It may sound silly, but there are certain, simple things that should be treasured in the fourth trimester. A shower, a nap, a walk in the sunshine, and a hot cuppa.
Tea is such a simple pleasure but it can bring both psychological and physiological benefits to you after you have your baby.
Firstly, you need to hydrate. Being hydrated will keep help support your milk supply if you’re breastfeeding. As your body is putting an incredibly large amount of energy into breastfeeding, you need to fuel it, not just with calories but also with water.
Hydration also helps you to concentrate –the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that even a 1% dehydration level will lead to trouble with motor tasks. When you’re looking after another human, it’s worth holding onto all the concentration you can! Provided you don’t have more than 6 cups of builders tea a day, or 3 coffees, you will not get dehydrated.
If you’re breastfeeding, it’s also worth restricting the amount of coffee or normal tea you have, as the NHS recommend that you still consume no more than 200mg of caffeine a day, so that your baby will not be affected. This is the equivalent of 1 coffee and 1 tea, plus some chocolate every day.
To get the most out of the caffeinated drinks you do have, consider a white tea instead of a black tea. White tea is very high in theanine and caffeine, which together have a slow release effect. It should prevent heart palpitations or a caffeine crash, while supporting you in feeling more awake when you need.
It can also be really good to look at different types of herbal teas that can help support your body once your baby arrives.
RASPBERRY LEAF & RECOVERY
You may have bought raspberry leaf tea in order to prepare for birth, but you should actually keep drinking this immediately after birth. It helps your uterus return to its rightful place, but helping the muscles contract and can reduce the pain you may feel.
Even if you are having a c-section, it can be beneficial to have this tea on hand for after your surgery, to help ease your recovery.
There are also certain herbal teas that can help your breast milk supply. These herbs are known as ‘galactagogues’. Fenugreek, fennel, anise and nettle have all been used for millennia to help women when breastfeeding. They aren’t a medicine, and everyone will react differently, but it can really help. Especially as it’s caffeine free and hydrating you, whilst also offering the natural boost of milk supply.
Now, it’s commonly said that mother’s never get a hot cup of tea. And whilst this is regularly true, the warming enjoyment of a nice hot cuppa in the fourth trimester is key to it’s reviving you.
There is an immense amount of relief that a warming drink can give you when you’re sleep deprived. It’s a small act of self care that everyone should be helped in getting during their day.
Partners of women who’ve had a baby, need to know that they should always offer to make their partner a tea, and then ensure that they put it in within reach of a mother. My least favourite memories of my partner is when he came and put tea just out of my reach while I breastfed our kids!!
FEAR OF SPILLING
I’d also strongly recommend getting a splash proof cup before your baby arrives.
Motherhood can be chaotic and having a cup of tea within close reach is a major benefit, as you may otherwise not drink enough throughout the day. However, when your precious baby is in your arms, a hot cup of tea can be a terrifying prospect. This can be eased by having a cup with a splash proof lid.
KeepCup are the only brand we’ve found which genuinely stops spills. Especially if you’re baby wearing, having the confidence to take a drink with you is key. I found wearing my baby was one of the only ways to get her to sleep, but it was often exhausting, and being able to drink something delicious to hydrate and caffeinate while doing it, was a god send.
So, in short, don’t underestimate the benefit of something as simple as a cup of tea in your fourth trimester. Make time for it and yourself – you’ll benefit.
Founder of HotTea Mama, a tea brand specialising in teas for pregnancy and motherhood. And the first non-Chinese person to get a Tea Science degree from the University of Forestry and Agriculture in Fujian, China.