While becoming a mother makes you instantly responsible for nourishing, protecting, and loving on your new little one, it does not mean you have to stop taking care of yourself. In fact, Ebi was founded on the belief that in order to take care of your baby to the best of your ability, you have to first make sure you’re giving yourself the care you need.
Ebi’s small but mighty collection of products focuses uniquely on the importance of self-care during the postpartum phase. The plant-based, organic ingredients sourced for their products were chosen with the intention of maximizing any opportunity a new mother may have to practice self care by nourishing, soothing, and restoring mama when and where she needs it most. Through massage, bath, and the ritual of tea-drinking, mama can take necessary time to herself, aiding to the postpartum recovery of mind, body, and spirit. The brand’s name, which means “family” in Yoruba, proves that Ebi believes that a healthy family stems from a supported mother who’s been wrapped in self-care and safe, effective healing from the very start.
Here’s what Ebi’s founder Bre Robbins had to say about self-care, motherhood, and why the two need to complement each other in order to maintain wellbeing:
MAMA GLOW: It seems like everyone’s using the phrase “self care” these days (which is great!). What is your personal definition of self care?
BRE: “I heavily identify with my role of being a mother, so I kind of look at my self care through that lens. I think part of the reason why I started Ebi is because 18 months after I had my daughter, I realized that I wasn’t being very mindful about how I was taking care of myself and how it wasn’t really benefiting her or I in the long run. I came to a deep realization and appreciation for the fact that nurturing and taking care of yourself well is a gift that keeps giving to you and others. So I really think the true purpose and true meaning of self care for anyone, even if you’re not a mother, is about balance – I like to think of it as balanced self care. And that basically just means that you pour into yourself first and consistently to be able to give to others from a place of fullness as opposed to a place of lack. So self care isn’t selfish, it’s something you do for people around you.”
Was there an experience you had in your own life postpartum that made you realize products like Ebi’s needed to exist?
“Yeah, totally. I was very fortunate to have support. My mother-in-law stayed for a while, we had a night nurse because my daughter was premature. We had a part time nanny, and an amazing doula who made postpartum visits. So I had support, but there was no one communicating to me and no one giving me anything that made it easier for me to take care of myself. I hobbled together some things like a fennel tea that I didn’t particularly like, and I was trying to eat lots of protein to keep my nutrients up for breastfeeding and all of that and it went pretty well. But I was feeling very depleted and resentful. And it was showing up – I had really bad postpartum acne, melasma, my hair was falling out… a lot of these things are related to energy loss, and many of the traditional postpartum practices are about returning energy and work to the body because you lose a lot of fluid, you lose a lot of blood. So you’ll see a lot of our products deal around the element of water. The oil brings moisture back into the skin, in the bath you’re immersing yourself into an herbal bath or treating your tissues and perineal area postpartum with a postpartum sitz bath. You’re making sure you’re well hydrated, but not just hydrated, drinking something that’s ultra-nourishing and addresses that depletion. And all those benefits are passed onto baby, too.”
When a woman has a baby, oftentimes self care goes out the window. Why do you believe that, for new mothers especially, self care is so important?
“It’s one of the top most important things to maintain. I think a lot of people think it’s a nice to have, but it is really like a non-negotiable. You have to be able to advocate for yourself and fight for that time for yourself. Again, it’s all about connection – really being able to connect well, and to be able to connect well you have to connect well with you first. And that is really what nurturing or mothering yourself is really about. There’s that quote out there ‘if you don’t love yourself, how are you gonna love somebody else?’ How are you supposed to mother somebody if you can’t take good care of yourself?”
What makes Ebi so unique among other postpartum brands?
“I think for a long time a lot of brands were focused on utility, but I think we’re seeing in many different ways that it’s not looked upon like a luxury to pour into yourself and to nurture yourself. More than that, I think that Ebi has a strong voice communicating to moms ‘It’s okay. It’s okay to acknowledge this vulnerability that you need to be nurtured and cared for, too. In fact, it is a sign of deep strength.'”
How important was it to you to create a line of care that will be there for women no matter their reproductive stage of life?
“They’re all really great for any stage of life. Some of the doulas and herbalists I work with have also shared that the products are also great for after pregnancy loss, which is something that people think about a lot but those women go through postpartum, too. And myself – I consider myself almost 36 months postpartum. I don’t think it ever really ends, it is truly like a practice. I feel really glad that I was able to create something that can stay with women because that’s really what Ebi is about. It’s a medium for this practice of balanced self care.”
Ebi takes great pride in its ingredients. How did you go about choosing what to put into your products and why is where they come from so important to you?
“My background is in public health. So I was pre-med during undergrad but then decided against going to medical school, but my background is very life sciences oriented – biology, chemistry, physiology, anatomy, all of that good stuff. In my work, I helped run an integrative wellness center at one of the major hospitals here in Boston and worked for large health systems out West before moving back here and working with start ups. But all of this work kind of centered around how to improve how we deliver health care and how do we do health care better. I think I definitely brought that framework to Ebi. All of our products are multipurpose, multi-use, so I just really focused on trying to give women a comprehensive postpartum healing and nurturing experience.
“The Oil can be used on your face – it’s sesame oil, which is used for self massage, it’s high in zinc which is great for postpartum melasma, it’s great for hair loss, for wound healing, as is almond oil. It also has some UV protection, and the herbs that we put into the oil are antiviral, anti microbial, anti inflammatory. Marshmallow and chickweed work together to pull moisture into the skin and keep it there. For the Bath, we have sea salt from Martha’s Vineyard from a woman-owned salter. She gets it tested regularly, and it’s much higher in magnesium and other trace nutrients than what you would usually find on the market and magnesium is more easily absorbed through the skin than it is through the digestive tract. We also have burdock in there which is great for cradle cap and other infant skin conditions, so it’s great for baby too. Rose petals, which smell and look very nice but they’re also a mild astringent so they help stop bleeding. Yarrow and comfrey are very cleansing to the tissues and reparative. And the Tisane, it’s full of galactagogues and nutritive herbs.. and all of these nutrients are passed along to your baby. We also have chamomile in there which soothes the nervous system which is very needed in the postpartum period because anxiety can interfere with sleep and your let-down reflex, so it supports all of that.
“And I think being very mindful where I chose – a lot of the herbs come from a woman-owned herb farm in the Berkshires. She’s a third-generation female farmer, the farm was actually owned by her grandmother. The land had kind of fallen into decay and the family was going to sell it off, but she told them ‘Give me a year. I wanna see what I can make of this.’ And she’s created this beautiful space. She pours back into her community, teaching about herbalism to people who might not have access to it – indigenous people, people of color. She gives discounts for wholesale to people from these marginalized communities. And I think that intention, that vibration, is passed into the products.”
If you could give one piece of advice to a new mother, what would it be?
Is there a self care ritual that you make sure you do regularly?
“I am a big proponent of bathing, I think I’m like a bathing evangelist. I feel like a lot of people are into showers because they’re efficient, but there’s something just ethereal about submerging yourself in water. It’s like baptism, you really just leave it all in the bath and you’re like born anew when you emerge. I try to take a bath at least once a week… there’s just something very spiritual about bathing. And I’m a water sign, I’m a Cancer.”