As a labour and delivery nurse, I was fully aware that my body would go through some things when I had my first child. Even with my wealth of medical knowledge and experience teaching women, it wasn’t enough to prepare me for what I had coming. After 9 pounds of baby passes through your vagina, the word “sore” doesn’t even begin to cover it!
I felt like I had a thousand paper cuts “down there” along with my many stitches. Sitting down was really uncomfortable, and it was a disaster if I left my house without my trusty peri bottle and had to pee.
My midwives had given me a fancy little pouch before my son was born that contained some “bath herbs”. They described that it was a concentrated tea that was added to a warm bath that would help with healing. And I needed some major healing.
I prepared the bath “tea” on the stove by boiling it and adding some sea salt to the mixture and froze it while I was still pregnant. On the second day after my son was born Advil, Tylenol and cold witch hazel compresses just weren’t enough. Along with having a sore bottom, the rest of my body was achy from the work of labour. A bath sounded like a wonderful idea!
I poured the water and added the herbal bath tea to the tub. It smelled a lot like Chamomile and calendula, so I figured it must be ok.
It was more than ok…it was…AMAZING.
I soaked for a good 30 minutes, as long as my baby would allow before I had to feed him again. I felt like a new woman. The combination of the warm water, herbs and sea salt had made an incredible difference in how sore my bottom was and how achy my muscles felt. Thank Goodness, it seemed like my after pains started to settle down as well.
The next day when my midwife came to visit I poured my heart out to her, begging for more of these magic herbs. She gladly obliged and shared a secret extra packet she had in her bag with me. She told me that if I really liked it I should take the baby in the bath with me. That the herbs had wonderful calming properties for babies and would help us both to relax (which we both needed, breastfeeding a bit challenging the first few days). My son hadn’t had a bath yet, so I figured, why not? It was magical. He was so peaceful in the tub with me, it seemed the herbs helped us both relax and heal together after all the craziness of an unexpected home birth. I nursed him in the tub and all seemed right in the world.
At my next midwifery appointment I felt like a drug addict begging for one more fix. “I must have more of this magical bath potion”!!!! She told me where I could purchase my own and as soon as I got home I was on ETSY buying enough for 6 more baths.
Two years later when I was again expecting I stocked up in advance and had enough for 6 baths pre-made and ready in the freezer. I used it up quickly after my daughter was born, and I swear that having those baths was the reason I “bounced back” so quickly after she was born. I now give enough for at least 2 baths to every new mom I know along with a tin of calendula healing salve and a dozen lactation cookies. Most of them call, text or email me a few days after their birth begging to know where to get more!
So what makes this magical packet of bath herbs so…well…magical???
The ingredients! The herbs themselves are a blend of comfrey (a known anit-inflammaroty and cellular growth accelerator), plantain (a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory), chamomile (a uterine tonic with calming properties), calendula (an anti-inflammatory that also helps to control bleeding and expedite healing) just to name a few.
When Bronwyn and I opened Balancing from Birth to Baby I told her we NEEDED to get our hands on some of these, so we could share them with new mom’s and help them heal after their babies are born. These Herbs are too good not be shared far and wide and I really feel every mom, 1st time or 10th time would greatly benefit from them in the post partum period.
We are excited to have partnered with Helen Theodosiou, of Revive Natural Health Clinic and are offering Post Partum Recovery Kits for purchase on our website in 2 sizes. Each kit consists of a sachet of Soothing Bath Herbs and a small tin of Healing salve. We also offer the Bath Herbs as part of our rented Birth Box. If you’d like more information on our Postpartum Recovery kits or any of the services and products we offer please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let us help you have a Happy Post Partum!
Maggie Hilton RN, BScN, is co-owner of Balancing from Birth to Baby, a Prenatal and Parenting Education service in Kitchener Waterloo. Maggie is a Registered Nurse with 6 years of experience in Childbirth Nursing and 5 years of experience as a Childbirth Educator. Maggie is also part time instructor at Conestoga College where she teaches maternity nursing courses to nurses looking to further their careers in the maternal-child field. She has a great passion for childbirth education, especially in regards to pain management during labour and infant feeding. She is also the mother of two young children.