This guest post comes to you courtesy of Genevieve Anne White from Mind Body Spirit Birth.
Postpartum & Essential Oils
There’s nothing more amazing than having a baby and when you hold her or him for the first time, it is pretty magical. However there are a number of “un-magical” things that come with having a baby too. My hope is to help you mitigate those a bit so you can enjoy your new little bundle as much as possible.
One of the best things my midwife did was make up some overnight pads with witch hazel on them and put them in the freezer for me. These were very soothing to a sore perineum, for sure! I also used Clara Derm Spray, which comes in a small bottle ready to spray as needed. It is designed to relieve irritation and soothe the skin, with a number of essential oils in a base of fractionated coconut oil. Included are Myrrh, Melaleuca Alternifolia (commonly known as Tea Tree Oil), Lavender, Frankincense, Roman Chamomile and Helichrysum. This combo can also be used before childbirth to help massage the perineum and stretch it a little bit, to help you have less likelihood of tearing.
Melrose can be applied in a one-to-one ratio to the perineum as needed, and you can also put Cypress and Lavender in the bath with some salts to create a Stiz bath. I haven’t used either of these options, but I have read both help quite a lot!
Bonding with Baby
Not everyone connects or bonds immediately with their baby. While I certainly did with my first child, the second one felt different and while I immediately loved her, I didn’t quite have the same emotional connection I did with my first. Part of this might be the birth experience itself; I’m not exactly sure why this happens. There’s nothing to feel bad about or ashamed of, though. It is also common to have trouble bonding when a child is premature and you cannot touch her right away, or when she has to be put in the nursery because you are in recovery from a caesarian. Whatever the reason, there are oils that can help emotionally.
Joy is one of my favorite essential oils. I used it while I was in labor to help ground me and give me a sense of peace, while also uplifting my spirits. I used it aromatically with my second daughter, putting it on me and letting her smell it while we laid skin-to-skin. I’ve read that this can help with the bonding experience, and it certainly didn’t hurt! Joy is a mix of oils including Bergamont, Ylang ylang, Geranium, Lemon, Coriander, Tangerine, Jasmine, Roman chamomile, Palmarosa, and Rose. It can be diffused instead of using it topically, and I personally think it adds a lovely scent to any room.
Gentle Baby can also help with bonding – many people put it in a carrier oil to give baby a full-body massage. If you’ve never tried massaging your baby, not only do little ones love the touch, but it also helps promote bonding with baby as well. The more skin-to-skin time you can have, the better for both of you (and your breastmilk production!) Gentle Baby contains Rosewood, Geranium, Palmarosa, Lavender, Roman chamomile, Ylang ylang, Lemon, Jasmine, Bergamot and Rose.
I don’t know about you, but waking up every 2 hours all night long can make me a cranky mama. I often wake up tired and even though everyone tells you to sleep when the baby sleeps, this isn’t exactly easy advice to take when you have a house to clean, food to prepare, or a 3 year old to look after! I do try to take a nap when I get the chance, and of course eating as healthy as possible, staying hydrated, and getting out of the house all help my energy levels. However when I need an additional boost, I turn to my essential oils too!
En-R-Gee (the oil I’m giving away!) is a great blend of oils – it has been used traditionally to help restore mental alertness and it definitely is an energy booster. Containing Rosemary, Juniper, Lemongrass, Nutmeg, Idaho balsam fir, Clove, and Black Pepper, I apply the mix to the back of my neck or the bottoms of my feet for a little boost when I need it during the day.
I also have been known to diffuse Lemon or Grapefruit to help stimulate and give a little energy boost as well. Be careful about applying lemon directly though – I have sensitive skin and it burns a little if I don’t dilute it.
Ningxia Red is also a product I use daily to help boost energy levels (it also is a great source of nutrition, which is great for breastfeeding!) – I usually drink 1-2 ounces each day.
I encourage you to stay away from caffeine when you are breastfeeding because it can affect the baby.
While not everyone decides to breastfeed, if you do there are a few oils and ideas that can help. It is important to get as much skin-to-skin time as possible, and breastfeed on demand, since both help you establish supply. To help bring your milk in, I’ve been told that Basil essential oil can really help. However once your milk has come in, Fennel can help quite a bit in increasing supply. I haven’t used it yet for that but once I have to pump, I’ll be using it because I have such a hard time getting enough when I use a breast pump. I’ve also read that Oregano can be helpful as well. You simply put a drop on each breast (not on the nipple – you don’t want them to get into baby’s mouth or eyes. Oregano is hot, too, so be sure to dilute it!
Postpartum depression is not something to mess with. If you are having feelings of wanting to hurt yourself or your baby, please call your healthcare provider right away. This is something that you don’t need to be ashamed of – many, many women go through it. However for your health and your baby’s health, please get help. Baby blues can be serious or mild and I know from experience that it helps when you can talk to someone about it so I personally recommend that too.
For mood enhancement, though, a few oils can certainly help matters. These were all recommended to me by my midwife after birth:
Progessence Plus Serum is a natural progesterone made from wild yams, Ylang ylang, Jasmine, Joy, and Frankincense can all be used to help with the baby blues after birth. Again, though, this is something you should be discussing with a healthcare professional too.
Of course, in my opinion, nothing helps healing more than baby snuggles! Enjoy your sweet little one and hold him as much as he wants to be held – you can’t spoil a baby! Congratulations on your new love – infancy goes way too fast, so I hope you get an opportunity to slow down and enjoy that new baby smell, the soft, soft skin, the way baby lays her head on your breast and closes her sweet eyes. The first little smile and those reaching hands. There is nothing better in life than a baby snuggle.
If you’re loving what you’re hearing and want to try the oils, I personally recommend the Premium Starter Kit which includes 11 oils and a diffuser – plus gives you 24% off of any of the other oils you purchase (and doesn’t have to be renewed yearly either!). You can order here.
*None of these statements have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease.