It’s no secret that the path to postpartum healing can be long and arduous. The time after birth should be observed as a sacred bonding time between mom and baby. This is a time for deep care and rest for the new mother, given that you just spent the last several months growing this beautiful new life. One of the most important ways to care for yourself in postpartum is to have a solid nutrition and self-care plan in place – and seek support to help you achieve that plan.
As a holistic nutrition consultant, I’ve worked with several prenatal and postpartum mamas throughout their pregnancy and postpartum journeys. In working with these mamas, I consistently recommend these five postpartum essentials to assist in their journey to true healing!
1. Eat a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet
The thorough research on the link between nutrient depletion during pregnancy and lactation and postpartum depression has shown that nutrient depletion can affect the production of key neurotransmitters (an example would be serotonin) and that lower levels of these key nutrients – folate, vitamin D, iron, selenium, zinc, fats, and fatty acids have all been associated with a higher risk of postpartum depression.
Focus on eating real, whole foods from an organic, local (when possible) and non-GMO source. When organic is not an option due to availability or budgetary reasons, follow the Clean 15 / Dirty Dozen. I wrote a little bit more about that here. Try to eat grass-fed and pasture-raised meats and wild fish. It’s best to consume meat that is bone-in for maximum nutrient density.
2. Eat breakfast within an hour of waking up, and eat every 2-3 hours after that
I often hear new mamas say that they don’t have the opportunity to eat breakfast and rarely have time to eat enough throughout the day. As part of your postpartum prep, try to freeze breakfast and snack foods so that you have several options on hand when the craziness of early morning feedings and diaper changes take over. Some of my favorite freezable breakfast meals and snacks include egg cups, lactation muffins, egg casserole bakes, etc.
Try to keep nutrient-dense snacks on hand to ensure that you are eating frequently enough throughout the day. Some of my favorite snacks include grass-fed meat sticks, oysters, raw cheese, yogurt, energy bites, oatmeal, etc.
3. Hydrate often and replenish with electrolytes and nourishing teas
For breastfeeding mothers, 10 to 15 glasses of water a day are required to keep your cells hydrated and produce enough breast milk. The more fluids that you are able to consume, the faster your body can rebuild and regenerate. I often like to recommend that my clients add in electrolytes each day.
My favorite electrolytes for postpartum are by Seeking Health. My clients have a lot of success in achieving their hydration goals each day by purchasing a liter stainless steel water bottle prior to delivering their little one.
Red Raspberry Leaf tea isn’t just helpful in pregnancy, it’s also essential to your postpartum healing. Red Raspberry Leaf tea is high in key vitamins and minerals (folate, B vitamins, magnesium, etc.), helps restore and tone the uterus, can curb excessive bleeding and even helps with milk production. I prefer to buy RRL loose leaf and love buying mine from Rebecca’s or Mountain Rose Herbs if you are not located in Boulder.
4. Take high-quality supplements to replenish nutrient stores
During the postpartum period, it is important to continue your prenatal vitamins. I also like to recommend that my clients add in grass-fed beef liver capsules, magnesium, probiotics, DHA/fish oil for omegas, and vitamin D (if you are not able to get adequate natural sunlight each day). Beef liver is like natures multivitamin and offers several vitamins and minerals that support postpartum healing and the recent nutrient depletion (beef liver is high in folate, B vitamins, zinc, etc.). I also love recommending the Natal Nourish by Organic Olivia for a beautiful blend of healing herbs.
Whenever possible, choose high-quality, food-based supplements recommended by your doctor or practitioner.
5. Consume collagen-rich foods to support tissue repair and healing
Collagen is a superfood when it comes to joint repair! Collagen helps us heal, sleep, support thyroid health, regulate blood sugar and support healthy metabolism. Many mamas also have success with taking collagen in postpartum and having less hair loss. Collagen can be added to smoothies, coffee, water, etc. My favorite brand of collagen is Great Lakes Gelatin.
Katie Braswell, of Wild + Well, is a Holistic Nutritionist based in Boulder, CO. Katie’s specific areas of interest are preconception health, fertility, prenatal nutrition and supplementation, gestational diabetes, breastfeeding and postpartum care (focusing on nurturing mama and baby). She specializes in functional nutrition for families – especially the mama or mama to be who is looking to maximize their time adventuring with their little ones! Katie offers one-on-one nutritional and supplementation consultation packages, custom meal plan and prep consults, as well as, private and group yoga classes. Check out her website to learn more or to schedule a free 20-minute discovery call.
**Wild + Well does not provide any medical advice and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your healthcare professional. I am not a doctor nor do I claim to be and nothing you read here should be taken as medical advice.**