Essential Oils and the Postpartum Period

Welcome to part 3 of this three-part blog series about using essential oils during pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period. In part 1 of the series we discussed utilizing essential oils during pregnancy, if you missed it, you can find it here. Part two discussed how to utilize essential oils once you go into labor and keys to making a labor kit, if you missed it, you can find it here.

 

This blog will focus on the postpartum period and essential oils that can assist you in feeling your best, while your body gets back into the normal swing of things. We will also discuss some great hydrosol options for you and that new bundle of joy.

 

So, you’ve made it through your pregnancy and delivery and now are headed into the postpartum period. A woman’s body goes through intense hormonal changes from the moment of conception to well beyond the delivery of that precious bundle of joy. Many women experience postpartum depression after delivery, an experience that can leave you feeling lost and alone. If you are experiencing postpartum depression, please know that you are not alone! What you are feeling is a lot more normal than you may think and it’s ok to ask for help. If you feel that the depression is taking over and feel as if you can’t manage it on your own, be sure to talk with your doula or health provider about options for treatment.

 

Being a new mom is quite a beautiful journey. Some days will definitely feel harder than others, but in the end, it’s all a part of this wonderful and sometimes crazy journey called motherhood. So, what are some things you can do to be your most vibrant self after delivery? Well, I’m glad you asked!! Read on to find out ways to nourish yourself and that new bundle of joy during the postpartum period.

What you need to know about using essential oils around your new bundle of joy

The topic of using essential oils around babies and kids comes up quite often. Typically, I do not recommend utilizing essential oils on children under the age of two years. Essential oils are extremely powerful concentrated plant substances and while they are natural, there may still be some risk when utilizing them on small children and babies. One of the things to keep in mind is that often times a newborn baby or small child cannot effectively communicate with you how an essential oil is making them feel. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) for instance is known as being an extremely calming and soothing essential oil. However, for some it has the complete opposite effect and can make them feel uneasy or on edge.

So, what’s a new mom to do?

Hydrosols are a wonderfully effective option for babies and small children. Hydrosols (sometimes referred to as hydrolats or floral waters) are the coproduct of essential oil distillation and often times can carry similar therapeutic properties to the essential oil. Hydrosols are much gentler and can be used in a variety of ways. Here are a couple of my favorites:

    • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Hydrosol – This hydrosol can be added to baby’s bath to help relax and sooth. It can also be misted in the air, lightly on sheets, or your clothing to help calm at naptime or bedtime. It can help with minor skin irritations and can be mixed with German Chamomile hydrosol for diaper rash.

 

  • German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) Hydrosol – This hydrosol is great for hot and red skin conditions. It’s also known for its calming capabilities. You can add a small amount to baby’s bath to sooth and relax. It can be mixed with Lavender hydrosol for diaper rash.
  • Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum) Hydrosol – This hydrosol is extremely skin healing and can be used for minor, cuts, burns, scrapes and bruising. It can be mixed with German Chamomile hydrosol for skin irritations and rashes.

 

When my daughter was a newborn I used coconut oil as her diaper cream which worked like a charm. If she had diaper rash a 50/50 mix of Lavender and German Chamomile hydrosols were my go to. Sometimes, I would even just use straight Helichrysum hydrosol for diaper rash, which also worked great. I would spray the area first with the hydrosol mix and then follow up with coconut oil. The irritation was typically gone by the next diaper change.

What about diffusing around my new bundle of joy?

When it comes to diffusing I do not recommend diffusing around babies under 6 months of age. From ages 6 months – 2 years, low ambient intermittent (15 minutes on, 15 minutes off) diffusion in a well-ventilated room, as needed, is generally ok as long as you are using nourishing essential oils without any age contraindications. For this age group, less is more and I find utilizing 1-3 drops in a diffuser in a well-ventilated room is all you need.

With this age group, I recommend only diffusing as needed and for short periods of time. If you are looking to diffuse essential oils for peace and calming, one of my favorite recipes would be 2 drops of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and 1 drop of Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). I would still recommend using hydrosols over essential oils with this age group.

How to nurture yourself in the postpartum period…

Above we talked about postpartum depression, a reality for many new mothers. Our hormones are all over the place as our bodies are getting used to not being pregnant anymore. Mood swings and exhaustion are all too common during this time. Essential oils are wonderful for enhancing your mood and bringing about a euphoric state! Making yourself a personal inhaler to have on hand when you feel as if your mood is low is a wonderful way to support yourself during the postpartum period. Personal inhalers are a great and effective way to experience the benefits of aromatherapy. You can use them anytime without having to worry about exposing your newborn to essential oils. They are also compact and easy to carry in your pocket, diaper bag or purse.

Here are some of my favorite mood enhancing essential oils for the postpartum period:

    • Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara) – Distilled from flowers, Neroli is my go-to for those that need strong emotional support. This essential oil is known for its calming effects and may help to reduce anxiety.
    • Orange (Sweet) (Citrus sinensis) – Cold pressed from fresh fruit rinds, Orange is beautifully uplifting, bright, and a wonderful essential oil to use to enhance your mood.
    • Geranium (Pelargonium x asperum) – Distilled from leaves, Geranium is known to relax the nerves and for its calming capabilities. Geranium is also known for its uplifting effects.

 

  • Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides) – Distilled from roots, Vetiver is deeply calming and grounding. I love this essential oil since it helps to quiet the mind and allows you to enter a state of deep relaxation.

 

The essential oils above blend together beautifully and will leave you feeling uplifted yet relaxed. Don’t have access to a personal inhaler? No problem! You can put a few drops of the above essential oils on a cotton round and put it into a plastic Ziploc bag to inhale whenever you feel as if you need a little boost.

Other ways to support yourself during the postpartum period

Hydrosols can be used as a peri rinse, sitz bath, or a compress to help ease pain and irritation. 

Some of my favorites include: Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita). You could use one or mix a little of each hydrosol for nourishing results. Pure aloe vera gel could also be added to the above hydrosols for extra nourishing results. If adding aloe vera gel I would recommend a 1:1 ratio to hydrosol. Your recipe may look something like this:

You can use the above mixture as a spray, peri rinse, sitz bath or on a compress.

Sweet Endings

Being a new mother is beautiful, magical, at times difficult, but oh so rewarding! I hope this series helps to give you a better understanding of how to utilize essential oils safely during your pregnancy, delivery and beyond.

Do you have a question that hasn’t been answered during this 3 part series? Feel free to email me at Sara@pneuma.online

Till next time friends!!