This is for all of you out there who are looking to get pregnant or are pregnant. It’s even for those of you who are supporting someone who is pregnant! If you would prefer to read about Pre-natal Nutrition & Supplements, click here!
Everyone’s birthing experience is going to be different. You may prep for a terrible postpartum experience based on stories you’ve heard from others. That doesn’t mean you will experience the same as others!
However, there are some that feel the “baby blues”, those who experience feeling sad or empty for up to 2 weeks after childbirth. Anything longer than that is known as postpartum depression. Postpartum psychosis is a rare condition that typically develops within the first week after delivery, and the signs and symptoms are severe. If you experience any of this for more than a week or two, consult your OBGYN and family doctor so you don’t leave this untreated.
⭐ Did you know fathers can get Postpartum depression, too?! In fathers (or the partner who did not give birth), they may feel sad, fatigued, feel overwhelmed, experience anxiety, or notice changes in their usual eating and sleeping patterns. Please talk to your health care professional if you are experiencing these symptoms! ⭐
Thankfully, there are ways to help reduce the odds of you going through negative symptoms of postpartum simply by eating healthily and supplementing with the appropriate vitamins and minerals. Keep in mind movement & exercise are high up on that list as well. As is a good amount of rest, if possible.
Today, we’ll go over what to eat (or avoid) postpartum and how and why supplementation is so important to you and the babe after giving birth. If you’re interested in learning more, read on! ↓↓↓
What to eat
Now that you’ve given birth, you can just go back to eating how you used to eat!
However, keep in mind that after pregnancy, your body has undergone a tremendous amount of change and stress. Recovering from birth requires patience and support through postnatal nutrition. There should be a strong focus on recovery and healing through proper diet and healthy habits.
For mothers that are breastfeeding, the connection to their baby remains very intertwined, making proper nutrition ever more vital. What you eat gives you the nutrients that your baby will consume through breast milk.
If you are breastfeeding, you’ll actually need more calories now than before, as you are sharing these calories and nutrients with your baby. Aim for 300 calories more than your pre-pregnancy diet. If you do not count calories, why not try some of these cute little recipes? Or check out this visual representation of what 300 calories looks like.
“Protein is important for postpartum recovery and for the growth and repair of your cells. And baby needs protein for cell growth and immune function,” says Torey Armul, R.D., a nutritionist based in Ohio, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
You’ll also want to increase your calcium intake, as your estrogen will be low when you’re nursing, so your bones are at risk for osteoperosis. Although some babies are allergic to dairy, and breastfeeding may lead to a gassy, fussy baby, keep in mind you do not need to eat/drink dairy in order to get your calcium. This is where you can supplement or eat foods like sardines, dark leafy greens, or soybeans.
What to avoid
If you’re breastfeeding, you may wonder what you need to avoid in order to provide the best for your baby.
Fortunately, all of the foods that were off-limits during pregnancy are back on the menu when you’re breastfeeding. While pathogens like listeria, toxoplasmosis and salmonella can still definitely make you sick, they can’t make it into your breast milk or harm your baby.
Alcohol is the one consumable you need to be cautious with when you’re breastfeeding. However, while it does enter your breast milk, it’s in small amounts, and moderate drinking (no more than two drinks per day) is fine, research shows. If you’re safe to drive, you’re safe to breastfeed.
What supplements should I take?
You can continue to take your prenatal vitamin, but your doctor may recommend you add some calcium and/or iron.
But, Postnatal Depression is also a common condition that can affect women, so it’s important to address what you can take to try to prevent this. Examples of possible dietary supplements aimed at preventing postpartum depression include omega-3 fatty acids, iron, folate, s-adenosyl-L-methionine, vitamin B12, B6, B2, vitamin D, and calcium.
While breastfeeding, your needs for certain nutrients are even higher than they were during pregnancy. For that reason, it’s important to continue supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals during your entire breastfeeding journey.
Even if you are not breastfeeding, you want to make sure you’re getting everything you need to function optimally. Just like formula is fortified with vitamins and minerals for your baby, you should be fortifying your diet for YOU!
In general, you can start to ease up on your food restrictions post-partum and reintroduce your sushi, coffee, and a glass of wine, but this will all depend on whether or not you’re breastfeeding, when you plan on feeding or prepping your milk, if you going to feed your child formula, and more.
Let go of the restrictions a bit and give yourself the love and affection that you show your baby. Create a routine (not set in stone, obviously) so that you know exactly what supplements to take every day. Make sure that you’re eating the same if not more than pre-pregnancy so that you can keep up your energy, both mentally and physically. Your baby will thank you for it, and so will you!
Have you recently had a baby and have been wondering what to change in your lifestyle? Perhaps you had a baby a decade ago but you’ve got a friend or family member who is getting ready to have their own. Share this blog and leave a comment if you want to add any tips and tricks. I certainly did not cover the majority of what women go through post-partum and would love to hear from you!
Interview with a mom-to-be:
- Acknowledging that your body will change and you do not have to feel ashamed to say it. Not everyone will be ok with this change in the body (mentally or physically)
- Birth Mom Buds www.birthmombuds.com
- Black Infant Memorial www.blackinfantmemorial.com
- Compassionate Friends www.compassionatefriends.org
- Exhale: an After-Abortion Hotline www.4exhale.org 1-866-439–4253
- Glow (for babylost mothers and fathers) www.glowinthewoods.com
- Griefwatch (for perinatal loss) www.griefwatch.com
- Grieve Out Loud www.grieveoutloud.org
- Georgetown University – Emotional Healing after a Miscarriage: A Guide for Women, Partners, Family and Friends
- March of Dimes www.marchofdimes.com/Baby/loss.html
- Miscarriage for Men www.miscarriageformen.com
- Miscarriage Matters www.mymiscarriagematters.org
- MISS Foundation www.misschildren.org
- Pregnancy Loss Directory www.pregnancylossdirectory.com/
- Return to Zero Return to Zero Center for Healing
- RESOLVE through Sharing www.bereavementservices.org – for providers
- SHARE Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support www.nationalshare.org
- Solace for Mothers (Birth Trauma & Recovery) www.solaceformothers.org
- Star Legacy Foundation – support groups www.starlegacyfoundation.org/support-groups
- Tears Foundation www.thetearsfoundation.org
Chelsea has been active most of her life, which led her to become a Personal Trainer and Yoga Instructor for the past 7 years. Health and Fitness are not solely dependent on movement, though, and with that understanding, she addresses her client’s other needs, such as diet, mindfulness, and stress management.
When she is not training clients or teaching Yoga, she is finding new activities that keep her mind and body active, such as rock climbing, hiking, listening to podcasts, or playing Board Games with friends. She is constantly working towards finding natural solutions to live as long as possible, inclusive Yoga for all body types, and aiming to find mindfulness in everything she does.
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