The main thing I hear from new moms during the postpartum period (from a few months to two years) is exhaustion. During this time, there are huge demands on your body, including breastfeeding, replenishing the lost nutrient reserves and blood from pregnancy and labor, going back to work, adapting to a new life and many sleepless nights. These additional demands contribute to what is termed postpartum exhaustion which can lead to postpartum depression.
In addition to deep rest and joyful relaxation, which are the #1 most important natural tonics, here are six herbs and supplements you can use to relieve postpartum exhaustion. They are also safe to use while you’re breastfeeding. You don’t necessarily need all of them, but they should all be considered. A combination of these made the difference for me from feeling out of this world exhausted and burnt out in the first years after my son was born, to feeling rebalanced and restored.
1. B Complex
B vitamins are very important to help with both energy and mood balance. They help our body to manage and heal from stress and exhaustion.
2. Sub-lingual B12
B-12 is also important to help build back the blood after pregnancy and labor. In Chinese medicine, most new mother ailments are caused by deficient blood, both in quality and in volume. Anything that helps fortify the blood will also support your overall well being and cure exhaustion.
3. Plant Based Iron
Floradix Iron & Herbs is a specific product used specifically to help women through pregnancy and with anemia. I have found it to be very important for any woman dealing with issues of fatigue. I like it because it’s a low dose iron made from plants and herbs that’s also easy to absorb.
When you sleep, but wake up feeling tired, it’s important to work on getting better quality sleep. It may mean that you wake frequently either due to your baby’s frequent wakings or on your own and aren’t getting enough time into those deeper levels of sleep. Calcium/magnesium and minerals in general help the body have a deeper sleep experience.
In Chinese medicine, mineral supplements provide an anchoring quality to the body so that the spirit can rest at night. Taking a mineral supplement before bed often helps you have a better sleep experience and wake up feeling more rested. However, calcium and mineral supplements can be difficult for many people to absorb. You may not feel the effects of better sleep from a product you can’t assimilate. This is where you may need to try different companies and different forms of mineral combinations to get the benefits.
5. Homeopathic Sleep Aids
There’s nothing worse then being woken up by your baby for a feeding and not being able to get back to sleep easily or at all. Then they wake up three hours later, and it starts all over again. The homeopathic products Hyland’s Calms and Calms Forte are some of the safest sleep aids. They are very gentle, don’t create any drowsiness, and can be taken as often as needed until you fall back to sleep, even every five minutes. I consider them safe for breastfeeding, since these remedies contain miniscule amounts of the actual substance.
6. Nettles Tonic Tea
Nettles taken as a dried herb in either tea or capsule has a very gentle harmonizing tonic action. They are not a quick acting tonic, but work over time, from several weeks to several months, and help nourish and restore energy.
There are some other very helpful vitamins and supplements to help you handle postpartum exhaustion. Help yourself to feel your best by trying some of these options.
If you are breastfeeding you may want to read our Breastfeeding and Herbal Safety Guidelines.