A Toning Postnatal Herbal Infusion
Plants. They are wonderful allies, packed full of minerals and vitamins. They hang out in the world, growing and doing their thing, regardless of our awareness of them. They're willing to work with our bodies, they're user-friendly and are completely worth our time, attention and appreciation.
Although a cup of herbal tea can be comforting and delicious in its own right, or can act as a new routine for where caffeine once ruled, it doesn't extract the same degree of nutrients that an infusion does. This is not my grandmother's cup of tea either. She barely wanted the leaves to graze the water before pulling them out, and even then, it would be too strong. Infusions are dark, earthy and medicinal. Infusions are simple to make, however they require more time.
The general infusion guidelines for brewing plant parts are as follows:
You may endeavour to infuse all ingredients listed, or choose to focus on a few, or add something in of your own, or simply brew one at a time. Start with what you already have kicking around your garden or kitchen, then add in other dried plants as you see fit. In order for a support to work, it must be utilized, so do not forego brewing if you're missing a specific ingredient. As always, please follow your own unique needs and trust your intuition.
This list will provide a small glimpse into what each plant has to offer:
Where to meet these gems...
Sometimes meeting a plant requires determination, curiosity, facilitation by another, a plant identification book, and the willingness to explore. Other times you meet a plant organically, or realize what you've needed has been poking through the crack in your sidewalk all summer long. Nothing beats watching a plant grow throughout the seasons, sitting with it, getting to know its characteristics, and its spirit.
Wildcrafting is a sure way to know the health of the plant you are consuming, the conditions of the soil in which it grew, whether it has been collected from the earth during the peak of ripeness, the timeframe from harvest-to-drying-to-consumption, or whether the plant gave permission to be plucked from its source. The plants that spring forth in your community cohabitate among the same environmental toxins and pollutions, as you do. This factor may play an added role in aiding your body to further adapt when consuming them by boosting your immunity, similarly to how local honey can assist with seasonal allergies.
There are times though, when your garden is laying dormant under feet of snow, or perhaps the plant doesn't grow in your zone. You may have run out of an ingredient, or this realm could be entirely new to you, and hey, you need to start somewhere before your green thumb blossoms!
If you're in Alberta, I recommend visiting Kolya Naturals Apothecary located within Optimum Health Vitamins. The Earth's General Store may stock some of the ingredients, however they also carry food dehydrators, composting worms and an assortment of DIY books, depending on how in-depth you'd like to venture along this path. Edmonton's Seedy Sunday is also fast approaching March 20th, and is a great location to gather most the seeds you'll need to start your own apothecary, or pick a seasoned gardener's brain on the "how to's".
If you're in BC, I suggest contacting Harmonic Arts Botanical Dispensary for raw ingredients. If you'd like to develop a deeper understanding and relationship with plants, please contact The Living Medicine Project.
Lastly if you're in the USA, Mountain Rose Herbs carries a large variety of bulk organic herbs, and Banyan Botanicals is an Ayurvedic apothecary, for even more angles of exploration.
Kelsey Voelker is a labor doula and lactation educator with Full Circle Birth Collective. Learn more about Kelsey here.
Our diaper odyssey
My first poop & pee excreting wiggly worm was born in 2012. I knew about cloth diapers but it seemed overwhelming and too much work to figure out what to buy especially while averaging 2 consecutive hours of sleep a night. I wasn’t interested in diapers before baby was born since there were other expensive must haves to shop for- like car seats (another one of the many overwhelming adventures).There were so many types, sizes, brands, costs, etc. that I didn’t want to cheap out and buy ones that I would end up hating. So, we used disposable nappies. I felt silly throwing away multiple nappy nuggets everyday so after a few months I decided to check out some cloth diapers online when little Miss was 4 months old.
I spent under $100 and bought some “Prefold” inserts, a fastener, and two waterproof covers. I loved being able to cloth diaper! I’m pretty sure my brother thought I turned hippy, my husband wouldn’t use them, and my mom thought they smelled funny. So I had no immediate support for my cloth diapering adventure. I didn’t care. I kept using them. Afterall, I am “resourceful”…. or Swiss, as some put it. I sewed my own wet bag, reusable laundry bag, fleece inserts and cloth wipes.
I didn’t mind doing the laundry myself despite the stink. It was a bit of extra work but when you’re on maternity leave for a year and have only one child, there’s plenty of time in a week to do a few extra loads of laundry, right? Well, I ended up deciding my kid peed too much (or maybe she just liked drinking from the mammary’s ALL OF THE TIME) and the cloth diapers constantly leaked. So not only was I doing nappy nugget laundry, I was also washing more clothes than you can imagine.
I had a friend who became a nappy entrepreneur. She bought a whole set of the “fancy” cloth diapers before baby was even born! I admired her diving into diapers like this. Partly because of her, I decided to spend the money and upgrade to the “fancy” ones. I searched high and low for the best deal and finally bought a set of All-In-One diapers when little Miss was a year old! Why did it take me this long!? I was so excited about my purchase! I felt like a little girl enthralled with her new toy ponies- but instead it was diapers. But they were so much more than just diapers! They were cool coloured diapers- like jelly bean colours and ones that even had monsters on them and “ooglie booglie” written all over the bum. I would for sure have the best diapered baby on the block!
Over the next while, I got the rest of the family on the cloth diapering wagon. My husband began to use them (let me clarify- not for himself, but for the baby), my brother probably still thinks I’m hippy but secretly wishes he didn’t have to throw out nappy nuggets from his kids everyday (Because after all he’s Swiss too!), and my mom helped me figure out how to get the “stink” out! I also learned a few tricks- like sun bleaching. It actually works and I was totally blown away when the stains on the white bamboo tri-folds magically faded on a hot sunny day.
So now my little Miss has graduated from her nappies and even her potty. The youngest little Miss has obliterated her nappies many times over and we are now onto the next adventure for her in the next few weeks. So, stay tuned for the next chapter: all about “pee pee on the potty” and “poo poo on the potty” dances!
Cloth diapering has been great for us. I do recommend it but understand that it is not for everyone!
Postpartum Sitz Bath
As women, we cannot underestimate the importance of Yoni care. Yoni is the Sanskrit word for the vagina that is loosely translated as "sacred space" or "Sacred Temple."
In Tantra, the Yoni is seen from a perspective of love and respect. This is the centre of our femininity and wisdom. She gives us pleasure, holds space for the creation of life, guides us, loves us and when it is time, she completely surrenders, opens fully and allows your baby to gently ease their way into this world. What a miraculous organ.
After birth, our Yoni's are swollen, tender and sore. Spend time each day sending your sacred space thoughts of love and gratitude. Consume foods aimed at healing and strengthening such as sweet potatoes, cranberries, dark leafy greens, avocados, flaxseed and Soy. I know soy gets a bad name, but it’s actually full of phytoestrogens (a synthetic form of estrogens) that keep our vaginas well-lubricated. And we all like our vaginas well-lubricated. Aim for organic, unprocessed soy, like edamame.
Yoni massages are great for promoting healing and will help to release any energy blocks that may have occurred during labor and birth. I recommend using coconut oil. Coconut oil has many healing properties and makes an excellent personal lubricant. Generously apply the oil to the outside of your yoni and gently massage.
New mom's please remember not to insert anything into your yoni until you have been cleared to do so by your caregiver. Herbs, tinctures, salves and sitz baths are great for easing discomfort and assisting in the healing process.
Here is a recipe for an amazing sitz bath. I discovered this after I gave birth to my second baby.
* 1/2 cup Epsom salt
* 2 tablespoons baking soda
* 2 tablespoons witch hazel
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 8 drops lavender essential oil
* 8 drops chamomile essential oil
* Place all ingredients into a cotton muslin bag.
A sitz bath is a small tub that fits over your toilet and allows you to sit in warm water up to your hips. You can buy a sitz bath at your local medical supply store or online. Fill the sitz bath three-fourths of the way with warm water. Add the ingredients listed below and soak for 20 minutes. If you choose to use your bathtub instead of a sitz bath, you can double or triple the recipe. Herbal baths can help you relax, speed up healing, help repair damaged tissue. All of the ingredients can be found at your local grocery and health food store.
This natural detoxifier will provided the needed minerals to help the body heal quickly. It can also
This relaxing floral scent and was an important ingredient in ancient Roman Baths. It is not only promotes restfulness, but is antibacterial, anti-fungal, and an antioxidant.
An ancient herb used for hemorrhoid relief and treatment is known for its anti-inflmmatory and astringent properties.
This herb has an relaxing scent an is helpful to soothe anxiety, and inflammation. It is also a natural antibiotic, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal.
Image below courtesy of Mommypotamus
Welcome to Full Circle's blog, creating content for our clients and readers with a focus on all things pregnancy, birth and beyond.