Aromatherapy in the Fourth Trimester:
After giving birth recently, I have found myself using floral waters (also known as flower waters, hydrolats & hydrosols) in various ways to support myself and my new born son.
In the main I avoided using essential oils in pregnancy because they are so potent and can cross the placenta*, but floral waters are extremely gentle so are perfect in pregnancy, when breast feeding and for baby care as well as for delicate sensitive skin. You do need to make sure you get a good source of floral water, so you get the qualities, similar to the essential oil, in it (don’t grab a rose water from the supermarket). I have a small range of the most useful flower waters here that come in spray bottles: rose, lavender, chamomile & neroli. https://shop.essentialoilsandyou.co.uk/collections/custom-skin-care
You can get a wider range of floral waters from Oshadhi here: https://oshadhi.co.uk/hydrosols-hydrolats/
Here are my top tips on using floral waters in the fourth trimester:
Baby bottom care: I have spent a lot of my time cleaning a tiny bottom with rose water during nappy changes to make sure his skin doesn’t get sore. A friend recommended I make up a flask of hot water to keep by my nappy changing station, so I had this with a small bowl and some cotton pads ready for cleaning when nappy changing. I pour a little of the hot water from the flask into the bowl, allow to cool slightly, dip the cotton pad into the water and then spritz rose water on each side of the pad. Depending on how messy it is I may do this a few times and his delicate skin gets the nourishing properties of the rose water along with the anti-microbial action.
When I notice his skin is red, then I use chamomile water as it’s particularly anti-inflammatory, so more helpful for this, lavender water would also be suitable. I sometimes just pat the chamomile or lavender water on his skin so it’s more effective. If I’m out and about, I just use a gentle wet wipe, and can spritz the floral water on this for extra nourishment.
Nipple care: to make sure my nipples don’t get sore from breast feeding I spritz them with lavender or rose water several times throughout the day. It’s so gentle it would not be an issue using it if the baby is then feeding shortly after.
Episiotomy care: I had an episiotomy which made life a bit more uncomfortable for the first few weeks after the birth, it meant I had to be careful keeping the cut clean to avoid infection and as I couldn’t have a bath due to stitches. I used lavender flower water which acts as a gentle antiseptic. After a shower and before bed I would soak a cotton pad in lavender or chamomile water and gently clean the area.
I also applied my scar care balm (click here for recipe or click here to order) made of rosehip oil, myrrh, lavender and chamomile essential oils, to support the cut healing & avoid infection. I applied this around the area while it was still closing and directly on it when completely sealed.
Skin care: I ended up with several spritzer bottles of lavender, rose, chamomile & neroli flower waters around the house so I would also give my face a spray whenever one was nearby for nourishing my skin and refreshing my senses.
*It is possible to use certain essential oils in pregnancy and with babies, but generally only for specific issues and you would need to be treated by an experienced, qualified practitioner.