Updated: Aug 8, 2019
Herbal & Naturopathic Tips and Tricks to support Breastfeeding Mamas!
Preparation- Nipple Stimulation in the 3rd Trimester.
Sore, dry, cracked nipples are super common in the first few days of feeding a new born, particularly for first time mums. One of the best tips I ever got was from a friend who advised that I desensitise my nipples by using a dry body brush to 'toughen them up.'
This should only be done in the third trimester from around 34 weeks as nipple stimulation can lead to the secretion of oxytocin which can stimulate contractions. This does however make it a great thing to do to bring on labour if you are overdue.
All you have to do is spend a few minutes each day before you shower and gently brush over your nipples in small circular motions. You will notice that after even just a few days of doing this, your nipples will feel less sensitive and you will be able to increase the pressure slightly.
You may notice your breasts start producing milk and leaking slightly which is absolutely normal and nothing to worry about, all this means is that your body is building a good supply of colostrum - your babies first milk.
Healing & Soothing Sore Nipples
Meet the #1 Mama/Baby Herb that I cannot live without.
Unfortunately, sore and dry nipples are pretty inevitable after having a small human, literally, suck the life out of them every three hours for a few days in row.
The best thing I found for this was a Calendula salve which, if I could only recommend one product for the postpartum period, this would be it. I used this for EVERYTHING - nipples, perineal tears/stitches, baby nappy rash and cradle crap. Calendula along with Camomile is my go to baby herb. It is gentle, soothing, heals wounds very quickly and best of all is super cheap!
I applied this religiously after every feed and was fortunate enough to experience nipple pain for no more than a 2-3 days.
The Game Changing Tea
This is going to sound like a bold statement but I honestly believe that the reason my baby slept through night from 6 weeks, is down to this tea. This simple infusion that nourishes both Mama and Baby, literally changed the game for me during the initial postpartum period and I wholeheartedly recommend it to every new Mama I meet.
That's it! Simply steep 2 Tablespoons of each herb into 1 Litre of boiling water for a minimum of 20 minutes (or just leave to sit until completely cool) and drink throughout the day.
Both of these herbs have a carminative action, meaning they soothe and relax muscles in the gastrointestinal tract, helping to reduce the gas and bloating that is common in new babies suffering from colic and constipation.
Fennel is an aromatic herb that not only aids digestion but also increases breast milk production making it perfect for new Mamas who are feeding for the first time.
Chamomile is a mild sedative and muscle relaxant that helps to aid sleep in stressed and overtired babies. It also contains antibacterial properties that help to strengthen a developing immune system.
Both of these herbs are beautiful, calming agents for stressed and overwhelmed new Mamas and if you get the dose right, the active constituents will be transferred to your baby via your breast milk. I would recommend 1-2 litres per day. It was summer when Daisy was born so I would just steep my herbs in a big jug before going to bed and drink it cold the next morning.
There is so much more I could recommend but as new Mums we have enough to juggle so for now I will just leave you with these essentials.
Have you tried any of these?
What are some of the things that helped you on your breast feeding journey?