Congratulations on becoming a mum! I am sure that you have noticed that life changes dramatically with the arrival of children. Most new Mums feel that they need to focus all of their energy on looking after their new baby and they will often neglect their own health. It is important to remember to be the best possible Mum that you can be for your baby you must look after yourself as well.
Whether you are breast feeding or not you will require some additional nutrients to help you to get through the early days of having a new baby at home. The first three months of your baby’s life is like the fourth trimester of pregnancy and you need to keep looking after yourself during this period the same as you did while you were pregnant. When you give birth you will lose a large amount of nutrients from your body. Your baby will take them to help them continue to grow and develop in the first couple of months. This often means that many Mums become very nutrient depleted if they don’t have enough extra stores of nutrients that they built up during their pregnancy.
The first couple of months of your new baby’s life will be difficult for many new Mums as you try to establish a routine and survive on a lot less sleep than you are used to. You may find that you don’t have time to cook meals (unless you have some great family and friends who cook for you) this will mean that you might need to rely on food on the run and some nutrient supplements to provide you with energy and help you to produce enough breast milk for your growing baby.
- If you are tired and feeling stressed there are some great herbs that can help you to feel better, these include Withania, Licorice and Siberian Ginseng. You can make a lovely herb tea up with any of these herbs to help you feel a bit more balanced and they are completely safe to take while breastfeeding.
- A good quality multivitamin supplement will give you a more energy. If you are breastfeeding add at least 1000mg of good quality fish oil supplement to your daily routine to help with your milk supply.
- As stated above often you can be quite depleted of nutrients after you give birth so additional supplementation of Vitamin D, Zinc, Iodine, Magnesium and Iron may be required. All of these nutrients are required for energy production, a strong immune system and a healthy nervous system for both you and your baby. Speak to your health professional about getting some tests done to check some of your nutrient levels. Don’t take additional supplementation (apart from your multivitamin and fish oils) without first finding out whether you need it. Taking additional nutritional supplements that you don’t require may result in some nutrient imbalances in your body.
- For some women pregnancy can cause their thyroid function to go out of balance. So it may be worth getting your thyroid function checked as well, especially if you have continual low energy and your moods are low. Speak to your doctor or naturopath to arrange the appropriate thyroid tests.
- If you are breast feeding and having problems with your milk supply it is important that you drink lots of water and eat well. This is the time when you are now eating for two! Make sure that you are eating enough protein each day, your body requires protein to make enough milk. There are also some great herbs which support breastfeeding, these include – Shatavari, Fennel, Goat’s rue, Squaw vine, Fenugreek, Vervain and Chaste tree. You can purchase Breastfeeding Tea which contain these herbs from your health food store or ask your Naturopath to make you up a blend of liquid herbs for breastfeeding.
- Mastitis is another issue that some breastfeeding Mums have, it is the infection of breast tissue. You may feel like you are getting flu-like symptoms and starts with aches and pains and once the infection takes hold you will have a fever, chills and a very sore breast with red hot patches. There are several natural things which you can take immediately to help to fight the infection. High doses of Vitamin C and Zinc with some herbs such as Poke Root, Echinacea, Clivers and Calendula can be very effective. Frozen cabbage leaves applied to the breast can also be very effective in drawing out the infection. If your infection has not cleared within 48 hours see your doctor as you might require antibiotic therapy to treat the infection.
The best advice for all new Mums is – your baby is only this young for a very short time and any challenges that you may be having in the early stage will pass. Don’t be afraid to ask for help so that you can spend your time enjoying your baby rather than worrying about how you are going to get through each day.