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Herbal remedies for mother and baby after the birth

Added 12/09/2012

At the birth of a baby there is what could be called an involuntary action taking place. That no matter what, the baby is going to be born, we may not know how or when but birth is going to occur. Just as when the baby is in the womb, legs, arms and toes grow, the mother does not sit down and say to herself today I will grow a toe for my baby. It simply occurs, life provides we could say. During birth when parents make contact with this so called involuntary action it is a very direct experience. I have heard parents say “experiencing the birthing of our child was a very profound time.” It is as if the woman has had to draw upon resources deep within her, and rest in this existence while a huge physiological process occurs in her body. The father often learns to respond in a way he may not of participated in before that of non active support, having faith and trust in another.  This contact with the fact that life provides is there immediately after birth, colostrum is ready in the mother’s breasts, which develops into breast milk. Then when the baby’s digestive system develops further teeth appear. Again life provides, the mother need do nothing except respond to each encounter, each moment. Sometimes it can be that we have become so casual about this fact life provides. We are so busy attending to the details, building constructs of how we think it should be in our opinion or someone else’s opinion, that we can miss the blessings. So how do we continue to nurture this contact with life? In order that we experience more of what is real, more of what is natural to our true nature. The only way I have experienced is through true communication by resting in what we could call our true self and responding to each moment as best we can through love rather than fear. To ask inwardly to be shown, how to respond through the eyes of love rather than react fearfully. To forgive our misperceptions of the past enabling us to come to each moment with a clean slate.

When we are bathing, massaging or gently soothing a baby there is, as we all know an opportunity to introduce our child and ourselves to deep relaxation. We remind ourselves of the stillness that exists within us all. What a gift this is! I believe that through nurturing, taking care of a baby the mother can awaken in herself a tenderness that is naturally extended to her child in these daily activities.

A sense of responsibility and care that emerges in a parent after birth again could be called an involuntary action; it is simply there within a parent. Sometimes this feeling can be overwhelming. It can bring forward a feeling of not being capable of not knowing how to respond. Also maybe a feeling of “I did not receive this for myself so how do i give it to my child” a yearning to want this for ourselves. I recognise more often now that being capable of loving my child has nothing to do with being a capable mother or a capable professional it is that we are all capable of responding from our true nature.  We do not have to earn this or in fact do anything for this natural ability to communicate love.  It is our true nature and this presence of love is within each of us. We could say in the heart of every mother are the answers as how to respond to her child.  In loving our child we will learn how to love our self. It is our true self we ask inwardly how to extend Love rather than our assumed idea of what love is. In this way we remember that the true communication of love between parent and child is there constantly no matter what the external circumstances appear to be. In the heart of every mother is the same wisdom that is in the heart of every child.

As you all know my craft is herbal medicine. I use the plants to remind me and others of self kindness, of tenderness and of vitality in those moments when we may of have forgotten that our true nature is happiness. That yes sometimes we meet experiences that are uncomfortable; sometimes we have symptoms or a diagnosis. For me it is important to remember these are an effect not the cause of my discomfort. If it were true that these encounters were the cause we would all be prisoners of the world around us. So the cause has to be further back as it were, we could say that in that moment we have forgotten our natural state, our true self. I believe anything that assists us in remembering to come back to what I call our true self is to be welcomed. I give the herbs this purpose.

So let me share with you some of my favourite plants to use with babies...

Catnip

This is a nervous relaxant herb. It gently soothes and disperses. This is what this plant whispers to me if I relax, rest back, the tightening will disperse. So this herb is wonderful for any kind of restlessness. This can sometimes be called colic, cramping, and teething.

Meadowsweet

When you brew this tea it smells of almonds and honey. Straight away we can be reminded of the joy of the child dancing in the fields (completely my minds eye image!) It has a gentle deep acting response to pain in the digestive area. It is relaxing and receptive to the digestion. It is said that meadow sweet stimulates cells in the stomach reminding them to produce hydro colic acid, which is so helpful to the digestive system. I use and enjoy this plant a lot. When a calming reminder is desired brew some meadowsweet. Just lovely to drink or use in an herbal bath.

Wild lettuce

This is an herb that I use for baths. Deep relaxation this plant speaks to us of. It can come up through cracks in concrete when growing in the city offering its relaxation. It is a great herb to use if there has been a feeling of having to emerge through concrete during a particular situation. So if the birth experience or moments after birth feel difficult, alongside or maybe to encourage us to come to the inner work, how lovely to run a bath for you or your baby and add a brew of wild lettuce tea and invite deep relaxation to come forward in assisting us to remember there is another way to respond to this.

Administering herbs to babies

If the baby is being breastfeed, then the mother can drink the herbal teas. The effects of the herbs will flow through the milk.

If the baby is being bottle fed then herbal baths can be a wonderful way for the baby to receive the herbs.
So here are three wonderful useful herbs to have stocked in your kitchen cupboard, my encouragement would be to get to know them as friends.  Play with them, drink them and try an herbal bath, in fact in any way that speaks to you. Have fun and enjoy them.

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