New Mums and the 4th Trimester
Lots of women turn to Aromatherapy whilst pregnant or preparing for birth, but as
soon as the baby comes, they forget about their essential oils. I think there are many reasons for this, such as the tendency to concentrate on your new bundle of joy and completely forget about yourself ( I am very keen to burst this myth) but I think the main reason is fear. Fear that you may choose an oil that may harm your newborn.
New Mum’s are very protective of their newborns. I know I certainly was! We’re given these tiny humans and all we think about is how am I going to keep them alive? How many new Mum’s have prodded their newborn, or put their ear up to their cute faces, just to make sure they are still breathing. Most times after giving birth we are anxious hot messes of love, doing everything we can and going by the book, even if it is to our own detriment.
We now realise the 4th trimester (the first 12 weeks after giving birth) is just as important as any part of our pregnancy. Our bodies have undergone some form of trauma no matter what type of birth you’ve had. I described it in my Preparing for Birth Talk like I’d been through a war! Therefore healing is essential. This is why Aromatherapy is just as important at this stage, if not more.
We also need to nurture ourselves as much as we nurture our newborns. And though it becomes much harder to do, if you don’t have an adequate support bubble. There are lots of tips you can take from this blog no matter how big or small your support bubble is.
Seeing an Aromatherapist - If you’ve built up a great relationship with your Aromatherapist before birth, they probably would have spoken to you about treatments after birth. You probably still have some blends that you can use during this stage. If not, do not fear, here are some of my ‘turn to essential oils’ and Aromatherapy Treatments ideal for this time.
Healing - As mentioned our bodies have just been through a very traumatic experience, even if your birth was a simple one. Many Midwives will give you a treatment plan or encourage you to let your body heal naturally. But I am of the belief that essential oils can always give you a helping hand with healing, but seek the advice of a trained Aromatherapist, to guide you through your healing journey. I love blends with Lavender, Thyme, Roman Chamomile, Rose or Neroli during this time. I use them as Bath salts, douches, and body oils to help heal the body. I am also a big fan of calendula oil or cream when working on healing blends. More recently I have been exploring the healing benefits of Aromatic waters. If you watched my Preparing for Birth talk, you’ll see that I mention many of these oils and give their benefits.
Anxiety – We’ve all heard the saying calm Mama means calm baby. But the reality is ‘Fretful baby makes Mama anxious’. Our baby’s cry is supposed to make us feel anxious so we know that they are in some form of distress, but on the flip side, the more we keep our cool, the more our newborn will be soothed by our calmness. Exploring oils that keep us calm is a personal journey. There is not a one oil fits all approach here. I know Aromatherapists who love the smell of Vetiver, I personally keep away from it no matter what I blend it with. This year I have been using a lot of Sweet Orange in my blends, because I find it very calming and soothing, I use this at night and daytime alike, which is why one of my favourite rollerballs is my Sleep Dreams rollerball, you can find it in my shop as part of my Aromatherapy to Soothe collection. To be honest the best present I received after giving birth was a selection of rollerballs. I used all of those rollerballs the first year of my Son’s life and has cemented my love for this Aromatherapy product. I do want to add that PND is a condition that often goes undiagnosed and many women can feel shame. If you notice that something is not quite right and that you feel like you are in a dark place, please reach out to someone and seek professional help.
Other oils to consider in the 4th Trimester
Fennel – is one of the oils we use in Aromatherapy, to encourage milk flow. I like to use it as part of a massage blend for massaging the bust especially if you are struggling with milk flow or mastitis. I found the best way of dealing with the first signs of mastitis is to massage under the shower. The combination of massage, and heat really can help with this painful condition.
Cracked nipples are also a common and very painful and sore condition, so I like to reach for the Roman Chamomiles, Lavenders and Myrrhs. My new Shea Butter Balm, was one of my most favourite products when I suffered from cracked nipples, I also used a version for nappy rash too. If you do use essential oils on the bust area and you are breastfeeding, make sure you clean off all traces before baby latches.
Energy is the Holy Grail for any new Mum. As mentioned, I was gifted a set of rollerballs and the energy one was my favourite. I love to turn to oils such as the Citrus oils when I have a dip in energy or when I haven’t had a good night’s sleep. Rosemary and Basil are also oils I love as they help you focus. But there is nothing like a good night’s sleep, during my talk with Ros Bunhu she discussed tandem sleeping. So if you aren’t parenting solo, this is a great idea. It ensures you get a bigger chunk of sleep rather than having to wake up every 2 to 3 hours. Getting adequate sleep really does make a big difference to your health and wellbeing.
Lastly, most pregnant women will put together a birthing plan, but also consider creating a Mum wellbeing Plan too. When Roselyn first mentioned this in our talk, I really wished I had put together a comprehensive plan when I had my son. As a Wellbeing Therapist, I definitely did incorporate some self-care during this time, but not enough. Your wellbeing plan can incorporate things like exercise, nutrition, baby groups, doulas, and people to contact if you need support.