hops.

Herbal remedies to boost your energy

Until your baby starts sleeping through – allowing you to get more sleep – you will more than likely spend your days feeling drained and tired. To help keep you energetic and motivated, I recommend trying any of the following: Ginkgo (if you’re not breastfeeding), Ginseng (if you’re not breastfeeding), Astragalus, Nettle, Ashwagandha and Licorice.

Use these herbs wisely (and in moderation) and they can each help to restore and renew your body so you are ready to face parenthood straight on. So why not give them a try and ensure you get the energy and sleep you deserve.

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