I’ve always thought that after labor, women should be able to look forward to a nice quiet vacation and recovery time. Instead, we get a precious baby and the lack of sleep that often accompanies them. This DIY sitz bath recipe is at least a little healing and pampering to look forward to during postpartum recovery.
Postpartum Sitz Bath
Herbs are wonderful for after birth and help speed recovery time. I’ve used my healing salve on both a c-section scar and a small tear (after the second day) to speed healing and they worked great. This sitz bath recipe uses an herbal infusion in a relaxing bath to ease soreness and speed recovery. You can also use it in a peri bottle or a cooled pad for extra comfort.
I used quite a variety of herbs here, but you don’t need all of them. Here’s what a sitz bath is and why they’re so great for new moms!
What is a Sitz Bath?
Sitz comes from the German word sitzen, meaning to sit. It’s a little soak for your bottom that brings targeted relief to the genital area. They can help ease pain, increase blood flow to the area, and speed healing. Sitz baths are recommended for:
- Anal fissures
- Episiotomy stitches
- Sore or damaged vulva and perineal area
- Sore rectum or anal area
It’s perfect for after childbirth! Even if you didn’t tear during labor, the warm water and soothing herbs help reduce discomfort and swelling.
How to Take a Sitz Bath (Two Ways)
Drug stores sell sitz bath kits that fit into your toilet bowl. These consist of a shallow basin and sometimes a bag that feeds warm water into the sitz bath basin. You can also find a simple plastic sitz bath bowl without any bags or attachments. These are nice because they concentrate the soothing water just where you need it.
If you don’t have a sitz bath bowl, then the bathtub also works. It should be cleaned before each use though. You don’t want germs or old soap scum on your still healing bottom!
Here’s how to do a sitz bath step-by-step:
- If using a sitz bath, place the clean container under the toilet seat. Fill about 1/2 full with warm water or herbal tea and Epsom salt. Be sure the water temperature isn’t too hot to avoid burning.
- If using a bathtub, make sure the tub has just been cleaned and fill it with several inches of warm water. You want the water to cover your thighs when you sit in it. You’ll add your herbal tea and/or Epsom salts to the shallow bath.
- Soak your bottom in the warm water for 10-20 minutes, 1-4 times a day.
- Pat the area dry with a clean towel or let it air dry. Do not scrub the area.
What to Use in a Sitz Bath
Now that you know what a sitz bath is and how they work, what should you put in yours? There are a variety of herbs that are gentle and help heal the tender area (more on that below). You can also add a little baking soda and Epsom salts to your sitz bath to speed the healing process.
If you have hemorrhoids, then try dabbing a little witch hazel onto the rectum after your bath. There are also a few things that should not go in a sitz bath!
While I love essential oils, they do not disperse in water alone and they’re too harsh for the tender perineum area. Scented bath salts, bubble baths, and similar products should also be avoided.
The Herbs I Used
Herbs can be a great option for a DIY sitz bath, and you’ll notice I’ve used quite a few. You don’t have to use all of these for it to still be effective, so just use what you have.
- Comfrey Leaf – This herb is a demulcent to soothe dry, irritated tissues. It also reduces swelling and bruises and is anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. It stimulates tissue repair and tones loose tissues.
- Lavender Flowers – The scent helps ease tension and stress. Lavender is also antimicrobial, helps fight off infection, soothes itchiness and pain, speeds wound healing, and reduces swelling.
- Plantain Leaf – Soothes inflammation and fights infection, mildly demulcent to soothe irritated tissues, soothes pain, burning, and itching, and stimulates collagen for faster wound healing.
- Red Raspberry Leaf – Tightens loose tissues and reduces inflammation. Also very high in many nutrients.
- Yarrow Flower – Eases inflammation, pain, and swelling. Staunches excessive bleeding, speeds wound healing, helps modulate blood flow, and is specifically used for hemorrhoids
- Calendula Flowers – Soothes irritated tissues and is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal. Soothes cuts, bruises, and abrasions. It’s astringent and a blood decongestant to help with hemorrhoids.
- Shepherd’s Purse – Useful to reduce bruising and heavy bleeding. Used for wound healing and is anti-inflammatory.
- Uva Ursi Leaf – An astringent that’s used for infections and inflammation in the lower urinary tract. Antibacterial and helps prevent UTIs.
Herbal Sitz Bath
- Mix herbs in a glass container or silicone bag. I used a large mason jar. The proportions don’t have to be exact.
- Add 1 cup of herbs to 2 quarts of boiling water.
- Remove water from heat and let sit for 20 minutes, covered.
- Strain and add to a sitz bath and soak for 20 minutes. Both mom and baby can soak in the bathtub to speed cord and perineum healing.
More Ways to Use:
- Brew with the above ratios and add to a Peri Bottle for use after going to the bathroom.
- Pour some pre-brewed herbal mix onto pads and freeze for a pain-relieving ice pack.
- Use a diluted mix around the baby’s cord stump for healing.
Have you ever used herbs post birth? Did they help you? Share below!