The Fourth Trimester is an entirely new world to navigate of breastfeeding and new schedules, the list goes on. While so much of a new mom's attention is focused on babe, it's important she focus on her health in such a transitional time - we look at how moms can support themselves and babe simultaneously to ensure good health for both! A lot of recommendations result in a cycle in that if mom takes in proper vitamins, minerals, and nutrients then her breastmilk supply should be well balanced, nourishing a healthy babe that wants to feed regularly and develops in healthy ways, while mom feels as well as possible during this time due to proper nutrient intake, and repeat!
Prenatal: One major recommendation we have is to have women continue their prenantal, especially if breastfeeding! Prenatals are rich in many vitamins and minerals that mom and baby both need to support recovery and development such as calcium, zinc, magnesium and other critical nutrients. Just as babe needed calcium during pregnancy, now the breastmilk wants calcium to nourish babe and this will be taken from the mother yet again. Additionally vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12 (to help with red blood cell production and energy levels), D (to help with immunity and prevent post-partum depression), DHA (fatty acid), choline (brain health, and mom's needs are higher than ever!), and iodine all contribute to the production of breast milk.
- DHA: We also recommend a high DHA supplement to support sensory, neurological and brain development in babe. Omega fatty acids also contribute to preventing post-partum depressing in new moms.
Nutrition plays a big role in having us feel our best and with the proper balance of nutrients new moms can feel confident that they're doing everything they can to ensure a healthy first few months post-partum.
Water: First thing's first - hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! We recommend around 3L of water per day as dehydration plays a major role in breast milk supplies not coming in and will keep you feeling more grounded in general.
Protein: During this time you want to up your protein intake! Protein is important to support cellular regeneration, which supports recovery.
Spicy foods: ginger and turmeric are two spicy roots that are both well-loved for their abilities to stimulate breast milk production (herbal galactogogues!)
Complex Carbohydrates: In the form of whole grains, complex carbs are important sources of B vitamins, minerals and fibre. The fibre will help you feel full longer, and stabilize blood sugar levels while supporting proper digestion. Oatmeal (soaked is preferred) is one of the most popular galactogogues - meaning it has specific properties that help support breast milk production.
Brewers yeast: Another galactogogue, brewer's yeast should not be confused with nutritional yeast as they are from different types of yeast! Brewers yeast is high in complex b vitamins, protein and selenium, which are all nutrients new moms need to support overall health of both herself and babe.
Seeds: Focus on seeds with their dense nutrients and minerals, such as sesame seeds and flax seeds. Sesame seeds are full of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, and fibre. Flaxseeds contain phytoestrogens that can help support breastmilk production and balance hormone levels.
RECIPE! These lactation cookies are a healthy, great support for milk production!
One major thing we stress to new moms is reach out, reach out, reach out. If you need support, don't be afraid to ask for it! We offer a wealth of information in helping navigate the post-partum world and can help with any breastfeeding questions you have.
What is colostrum? From days 1-5, new moms produce colostrum, a thick white fluid that isn't watery and plentiful as one would imagine milk to be. Colostrum is incredibly rich in nutrients, building blocks for a heathy immune system, and supports babe's bowel movements.
So, when will mature milk come in? From day 2 post-partum new moms may see thier mature milk supply come in, but it's also entirely normal for it not to come in until day 5! Mature milk is easier for babe to digest, and is full of nutrients, vitamins, digestive enzymes, and hormones.
What are Other Ways I Can Encourage Babe to Breastfeed? One major way to support healthy feeding is offering the breast for baby to suckle as much as possible - even if supply feels low and babe gets fussy at the breast, having them there really helps to stimulate your supply. Another strategy is babywearing / skin-to-skin contact which helps to support:
Acupuncture: we love love love acupuncture and by now you know this. It influences neuroendocrine and immune systems by regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, endorphins and glucocorticoids that all play roles in managing stress responses and inflammation which are both very important at this time. There is additional research that acupuncture may regulate gene expression, suggesting that it may have anti-depressive effects. We know it may feel impossible to carve out time for yourself to have an acupuncture session, but we have these gorgeous acupressure seed kits and are more than happy to chat about which would work for you!
IV Vitamin Infusion Therapy: IV nutrients are incredibly safe in pregnancy and nursing - we love efficient nutrient delivery at a cellular level. Often in post-partum, nutritional repletion is difficult for moms so having this safe and effective IV nutrient delivery is a support for both mom and babe! We offer IV Vitamin Infusions in both Moncton and Charlottetown!
Pelvic Floor Specialists: Seeing a pelvic floor specialist pre and postpartum can make a world of difference in the way a new mom feels day to day. They work through exercises to alleviate incontinence, discomfort, and overall strengthen the now weak but tight pelvic floor! In Moncton, we recommend Reconnect Health!
Naturopathic Care for Babe: We can support not only moms, but new babes as well! By assessing general sleep patterns (they ay not present quite yet but we can assess what sleep does occur) we can provide guidelines about establishing healthy sleep habits early on for babe. Another aspect we can look at is nutrients provided and based on babe's stool output, assess whether or not their digestion is on track! This can be helpful as it can provide insight especially if mom is well-supplemented, things that could be altered diet or lifestyle-wise to keep babe healthy and thriving!
Sitz Baths: These shallow baths improve blood flow to the perineal area to reduce swelling and inflammation, and ultimately promote healing. They help to soothe the soreness that comes from stretching and relax the perineal muscles, which can relieve the pain of a tear or episiotomy.
Overall, the name of the game during this new period of life is taking it easy and listening to your body as much as possible. Trust your intuition and what your body is telling you when it comes to your own health and that of your sweet new babe!
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