During pregnancy, if a woman is following common advice, she will substantially cut down or cut out caffeine and alcoholic drinks, especially if she plans to breast-feed.
For the new mother and baby, sodas and fruit juices are overly concentrated sources of sugar or artificial sweeteners that are probably major players in the current obesity and diabetes epidemic. They have little nutrition or even a negative impact on nutrition.
In Dr. Robert Lustig’s video “Sugar, the Bitter Truth,” he said that these drinks should not even be in the house, but it would be OK to go out once a week to get a soda with a friend or relative, as he did as a boy.
So what drinks, aside from water, milk, or vegetable juice, would help resurrect a new mother from her often exhausted state? Midwives, both modern and ancient, have recommended certain herbal teas for healing new mothers.
Oat straw (Avena sativa) tea is highly recommended by homebirth midwives. It helps rebuild strength after exhaustion from childbirth. It has been known to relieve pain and anxiety, bolster the immune system, and heal varicose veins and hemorrhoids. Improved skin, hair, and nail health are additional benefits.
The tea is made from the dried stems of oat plants. Steep 2 teaspoons of oat straw in boiling-hot water for five minutes. Oat stems are rich in calcium and B vitamins, which nourish the bones and nervous system.
To get a stronger infusion than is usual for tea, put 1 ounce (about a cup) of oat straw in a quart mason jar and fill it with boiling water. Let this stand for four to six hours before drinking. Keep it refrigerated once brewed. Drink at room temperature or warm over the next couple of days.
If one has problems giving up sweet drinks such as soda or juice, oat straw tea or infusion is sometimes used to help combat addictions, including addictions to opiates.
According to herbalist Richard Whelan in an earlier version on his website: “My intuition about oats and depression, addiction … is that somehow [they manage] to touch that part of us that can feel very empty inside. Perhaps it is the same place that some people are trying to fill with drugs or the same place with which people feel overwhelmed with sadness.”
Oats contain phytates, which deplete calcium, magnesium, and other minerals. Horses experience this when fed too many oats, becoming high-strung, or “feeling their oats.” If you include oats in the tea or use oats in cooking, soak them for 24 hours to get rid of the phytates.