Post Natal Depletion – what can you do?
Check out my Facebook Video on Post Natal Depletion here: https://www.facebook.com/lifechangingnutritionandwellness/videos/3038070672882729/
Post Natal mums are often left to their own devices once the bundle of joy is a couple of weeks old.
Dad may have gone back to work after a few weeks or even days, the novelty of the new arrival has worn off grandparents and life moves on.
This can be an extremely difficult reality for a new mum to face. The beautiful baby brings many mums an abundance of much joy, love and happiness. But what’s not often discussed is that a new baby can also bring a lot of hard work, guilt, anxiety, sleep deprivation, nutrient depletion, isolation and social life restrictions.
I work with mums & dads before, during and after pregnancy to optimize their health both physically and mentality, as well as to make plans for when baby arrives.
Many, many years ago, communities and whole families would raise a baby, allowing the new mum to focus on her new baby and recovering from pregnancy and birth. Healing and nourishing foods would be made for mum to help restore nutrients lost through pregnancy, birthing and nursing. Mum and baby would be given time and space to bond, establish feeding and get to know each other.
Both mum and baby would often not see anyone other than immediate family in the first few weeks. They didn’t leave the house, nor do any chores.
Today there is huge pressure on new mums to recover quickly from birth, get “back to pre-baby weight”, go back to work, socialise, cook meals, keep the house clean and do mum and baby classes etc etc.
While there is nothing wrong with going to classes or socializing, it’s not necessary in the fourth trimester.
This is a time for rest and recovery. How do we change this though? Help each other. Women need to back each other up, avoid being judgmental, insist on supporting friends who have given birth, give your time as gifts, not material things. Value every woman space and respect the need for mum and baby to bond. Don’t offer to visit them in hospital, or as soon as they get home.
As a new mum insist on the support you deserve
Call in your forces – get people around you who will do everything for you allowing you time to recover and focus on your new baby
Taking this time to bond with your baby, will help you both sleep better, establish feeding better, understanding baby cues and signals as you’re not distracted by others
Treating your health as a priority now, learn to say NO – if your health suffers the people who depend on you will suffer
Remember YOU ARE THE SUPER STAR for creating & birthing another life
Feed yourself properly – make sure you have a big hearty breakfast, lunch and dinner. Eat each meal to the point where you feel a sense of fullness, if you are not full after a portion, eat a little more until you are feeling full. As long as the food is nourishing you won’t gain weight from it. Your body knows what to do with real food.
Postnatal mums need more food to support recovery and produce breast milk if you are nursing.
I do not suggest calorie counting or trying to lose weight. Your body will do what it needs to do during this important time. Dieting now is likely to cause increased gain weight later and increase your risk reduced energy, low mood, low blood pressure, poor sleep and so much more…
EFA Omega 3: Baby brains require high levels of omega 3 during their growth phase. Prenatal vitamins usually don’t have adequate amounts of omega 3 in them to meet this demand. Instead during pregnancy, the baby will steal the required omega 3 from your brain, which can cause baby brain (also caused by hormonal imbalances, lack of sleep and other factors).
To get enough omega 3, you need to eat 2-3 portions of oily fish. Salmon, Anchovies, Mackerel, Herring, Sardines or Trout are all good sources.
Plant based foods are important for a good balance of Omega 3 but you’ll need much more of them if you don’t eat fish.
Cold Pressed Coconut oil, Olive Oil, Linseeds/Flaxseeds, Soaked Chia seeds, Sunflower, Pumpkin and Sesame seeds
Water: Hydration is such an underestimated requirement.
Drink at least 6 glasses of water and more if you are breast feeding.
In the first few weeks post birth you should start to lose the extra fluid you accumulated during pregnancy and sweat more than before. Drinking enough water is essential to allow this fluid to leave your body.
Iron: Babies usually take a lot of iron from their mama in the last trimester, and you lose blood during the birthing process too. For this reason it is important to eat foods that have plenty of iron in them. Red meat, eggs, fish, chicken are all well known to have plenty of iron, but there are plenty of good sources found elsewhere spinach and leafy greens, beans, chickpeas, lentils, broccoli, nuts and seeds are all good sources. However, animal sources are more easily absorbed so again, be mindful of this when choosing between meat or vegetables.
Tip: Eating a source of vitamin C with an Iron rich food boosts the iron absorption. Although iron supplements contain added vitamin C, there is little evidence to show that supplemental vitamin C increases absorption, while there is evidence to support that food sources will help absorption. Food sources such as oranges, strawberries, peppers, spinach are all good sources of vitamin C.
Testing: Please do not supplement with iron unless you have been tested and results show that you need to supplement. Nature is pretty darn smart, so eating iron rich foods is usually enough and your body will get rid of any excess iron naturally. If you supplement, your body can’t always clear the excess and too much iron can be dangerous!
B12: Another nutrient that can be used by little babies and often found to be depleted in post natal mummies. Often there are no obvious symptoms of B12 insufficiency until it has gone on for some time. B12 is found in animal products only eggs, meat, fish, milk, yoghurt. All vegans should supplement with this key nutrient. Symptoms of low B12 can often be confused with post natal norms, like feeling tired, sleepy, irritable…. it’s not normal. Get tested.
Vitamin D: Very difficult to get from food or from the sun in Ireland & UK.
Department of Health recommend supplementing with Vitamin D for both mum and baby. I would also recommend getting tested to see where are with your vitamin D.
I offer “Essential health” blood testing which is a simple pin prick, get in touch to learn more.