Self Care for New Mums
I am honoured to be on the panel for Western Sydney Mums’ Hub as their Expert Naturopath. You can find my first article up there now, it’s about the importance of self care for new mums, the importance of filling your own cup first, both emotionally and physically. Having a toddler myself, and seeing a lot of clients with young children has brought me a lot of awareness of the toll that not taking care of yourself can bring on new mothers. Below you can see a preview of the full article, or you can head straight to the original source and read it here.
In my practice I see a common theme – mothers who are stressed out, tired, sleep deprived, nutritionally depleted and haven’t thought about anything but their baby as a priority for many, many months.
As a Mum myself, I totally understand the inclination to put your baby first, the difficulty in preparing food for yourself when that time could be spent with baby, and the total lack of time that is available to even think about anything related to self-care, let alone actually do it.
But I have seen where this action can lead, and while some Mothers cope and gradually get their health back without any outside assistance, it’s more common that I see Mothers who are adrenally burnt out, their hormones have gone haywire (think thyroid imbalances, periods all over the place, difficulty conceiving the next baby, PMS, hormonal acne, weight gain), or their nervous system is so frayed they snap or cry at every little thing.
It’s no wonder that this happens, growing a baby for 9 months, and then being at their beck and call for the intense newborn period and the toddler years, on top of feeding them from your own nutrient stores (if breastfeeding was possible) and being sleep deprived. These things take their toll on a body. Sleep deprivation can suppress the immune system, slow the metabolism and impair digestive function. Nutrients such as Zinc, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Iodine, Protein and Omega-3 fatty acids are in high demand during pregnancy for the baby, and often can be deficient after birth.
So what should be done about this? Mother’s need to be looked after, by themselves and others. My top two tips are:
1. Take an hour of time for yourself each week to do something enjoyable
2. Look after your health by eating nutrient dense food
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking you to ignore the baby while you go and get pampered, I am asking you to ask for help (if possible) and allow yourself an hour a week of time to do something enjoyable such as spend time with adults, be creative, get a massage or sit in the park with a book. And if you need another reason not to feel guilty about taking this time you may like to know that research has found that new mothers who take at least one hour of time for themselves each week significantly reduce their chances of experiencing postnatal depression.
I’m also not asking you to be a super cook, but try to get in the right nutrients and not survive on baby leftovers, coffee and chocolate. Once many of the nutrients that are depleted in new mothers are refilled, the change is often remarkable.
While it’s possible to get plenty of nutrients from food sources alone, and I always prefer this as food has many more healing properties than just vitamins and minerals alone, new Mums often struggle to find the time to eat well and so it is recommended to take a supplement as an insurance against deficiency. Eat as well as you can as often as you can, and talk to your healthcare practitioner about which supplements may be best for you…
You can read the rest of the article here: http://www.westernsydneymumshub.com.au/filling-cup-first/