A fun topic, to be sure. But oh-so important, not just for the recovering/new mom. The dad, friends, other’s who get to share the join or listen to the answer to the “how are you doing” question. When your friend, wife etc., says–well, you know, ‘I actually hurt,’ or ‘I’m a bit depressed,’ as I did, you can offer up some natural, effective solutions.
I found this recipe in a wonderful book called .Women’s Herbs: Women’s Health by Christopher Hobbs and Kathi Kevill. Of course, my book is now so old (10 years+) and the cover so much uglier-but the content hasn’t changed a bit. It’s still wonderful and effective.
This compress is comprised of 3 Tbs fresh ginger root, chopped fine, 2 tbs comfrey root, chopped fine, 2 tbs comfrey leaf or fresh plaintain leaf, chopped and 8 cups or more of water. My grandmother, the fine Swede she was, used comfrey for healing every wound us 60+ grandkids inflicted upon ourselves. She always had a pot on the stove that she’d use to create a compress. A compress being a rag she’d dip in the water, sponge-out, then place on our wound/bruise etc. In seconds, the pain would go away. Today, you can find comfrey in the local health food stores, and also Arnica gel or lotion, another natural pain reliever. (You know Arnica has gone mainstream when even Target carries the stuff). I also use this Comfrey cream as well as having the Arnica gel in my emergency kits and baby bags.
Directions for the compress
Simmer the roots together for a half-hour, adding the comfrey leaves (or plantain leaves) and turn the heat to low. Steep for at least 10 minutes.
Immerse a clean diaper or towel in the hst mix, wring and apply to the vulva or perineum (if you don’t know what these are, you don’t have to worry about this). A side note on this: you may be surprised at how much heat you can handle in these areas. the hotter the better–but you will need to use dishwashing gloves when dipping or you’ll burn yourself. You can do this several times a day after you have given birth.
Since I had a c-section, I didn’t require this “down there” but did need it on my breasts. I used a thin bath town and wraped it around, and under, the armpit as directed. I continued to do this until the breast was pink with heat. About that time, my chest felt SOOOO much better. This compress soothes sore breasts and prevented mastitis (in my case, anyway).
The brew can be reheated and reused, or kept simmering in a pot for up to 2 days. Then I replaced it. The key was to use a clean cloth with each application.
The nurse also recommended cabbage for engorged breasts. I thought she was nuts, but she had been delivering babies and assisting new moms for 30 years, not me. Who was I to argue? While I was breastfeeding, I had to leave on a two day trip. My breasts were exploding, so I dropped by the grocery store, picked up 2 cabbages (1 for each) and covered my breasts with the leaves, just as the nurse directed. Unbelievable–it worked (and I was in the hotel room, thx very much). I used this for 2 other pregnancies as well–when the compress wasn’t available (the compress worked faster I’ll say).
I’m going to refer to this book again and again in this blog. So if you don’t have the $ or inclination, don’t worry. But…it’s an awesome source for a new mom.
Postpartum sleep aid
One other tidbit….sleep deprivation makes no one happy. Valerian is a superior postpartum sleep aid (and frankly, I’ve used whenever I’m wired up and can’t sleep). It has a very strong smell and gnarly aftertaste though, so I blend it w/other stuff or a meal. I’ve never made my own capsules, but this can be done.
Using a tincture made from fresh valeiran, take 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon every four hours.
Lastly…use a Ginger compress for the lower back, breasts or directly on the perineum if you can’t find the comfrey or other items listed above. Fresh ginger can be had at any grocery story. Like the above recipe, boil it and use fresh, clean towels for every application.
Don’t be surprised that Rog has actually used this for his post-hockey game pain, particularly on his lower back. It’s worked wonders.