My grandmother used to say that there was nothing that couldn’t be fixed by a cuppa and a biscuit. It might be an ‘old wives tale’ but there’s something to be said for the humble cup of tea.
Being a mum is stressful sometimes and being a new mum is even more so. You constantly get told that you need to sit down and relax. Relax? Relax? Who has time to relax? I have 3 piles of laundry, an overflowing nappy bin that smells like…well…poop, a baby to feed, dress and bathe, milk to express and bottles to sterilise. Oh and at some stage I should really make a decision about whether I’m going to brush my hair or my teeth today.
I was given this advice again by a counsellor at Tresillian during the incredibly stressful time when my daughter wasn’t sleeping. She told me that having a cup of tea was an easy and effective way of calming my anxiety and helping me cope with the immense pressure I felt.
Um…ok? I was a bit sceptical but I was curious enough to do some research.
Interestingly, the simple act of making tea and the physical action of drinking decaffeinated tea can have a soothing effect on the body.
Having a drink of tea is a slow and calming activity. You can’t run with tea! If you are having difficulty expressing milk or are coping with a slow let-down, then the straightforward act of making a cup of tea and sitting and sipping slowly may be beneficial to increasing the amount you can express.
Having at least one time of day when you stop, put on the kettle and prepare your tea creates a routine and touchstone for your day. Routines are naturally relaxing as they can give us a sense of order during the most chaotic day.
Going through the motions of making a cup of tea and then taking five minutes to sit and drink it can have a calming effect on your whole nervous system.
The best tea to drink is decaffeinated, as then you are benefitting from the hydrating effects as well. Being well hydrated is an essential aspect of milk production but often we can get so caught up that we don’t drink as much water as we need. Every breastfeeding mum knows the absolute frustration of being halfway through a feed and realising that your water bottle is about 5mm too far away from your fingertips!
I discovered Mama Body Tea through a friend and they have been nice enough to supply me with a packet of their Mama’s Milk tea. It is designed to support lactating mothers and help boost milk supply. The main ingredient is fenugreek seed, which contains phytoestrogens. These plant chemicals are similar to the female sex hormone estrogen. You should aim for 2-3 cups per day to see an effect on milk supply.
When I poured some out of the packet I was a bit hesitant as I’ve had bad experiences previously with herbal teas that were reminiscent of grass clippings. So I was actually quite surprised that it had a subtle and smoky flavour. The predominant flavours are the fenugreek seed and the spearmint leaf which gives it a nice fresh aftertaste. The Mama’s Milk tea also tastes really nice chilled and with some sliced peaches added.
This is definitely a very pleasant way to boost milk supply and take five minutes out of your day to breathe!
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You've started to get a handle on #newmumlife and you've decided to dip your toe back into the world of exercise. HOORAY! Returning to exercise after pregnancy and birth is fantastic for both your physical and mental health as a new mama but it's important that you do it in the right way.
We spoke to Magdalena Hawley, founder and head trainer at Mums Going Strong Fitnessto get the lowdown.