You’ve probably been told to keep taking your prenatal vitamin postpartum. But did you know that breastfeeding mamas have very different needs than a pregnant mama? Everybody’s worried about your nutrition prenatally, but a lot less worry about nutrition for postpartum mothers unless there’s a concern about food allergies for newborns. I think it’s a lot more important than that! Paying attention to our nutrients and nourishment postpartum can help prevent postpartum depression and increase longterm reproductive health.
In fact, the amount of milk a new mom produces in the first 4 months is roughly equivalent to the same amount of energy she used the entire pregnancy creating a human being! That’s crazy. It was a surprising statistic to me. Your prenatal vitamin might not cut it. You’ll also need to increase the amount of food you eat, and choose foods that are healing for the first 6-12 weeks.
Things to focus on with your diet and supplementation:
- Extra B vitamins: especially B6 for seratonin and melatonin production.
- Organic kelp: Supports your thyroid – which decreases function usually around month 4 postpartum (why some women have hair loss). A healthy thyroid keeps your metabolism going well and wards off mood swings. The iodine in kelp helps to support brain development in baby.
- Vitamin C and copper : both good for development.
- A small amount of fermented foods: to help metabolism and digestion. Not too much though – they can produce gas which is particularly uncomfortable if you’ve had a surgical birth.
- Bone broths: If you’re not a vegetarian the minerals found in bone broths are irreplaceable to healing postpartum. Stock your freezer now and have a few sips or bowls of soup made with it each day.
- Avoid sugar: You’re gonna want it. You’re tired and exerting more energy now with your new little one nursing and possibly an older child or a few of them. But just say no! Having sugar postpartum can lead to that crash feeling, increased anxiety and feelings of depression.
- Fish oils: Especially in the interest of warding off baby blues and keeping your immune system up, add in the fish oils. I really think Fermented Cod Liver Oil is the way to go – the fermentation process maintains the most nutrients and it’s sourced really well.
- Herbs: There are too many to list here! A good one to start with is chamomile, as it aids with after birth pains and induces a feeling of calm or even sleepiness in some.
One supplement I recommend often (and it’s a newer one) is New Chapter PostNatal. They ferment they’re whole food sources and add in supportive herbs. You might also encapsulate your placenta, drink a little beer for hops and possibly lactation teas. I could go on and on!
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