“Being a mom is natural and it’s going to be easy,” think many moms at some point, whether it be their first birth or their fifth, so they are not thinking about those baby blues. “Women have been doing this for centuries and I got this.” That’s how we get it all done. We, also, all know it’s not always easy so it’s extra important for mom to make sure she gets the right diet and hormone support to prevent and alleviate baby blues.
Baby blues are the mildest form of postpartum depression. It can include feelings of anxiety, weepiness, frustration, mood swings and anxiousness shortly after birth that lasts for few hours or days. Post-partum depression lasts longer and is more severe. Feelings of hopelessness and difficulty bonding with baby may also lead to thoughts of hurting yourself or the baby. It’s important for mom to support herself.
How is a mom going to make sure she supports herself? Is it even possible with dirty diapers, making sure the baby latches and caring for the rest of her family too?
It is. It’s important to plan ahead, follow the easy tips below and ask for help. Ask family and friends to be there for support- no mom should be in this alone. It will keep diet and hormones optimal so she can care for her family.
Baby blues and post-partum depression are not uncommon. Moms, you are not alone if you have feelings of irritability, fatigue, worry or unhappiness. Up to 80% of moms experience baby blues and 15% of births result in moms with postpartum depression. (1)
It is no woman’s fault if she is having those feelings but you can take some steps to support yourself through this time. You can’t do it alone- take the steps. After baby, I’ll be doing it too.
Bustin’ Baby Blues Tips:
This is a great number one. The day before my period, I am always craving chocolate and boneless wings. I can’t explain the boneless wings but the chocolate I can explain. Chocolate is the biggest serotonin-based food on the planet. It has serotonin and it also helps your gut make more of it. Serotonin is your feel-good hormone, your happy hormone so that’s why your body craves it.
Your body knows what it needs. So, when you eat chocolate before your period it boosts the serotonin. It will work the same to boost the hormones post-pregnancy too.
Make sure you are getting the good chocolate. Find some good organic cacao. You don’t want the cheap “chocolate.” Heat and processing takes all the good stuff from most of that impulse-buy store chocolate.
Get a Cacao Butter Massage
Grab the cacao butter for a relaxing massage and release that serotonin. Massage yourself or ask someone for help. A nice cacao butter massage is sure to boost that feel good hormone. Cacao is one of those amazing superfoods that is good for a woman’s hormones on the inside and out.
Another benefit to a cacao butter massage is cacao butter is loaded with polyphenols that will help your skin fight aging. So, rub it all over. Remember your bum will be more slippery when you sit on that toilet though. There is nothing sexy about a mama almost falling off the toilet. Not that I would know!
Choose Iron-rich Foods
After giving birth, women lose a lot of blood which leads to low iron levels, along with feelings of fatigue. That’s when you get the feeling like you can’t ever catch up. Especially, if you have other little ones at home. You feel like you can’t be enough for all the people in your life. When I had my second baby, the oldest was the hardest to care for. I wanted to be there for him but I had to be there for the new baby. So, make sure you are choosing iron rich foods to ward off that fatigue and those feelings like you can’t be enough.
There are lots of iron rich foods. Choose ones that you know you will like to munch on. Maybe you have some beans, leafy greens (like spinach), almonds, broccoli or raisins. (2) Spirulina is a very iron-rich super food you can throw in your smoothie.
Munch on Maca Root
Hormones shoot sky high during pregnancy and when they drop it triggers the onset of labor. Once you have the baby all those hormones are taken from you instantly. This is good because that means you have the baby. However, it can still be tough- no matter how happy you are. Eat some maca root to help.
Maca root is an adaptogen. Adaptogens are herbs that help the body respond to stresses and support proper physiological function. Maca root helps the woman adapt to those changes in hormones so it is not as severe.
Maca root has been described as mildly nutty (like me) with an earthy, malty or butterscotch flavor. You’re going to love it when you add it to your smoothies or your breakfast foods!
Eat Good Non-inflammatory Foods
Know anything you eat or that comes into your body means your body has a decision to make. Is it something it can take and use for good, or its going to be something to trigger an inflammatory response?
Inflammation starts in your gut and that is also where all your neurotransmitters and happy hormones like serotonin are made. You want your gut functioning optimally for health so make sure you are avoiding inflammatory foods like dairy, soy, gluten and sugar. Also, avoid any of your own allergies which I hope you have been tested for.
There is no such thing as moderation- it’s an emotional justification to eat something bad. Avoid those processed foods and find good, organic foods that are going to treat your gut right. Here is a great, easy recipe for a crockpot whole organic chicken.
Prepare by Freezing Meals in Advance
Time has no meaning after baby is born. Meaning you don’t have a lot of time. Freezing meals ahead of time either in full size meals for the whole family or individual sizes for a quick heat up can make it a lot easier to eat healthy. Check out these great recipes for easy meals to freeze before baby comes so you have more time for yourself and baby.
Before baby comes, when you are cooking those foods you love, make a double batch and freeze the extras. We like to put ours in glass mason jars or glass casserole dishes. Also, chop veggies and freeze ingredients to throw in the crock pot for easy meals.
Stock the Cupboards with Easy, Small Meals and Snacks
You will be doing lots of one-handed meals and snacking. You want something you can eat while also holding a baby and when you are breastfeeding you are going to be SUPER hungry. Make sure your cupboards and refrigerator are stocked with small meals you can eat on the fly.
There are lots of great snack ideas. That’s also when those iron-rich almonds and healthy snacks are a good thing to have on hand. Here’s a great glazed nut recipe you can make in advance. Apples and organic peanut butter or almond butter are a good choice too. Make some hardboiled eggs for a dozen filling snacks. Here’s a great guacamole recipe you can add maca root to.
Also, make sure you have a great grocery list of foods you can throw in the blender for an easy smoothie. Include some bone broth and hemp hearts for extra protein for your healing body.
Choosing good snacks post pregnancy will set you up to be a good role model as your little one grows. They will be watching you to see what you eat.
Drink Lots of Water
We all need 8-10 glasses of water a day. This is especially important when mom is breast feeding. Think about it- how can you make milk when the well is dry?
Eat Lots of Vitamin D Rich Foods
Studies have shown a link between Vitamin D deficiency and depression. They have also shown that taking a supplement can prevent depression. (3) Your body makes Vitamin D when you are exposed to sunlight. There are also lots of great Vitamin D rich foods like tuna, salmon, eggs and mackerel. Stock up on those wild caught fish, eat lots of eggs, and find a Vitamin D supplement to keep on hand.
Get Outside and Get Exercise
Stress plays a huge role in the balance of hormones along with inflammation, viruses and underlying things can trigger a hormonal cascade. Getting fresh air, exercise and self-care are vital to keeping you healthy. Take that walk with baby in the stroller and get some great vitamin D. Try to find time for yourself in moments throughout the day but also time away just for you.
Remember You are Not Alone
Girl, you are not alone. No pregnancy, birth or child are the same but many of us have been there and we know what you are going through. Remember, 80% of moms get the baby blues so if you are feeling a little overwhelmed don’t think it is a failure on your part. Reach out to your spouse, family member or friend for a little help. We got you.
And watch out for other moms too! We are so quick to judge each other but we don’t know what they are going through. So, hold that baby for a mom that needs a break, or catch her when she needs to be reminded of the awesome job she is doing.
Take Care of You
Don’t just worry about hormones for pregnancy- think of them throughout life. Now if a woman doesn’t support herself through that pregnancy process, that baby comes and its overwhelming. If they don’t have support or their guts are not in good place throughout pregnancy, it is going to be a lot harder to bounce back to get those hormones where they should.
Hormones are always secondary- they are never primary issue. If they are off, something is triggering them to be off. Can it be diet? Yes! Can it be stress? Yes! Can it be lack of sleep? Yes! So, finding the balance to best support our bodies so they are functioning along with having that support system at home can make a huge difference. You and your growing family deserve the best version of you.
You got this mama! If you’re healthy, you’ll better take care of you and baby.
Written by Nicole Saleske, Hormone and Fertility Expert