By Judy Coldicott ADH RCHom
The build up to the birth of any child is enormous and the expectations of things going to a particular plan, a constant focus. Whether you are expecting your first or fourth baby, each brings its own joys and challenges.
Most of us have read the books and journals with the serene mother cradling her baby on the outside swing with plenty of time and space to croon and no interruptions. The reality for most busy mums is very different! Many young mothers are balancing running businesses from home, juggling the rest of the family, working to continue on with their sport or fitness, trying to cook (anything will do) as well as managing the emotional ups and downs that come with the hormonal changes after birth and beyond.
Homeopathic remedies, other complementary medicine and a practical approach can support new mothers and their families through some of these challenges.
- Don’t try to be a supermum. There is a rollercoaster that goes with the highs and lows of a new baby.
- When you need a rest, put a note on your door telling people. Don’t answer it!
- Ask your mother/mother-in-law/someone else to come and stay to do your washing or cooking for a week or so while you get feeding established.
- Accept every meal that anyone offers to bring to you. You’ll soon be back cooking!!
- Say yes to any friend/family member who is happy to take your other children for an hour or who wants to take your baby for a walk so you can sleep.
- Laugh at the dust balls under the couch and the sticky kitchen floor – you won’t have them forever. One day, when you actually have some energy you will blitz them, or better still, your friend might – let her do it – she has been here before!
- When you have a moment’s calm, do something for yourself – read a book, go for a walk, a swim or listen to some music.
- Sleep when your baby sleeps – you have to snatch those few hours when you get them!
- Eat like a feeding mother! Don’t succumb to the pressure to look like a model. If you are breastfeeding, your baby needs good nutrition and so do you. Your feeding days will be over in a flash!
- Laugh at yourself and anything else you can. Stress is the greatest cause of problems for you and your baby.
Other complementary therapies
- Use lavender – in the bath, in creams and hand lotions. It smells good and is relaxing.
- Drink herbal breastfeeding tea or similar – usually these herbal teas have a list of ingredients that will calm your baby’s digestion as well as ensuring you have a good milk supply.
- Visit a therapist who can offer you Cranial Sacral Therapy, Osteopathy, Reflexology, Massage or other body alignment treatment. Carrying a baby, the birth process and feeding can leave you in need of some gentle adjustment and it will make a difference to how you feel.
- Flower essences – can be bought at most health shops for anxiety, stress, emotional ailments or fears. Ask the staff or make an appointment with someone who prescribes them.
- Relaxation techniques – if you can grab a quiet ten minutes, restore your energy. Put on some relaxing music and visualise being at your favourite place in the world, peaceful.
- Music therapy – sing and dance to your choice of music – it shifts your body and your energy and restores you.
At times, you might need a remedy for physical or emotional balance. Find a local homeopath who you can relate to. They will be a great source of ongoing support for you and your growing family and once they get to know you, can prescribe quickly and effectively for you and your children to nip ailments in the bud.
Many of the physical problems that occur after your baby is born can be swiftly assisted with a good remedy.
- Breast infections are an example of these. Left unchecked, they can be nasty to deal with but given the accurate homeopathic remedies, can be quickly alleviated. This avoids the after effects of often prescribed antibiotics which some people experience – thrush, diarrhea and skin rashes.
- Piles /hemorrhoids can also be helped with homeopathic remedies. These after effects of birth can be downright painful for many women so diminishing the symptoms make a difference about how you can cope with life.
- Oedema is often a residual post-natal symptom especially when there has been severe swelling of the limbs in the late stages of pregnancy. Homeopathic remedies, in conjunction with reflexology, are a successful combination to assist the body to return to normal.
- Sleep can be disrupted not just from a waking baby but from an overactive mind, changed patterns and excessive joy. Homeopathic remedies are a great natural way to assist a good sleep pattern.
- An unsettled baby can benefit from calming remedies for colic, teething etc. See your homeopath sooner rather than later and arm yourself with remedies that might help.
Whatever you choose to do to establish your own patterns and life, remember that there are no rules, just things that work for you and your family. There is a wealth of good advice at hand if you want it and plenty of natural therapies out there to help you on your way. And there IS life after birth!