For many of us, pregnancy is the first time in our life we start thinking in more natural ways. Maybe we swayed towards DIY or natural before, but being a new mom really makes us start thinking about our impact the choices we make have on others. Here are some must-have DIY Herbal Remedies for New Moms you can use in pregnancy, for babies, in your diaper bag, and beyond.
Chamomile Oil - DIY Herbal Remedies for New Moms
German Chamomile is one of the most well known "child's herbs" that is both gentle and powerful. Chamomile is often used as a tea to soothe an upset stomach, working well for griping and anxiety-related stomach discomfort as well as inflammatory responses, as with allergies. This is due to its antispasmodic, carminitive, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and bitter nature, meaning it can soothe cramps and irritating contractions and is wonderful in prompting peristalsis of the intestines to improve digestion during pregnancy and in the baby stages (though keep in mind bowel irritations in babies may likely be due to breastfeeding issues that need addressed).
Here we're going to make a basic massage oil with a simple long oil infusion of chamomile for daily prenatal and postpartum abdominal massage as well as the very helpful baby I Love You massage for gas bubbles. This infusion method can be used for any herbal oil, including the 3 Sisters Salve below.
- Place about 1/2 cup of chamomile flowers and leaves in a glass jar (you can make more if you'd like - its up to you).
- Cover completely with oil making sure to cover the herbs with an extra 1 inch and using high quality olive oil. Add a tight fitting lid.
- Keep in a warm location, shaking at least daily to be sure the medicinal properties of the herbs get infused into the oil.
- After at least 2-4 weeks, strain (you can also keep the herbs remaining in the oil if you'd like to continue infusing). Store in a cool place out of direct sunlight.
If you don't have 2-4 weeks, place the herbs and oil in a glass pot (stainless steel and non coated if you don't have glass available). Place on the absolute lowest heat possible on your stove and heat for 1-10 hours. If you have an electric candle warmer, you can alternatively place the herbs and oil in a glass jar and let it heat over the warmer for extended periods as well.
With any method, the oil should have a strong scent of the herb with touched and rubbed on the skin. Chamomile is rich in volatile oils and the oil will work more powerfully with a stronger smell. You can even strain the herbs and add more herbs in after the infusion period is over, repeating the infusion steps, for a double strength. When all else fails, use chamomile essential oil with
I wouldn't recommend chamomile essential oil infusions simply because of the strength differences between the essential oil and the whole herb as well as the chemicals lacking in the essential oil. For the sake of information, however, if you decide to use an essential oil for this, dilute no more than 10 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce of carrier oil.
Use your whole herb oil infusion daily for a gentle abdominal massage, best provided to you by someone on your birth team that will have a close connection with you during that time. You're not only receiving skin-soothing benefits and optimal fetal positioning possibilities, but the increase of #oxytocin between you and your support people for more trust and labor progression support. During postpartum, this can be used on your abdomen to support healing as well for whole family massage, including your new addition.
3 Sisters Salve - DIY Herbal Remedies for New Moms
Along with chamomile oil, this ancient blend is one for the first aid kit and the beauty kit. The 3 sisters salve blends Calendula, St. John's Wort, and Comfrey, 3 ultra healing herbs.
Calendula is one of the most gentle, and powerful, skin healing herbs available and another well-known child's herb. You can use calendula in tea, fresh in salads, or garnished on the first birthday cake. Calendula is soothingly immune and liver supporting as well as antiinflammatory and increases circulation when used topically in areas to promote cell regeneration and wound healing. Score for stretch marks and boo boos!
St. John's Wort (specifically, Hypericum perforatum) is often known as the herb for depression and anxiety, but more historically used for its healing skin benefits. St. John's Wort has pain reducing abilities, anti-inflammatory properties, and is known for healing wounds, bruises, varicose veins, and mild burns (including sunburn). Score again for stretch marks, common pregnancy discomforts, and again boo boos and child activity support!
Comfrey leaf, given an uncharacteristically bad reputation for internal use by some poorly conducted studies and bad internet blog content spreading, is an extremely well known bone healer (often referred to as knit bone) and general herbal healer. Comfrey has anti-inflammatory and demulcent properties speeding wound healing and supporting proper scar formation (though not to be used for deep wounds).
Here we're going to make a salve - a thickened oil, basically, for easy application and convenient carrying.
- Use the oil infusion directions from the previous remedy, using equal parts Calendula flower, St. John's Wort, and Comfrey leaf (totaling 1/2-1 cup of herbs) and make an oil infusion. Play with your favorite oils like jojoba oil, evening primrose oil which is an excellent scar tissue healing oil, or olive oil. If using coconut oil, try blending this with something else as coconut oil is known to change the consistency of salves where it may melt in your carrying bag when it heats up later causing an absoulte mess (don't ask me how I know) or getting so hard in cooler weather your salve won't rub on easily.
- After you've made your oil infusion, strain the herbs.
- You'll need beeswax bars or pellets - whatever you prefer. Pellets will melt faster reducing you're need to heat your oil too much. You'll want 2 parts of your oil infusion to 1 part beeswax.
- On super low heat, melt your beeswax into your oil. Take a spoon and dip it into the oil and then place it into your freezer or refrigerator for about 2-3 minutes. Take it out and rub it on your skin. If it's too hard for you, add more oil 1 spoonful at a time, if its too soft, add more beeswax about a teaspoon at a time and repeat as necessary until its the consistency that you prefer.
- Pour into screw-on lid tins, lotion tubes, or lip balm tubes. Use this for chapped lips, acne, stretch marks, muscle rubs, vericose veins, scratches, burns, perineal scarring, and eczema.
- Though this herbal blend is excellent for diaper rash, when using for this purpose, use the oil infusion blend only and skip the beeswax salve so you don't trap moisture. Like lanolin, beeswax doesn't allow much oxygen through and it can make conditions like thrush and yeast thrive when these conditions really need a lot of oxygen and air (remember, most humans out of diapers don't mess with diaper rash because their bums are clean and dry).
Lavendar Infused Witch Hazel Wipes - DIY Herbal Remedies for New Moms
Last but not least, every new mom is looking for the best bum tools. Air for pee, and water for poop is really the best way to go. Diaper free and limited diaper usage goes a long long long long way. You absolutely can start teaching your baby to use a toilet from day one - it mostly just takes a little effort on your part (though, so does changing diapers, and definitely potty training after possibly a few years of learning to pee and poop in your pants). Elimination communication (i.e. good old fashioned use less diapers techniques) is mostly about sitting your baby on the toilet no less than every 2 hours, when they wake up and after they nurse and whenever they seem like they need to go (which you can start to figure out if you have the time). When that's not an option or you just don't go for it and water isn't cutting it, witch hazel and lavendar are great options followed by plain olive or coconut oil as a salve (though be sure to read up on oil use with cloth diapers so you don't damage your cleaning routine).
Witch hazel is incredibly astringent and also anti-inflammatory. You're probably used to seeing it as a facial toner and can also be used to help dry the bottom region when wiping. These properties help to reduce diaper rash.
Lavendar is soothing in many forms, and a great antibacterial and antiseptic. It has historically been used for various sores, burns (even harsh scalds preventing scarring and promoting healing), bruises, bites, and various aches even headache. For these reasons, it can help soothe diaper rash of various kinds.
- Purchase high quality witch hazel extract. The key is to find a witch hazel distillation that only has about 14% alcohol in the final extract so it has the lowest amount of alcohol and is more soothing to the skin (you can purchase this through MountainRoseHerbs.com or check your local drug store and read the label). You can make you're own if you have witch hazel growing near you or purchase the herbs, but we're going simple here and just purchasing the witch hazel already made.
- Fill a glass jar halfway with dried lavender flowers (you don't have to limit yourself to lavender - any of the previously mentioned herbs can be used in this blend, too).
- Cover with the witch hazel extract adding about 1" above the dried flowers. Give it a little stir and add more extract if needed.
- Cover with a tight fitting lid and shake daily. Check it after a day and add more extract if the dried flowers soaked up too much of the liquid. Shake and infuse for 2 weeks then strain and start another infusion so you always have this ready when you run out.
- Place in a peri bottle (or any bottle of your choice, but a peri bottle makes a great wipe wetting bottle for the diaper bag). Squirt on your wipes as needed.
What are your favorite herbal remedies you use for your family?