Monday, March 21, 2011

Herbs for Expectant/Lactating Mothers

I wish I had known more about herbs and things when I was carrying my babies.  I was soo sick all the time and when I wasn't busy running to the bathroom, I was sleeping.  I washed and cut fruits and veggies and kept them in the bottom of the fridge where the kids could get to them.  When they said they were hungry I told them to help them selves.  To stand up and get it for them would surely mean running to the bathroom...again.  I was a mess!  There's nothing quite as fun as having a 10 month flu.

But, I think I should have another baby.  Just to see if these herbs really help.  O.K.  Not really.  But some of you can try these and let me know if they helped you any.  =)

Tonic herbs act gradually and therefore, should be taken for several months.  Some of their benefits are: they supply nourishment, increase energy levels (that's what I needed!) and tone the uterus.  (I'd rather tone things that are visible)  Raspberry Leaf and Nettle Leaves are 2 popular tonic herbs used in pregnancy.

Raspberry Leaf is one of the safest.  It's good for toning the muscles of the uterus and pelvic floor.  It's rich in vitamins A and C as well as iron and calcium.  Used regularly, it can reduce morning sickness, prevent miscarriage,  and help with labor as well as help with lactation after birth. 

Nettle Leaves contain all the vitamins and minerals known to promote human growth and development.  They are also known to alleviate leg crams, reduce hemorrhoids (gotta love those), prevent post-partum hemorrhaging, and lessen muscle spasms and ensure kidney health.

Ginger root and peppermint also help alleviate nausea, indigestion and vomiting and are considered safe during pregnancy.  A little peppermint can be used by expectant mothers but should NOT be used by lactating mothers.

Oats and oat straw are great sources of calcium and magnesium.  Both are good for you and your baby.  Magnesium is good for muscle cramps and is also used to stop labor in pre-term births. 

A few thing to remember for the lactating mother:
  • Fennel seed is well-known as an herb to increase milk production.
  • Ginger is good for the let down and flow of milk  (Talk to your doctor if you are taking diabetic, blood-thinning, or heart medicine) and don't take directly after birth due to the possibility of hemorrhaging.
  • Spices found in most kitchens can help with milk supplies such as:  garlic, marjoram, anise, basil, black pepper, dill or caraway.  Tumeric can be used for nursing mothers but should NOT be used during pregnancy.  Especially for those at risk for miscarriage.  
  • Oats are a great thing to eat for the lactating mother.  Be careful of allergies.
  • Vitamin B complex are a great boost to milk supply.  Especially B12.  
  • Barley water has been known to help mothers with chronic low milk supply.
  • Healthy oils and fats (such as olive oil and avocados) are important to a good milk supply along with nuts and whole grains. But do be careful of allergies.  My first was VERY allergic to nuts.  She cried (more like screamed) every night of her little life until we finally figured out the problem.  
  • Drink lots of water and organic whole fat milk.  Eat several smaller meals throughout the day. 
Please be careful of allergies when nursing.  Some fruits and vegetables such as green papaya could cause problems for patients who are allergic to latex.  Nuts and other items could cause allergy issues as well.  Do your homework before trying new foods and supplements.

    1 comment:

    1. I missed this post! I have heard of many of these but a few are new. Thanks :)