Congratulations, new mama! How are you feeling? Maybe excited, overwhelmed … and a little tender. Your body has just accomplished the miracle of bringing a new life into the world and your new bundle of joy is finally here. Giving birth is an amazing process, but it’s also difficult and painful, and chances are your body is feeling it. If you’re a new mom, you may be wondering what you can do to feel more comfortable. There are all kinds of things you can do to pamper yourself, but one of the best to alleviate discomfort and promote healing is postpartum sitz baths. We recommend these especially for moms who had tears or stitches, or who are experiencing discomfort caused by hemorrhoids or postpartum cramps. But really, a sitz bath is a soothing experience that’s perfect for any new mother who has recently given birth vaginally.
What is a Postpartum Sitz Bath?
Think of it as a more meaningful milk bath for new moms. While milk baths are relaxing (and have even become popular for maternity photo sessions), postpartum sitz baths provide hygiene, healing, and pain relief for your body after the hard work of giving birth.
At its simplest, a postpartum sitz bath is simply a vessel of warm water in which you can sit to cleanse and soothe the perineal area after you’ve had your baby. However, other ingredients like herbs and epsom salts are often added for additional health benefits and a spa-like, pampering experience. We’ll go into all the details of how, where, and when to take a sitz bath, plus suggested herbs to use and key tips for a great experience.
How and Where to Take a Postpartum Sitz Bath
While the bathtub may be the most relaxing place to take your sitz bath, another easy method is to use a sitz bath insert in your toilet. As you can see, an insert is a simple, shallow basin that fits onto your toilet seat, and which you can then fill with herbs and water. A toilet insert can be a great way to go if you feel like you need two or three sitz baths in a day, or if you’re using the sitz bath as a gentle way to keep your perineal area clean if it’s especially sensitive down there and painful to wipe.
A small basin also works well, or you can put your water and healing herbs in a peri bottle. Warm compresses are another really nice way to do a postpartum sitz bath. Just make sure to avoid the padsicle and use warm water, not cold. Warmth is not only soothing on the perineal area, it also promotes healing, and cold can actually slow down the healing process. Not what you want to do!
When is the Best Time to Take a Sitz Bath After Giving Birth?
One of the reasons we recommend sitz baths for postpartum care is because they can be done almost immediately. Baby boy in these photos is four weeks old, but as long as there are no complications you can do a sitz bath as early as the same day of baby’s birth to help with healing! Bring your baby in the tub with you for some lovely skin to skin time while you heal and get to know each other.
Readymade and DIY Options
Because they’re so easy, safe, and soothing, postpartum sitz baths have become very popular with new moms. Which is great news, because it means that there are lots of options out there for you to choose from! We did this session with the help of Megan Doyle from Intuitive Womb, using an herbal blend from The Vervain Collective. This herb collection was specifically created for postpartum healing by Dr. Nicole Pierce, NMD. (And, bonus: the herbs and flowers were so pretty–absolutely perfect for a postpartum photography session.)
If you’re local to Boise, Idaho definitely go see Megan for all of her prenatal and postpartum treatments- she’ll even come to you! Doesn’t get much better than that.
Although warm water is enough to cleanse and soothe, healing herbs and other ingredients have lots of benefits (some of which are outlined below) and make for a more luxurious experience. And you deserve that!
You can order prepared infusions by themselves, or as part of a kit with a toilet insert or other postpartum care products. Or, you can go the DIY route and put together a customized herbal infusion based on your favorite scents and the healing properties you feel you need. Either way, we do recommend making sure that the herbs used are organic.
Herbs to Consider
If you prefer the DIY route, here are some herbs to consider for postpartum comfort and healing.
- Comfrey: great for healing wounds
- Yarrow: helps prevent infection
- Marigold: cleansing
- Basil: reduces pain of after birth cramps
- Calendula: anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, tissue healing (this is especially good for tears)
- Oregano: prevents infection
- Rosemary: antiseptic, increases circulation
- Thyme: antimicrobial, antispasmodic
- Lavender: anti-microbial, calming and relaxing, promotes healthy uterine function
- Witch hazel: anti-inflammatory, astringent
- Rose petals: astringent, relaxing
Key Tips for a Healing Postpartum Sitz Bath
Always use warm water, never cold, when preparing your sitz bath. You’re basically making yourself a cup of tea to heal in. (This goes for more than just sitz baths. Postpartum treatments are always very warming since this is a time we want to replenish the warmth and promote healing for new mothers.)
Let the herbs steep a bit in the warm water. This releases their scent and potency and just makes for a better experience all around. (Depending on their properties, the herbs can help bring circulation and blood flow, cleanse the area and help to prevent infection, reduce pain, or simply promote relaxation.)
Use organic herbs, whether you choose to make your own preparation or buy one readymade.
If you’re tender, put a towel down in the bottom of the bathtub or basin. Having something soft to sit on can help take some pressure off your tailbone and sore tissues.
You may also want to keep a few clean, inexpensive washcloths or hand towels nearby to gently dry off or tidy up if you’re experiencing bleeding.
Interested in a luxury postpartum sitz bath photography experience like this one? Give us a call at 208-274-3704 or click here to book a consultation and come chat with us at the studio in person.