Why every woman needs a postpartum herb bath
The first time I truly understood the healing powers of herbs was a few days after I gave birth to my first baby. I had him at a birth center, and their policy is to come see you at home 2 days after birth. I was in really rough shape. My baby’s head was ginormous. Seriously, it was bigger than 95 percent of newborns (Not a medical condition, just genetically blessed). He was also nearly 10 lbs and I had lots of tearing, and lots of stitches. I had no idea that healing postpartum was going to be so difficult.
When the midwife came, she did the normal checks for me and baby, gave us some tips on breastfeeding and then showed me a brown paper sack that was a gift for me. When I opened it it was a bunch of dried leaves and flowers. I had no idea what I was supposed to do with them.
“This is gonna help you heal.” My eyebrows raised, I still had no idea how. She then explained the process to me. I was to boil them in large pot tied up in old pantyhose. How bizarre, but I did as I was instructed and poured it into my bath.
And, Oh lordy.
It was unbelievably soothing. My aches, my discomforts left, even if only temporarily. But it was amazing. I honestly think that was my clicking moment. Plants had magical powers. And they do. Now, of course, I didn’t heal up instantly. But I had extensive damage to my under-bits, and I only had that one bath. I was hooked but didn’t know how, or where to get more of those herbs. I’m still not sure what exactly was in there.
The struggle of finding a premade herbal bath
The only thing I could find was these. I have to admit they were helpful too but are not meant for a bath. It’s an herbal “pad” you boil, let cool and then apply to your wounded under-bits. This was helpful, but it just wasn’t the same as my amazing herb bath.
Fast forward to birth number 2. I had already been studying plants and their healing properties and made my own herbal mix based on research and what was available to me. This is the recipe I used, and I used it daily for two weeks. I healed up so much faster the second time around, and this baby was just as big.
Since then, I have found some premade mixes that have quality ingredients. My recommendations are at the bottom of this post.
Choosing herbs for your DIY postpartum herb bath
I got most of my herbs from the bulk herb store and these are the ones I choose based on their therapeutic effects.
- The go-to skin healing herb. (You can read more about it here) Acts as an antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal. Also, reduces swelling of the skin and mucosal lining (vaginal lining) and relieves skin irritation. Also shown to help improve wound healing.
- Mostly known for its uses as a relaxant. Helps soothe irritated tissues, and relaxes muscles. I can’t imagine a better time for needing this than postpartum
- There are many warnings not to take this internally unless under the supervision of a qualified practitioner, due to its effects on the liver. Externally though (meaning it’s ok to use on skin) it’s supposed to be relativity safe and very effective at healing wounds.
- Helps aid in wound healing, it also has astringent properties, meaning it helps dry up excess fluid in the body. This can be useful to the postpartum woman.
- I mostly added this one because I always have a lot on hand, and it makes the smell so pleasant and relaxing
- Raspberry Leaf
- Since I have been pregnant or nursing for 3 years, I have been in love with Red Raspberry Leaf (Read detailed benefits here.) Its great for pregnancy, great for labor, great for nursing, but also great for postpartum wounds. Seriously, what can’t it do? It works by helping to reduce swelling and cleanses the area.
- Yarrow Flower:
- Good for wound healing. It works similarly to those before as it reduces swelling and cleanses the area with its antimicrobial properties. It also works well to stop bleeding from wounds.
- Epsom salts
- Epsom salts is really just magnesium sulfate. The body absorbs magnesium very well through the skin. Many people are deficient in magnesium, Especially after pregnancy and labor which puts you at risk for nutrient deficiencies. Magnesium serves many purposes including muscle functioning, which is why it can be so soothing.
- Lavender essential oil & Frankincense essential oil:
- Both of these oils offer wound cleansing and healing abilities, plus they smell great in your bath
This mix will help you heal faster after birth. You don’t have to use all of these herbs. You can choose ones that are available to you locally or use just a few selected herbs per bath. I prefer the whole mix together as each herb has different strengths.
Mix equal parts of your herbs, couple drops of each essential oil and the Epsom salt if using. I never really measure for my baths. I’d just grab a generous pinch of each a put them in a muslin bag.
To make bring a very large pot to boil. Turn it off and place your bag inside to steep at least 20 minutes. During the brewing time, I fill up my bath half full with warm water. When my infusion is done I add it to my bath. I add the hot water last because I do not want the hot water to somehow damage the tub. Toss in your herb bag and enjoy.
How to take your bath
Try to bathe at least 20 minutes to get the full therapeutic effect, the Epsom salts alone need this much time to absorb into your skin. My midwife gave me a rule of thumb about bathing postpartum. If you have stitches, only one bath per day. If you don’t, enjoy as often as you like.
Seriously, if you’re going to have a baby, this is a must postpartum. If you know someone who is going to have a baby, do this for them. They won’t even know how awesome this is until later, but they’ll be so grateful after their first bath.
I’d imagine this would work great for the c-section mama’s out there too. Just make sure to follow your doctor’s instructions on bathing.
Don’t want to DIY your postpartum herb bath?
Making your own is going to be more affordable than purchasing premade ones. However, If making your own herb bath just isn’t your thing, you can find some awesome premade ones such as this one, this one, and this one. All great options.
For a real treat, you could even try an herbal bath bomb made for postpartum mamas like this. Just make sure you get enough to last you a few baths. One won’t be enough!
For more info on healing postpartum check out 9 Things You Need to Prepare for Postpartum to heal faster
Have you used herbal baths to heal up? What helped you with your healing postpartum?