Hormone Health Post- Baby
So, you recently had a baby! Congratulations!
Or maybe your "new bundle of joy" is some how already starting kindergarten this year and you just have NO idea where the time went! This is a no judgement zone and although it may feel like all the instagram moms have their life together, let's be honest, having a baby is tough. It's amazing, but still tough. Tough on your body, on your emotional state, your sleep, your relationship, your career and your hormones!
So whether you just had a baby or just can't seem to get your hormones back, I wanted to share with you a few quick and easy ways to get your hormones and your body back!
Find your tribe
Having a new bundle of joy can be such an amazing and precious time, but unfortunately, once the dust has settled and everyone returns to their busy lives, it can be extremely isolating. It's common for women to experience the "baby blues" - feeling stressed, sad, anxious, lonely, tired, or weepy for no apparent reason following the birth of their child. 1 in 7 women will experience postpartum depression, and this is only counting the women who are formally diagnosed, which means there are likely many more women who suffer without seeking help. This is why I encourage you to find your tribe early. Find your tribe of uplifting, strong women who can be there for you no matter what. Find a tribe of woman that make you laugh and totally get the "new mom mistakes" that just happen. Having a strong sense of community can reduce your risk of developing postpartum depression by half!
Give Yourself Some Much Needed Credit
Whether you are a mother for the first time or just had your last baby, being pregnant, enduring childbirth and now being solely responsible for a tiny human is HARD, like really hard! So although you are doing #allthethings from the organic diapers. glass bottles and non toxic living, it can always feel like the mom next to you is somehow doing it better. So here is the advice I give all my new moms. JUST STOP. Stop, comparing yourself to any other mom because no other mom has your exact genes, hormones, tiny human or resources. We are all different and it's about time you give yourself some credit for all the amazing things you do from the moment you get up, to the moment you close your eyes. You are killing this whole new mom thing!
Make YOUR health a priority
As you have probably recently realized, once you are done being pregnant, the constant monitoring and doctors appointments have ended. I can't even tell you the number of women I have seen post-partum who had developed conditions like pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, or thyroid disorders who were NEVER evaluated after giving birth. Although your body can go back to normal, for most women, your hormones are on edge for months after giving birth and NO one has even run a simple blood test or even checked your pulse to make sure you haven't turned into a baby zombie. My point is, no one else is going to put your health first so it is your job to do so. You wanna know why I think this is so important? Well, it's because no matter how helpful your partner, parents or friends are, no one can take care of that baby like you can. I know you want to be the best mom you can be, so make sure and schedule a visit with your doctor within 2 months of giving birth. In my practice, I complete a comprehensive evaluation and physical exam on ALL my new moms at about 2 months post-partum. We make sure to evaluate all their hormones to get them back on track.
Post Baby Bod
Having a baby causes a lot of stress on your body physically and I know it can be tempting to feel discouraged by what your new bundle of joy just did to your body. But please, take a moment to appreciate and give your body some much needed love. This body of yours created a real life beautiful baby and for many women the struggle to conceive has been so REAL. Be grateful for where you are now and give your body time to heal. Remember you were just pregnant for 9 months... so don't be upset if you don't bounce back after 1-2 months. Fueling your body with nutrient dense foods, exercise and consulting with your naturopathic physician will all help you shed the baby weight and get you back to feeling like you, the new and improved you!
Work It Out!
I know you all know how important exercise is to your physical health but did you know it is just as important for your mental health? When I talk to new moms about starting a gentle exercise routine, they look at me cross eyed. But reality is, just like your baby does better with a routine, so do you. Make time for small workouts (they can be as simple as walking for 15-30mins a day) . These small but powerful workouts can not only change your body but improve your mental health. Ideally find a workout buddy or joining a fitness class, when you are ready, can help you continue to build your tribe as well as getting a much needed sweat on. Start small and gradually increase your exercise routine. I want working out to become second nature to you, a part of your daily routine. I want it to become an outlet for your physical and emotional health.
Listen to your intuition
Just like you can secretly known exactly when the baby is about to wake up before she even makes a peep, it is important to listen to your intuition when it comes to your own health. If you are completely exhausted after having a baby and can’t seem to get out of bed no matter how much coffee or green tea you drink, there might be something more than just the “new mom” sleep deprivation going on. Or maybe you have experienced post- labor vaginal bleeding that doesn’t seem to go away. Even if your doctor says it’s normal and your symptoms continue, GET A SECOND OPINION! More times than not you are much more in tuned with your body than the typical doctor who spends on average 8 minutes with you. If you feel as though something is wrong, find a doctor who will keep digging.
After having a baby it can be tempting to want to get on a strict diet to get your body back. You remember looking oh so cute with your round belly while being pregnant but now that you have that beautiful baby, that round belly can be a sources of stress. First, don’t worry so much about what your body looks like and instead focus on providing your body with the best nutrition possible. We all know that it can be a struggle to find time to make yourself a nutritious lunch while being at the beckon call of one tiny little human but that’s why I wanted to share a few tips that have really helped my new moms get the nutrition they need while still being their for their newborn baby.
Meal Prep is a must. I know this sounds like a lot of extra work, but having to make the decision of what to eat multiple times a day is a lot more daunting and is often when we go with conveniency over quality. So I challenge you to take 15 minutes to plan out your meals for the week. Consider making a large batch of chicken, vegetables and quinoa to have your lunches made for the week.
Breakfast is gold. With a newborn and even small children it can be hard to make time for a real breakfast. Instead you might be jumping under the shower and dashing out the door with your coffee in hand. Although that coffee might give you a little boost of energy, it will not sustain you very long. This is why I highly recommended making time for breakfast. A morning smoothie filled with veggies and protein powder can be a great way to elevate your morning and get you through your day.
Consider a food delivery service. Although we would all love to stay we spend hours in the kitchen making everything from scratch, this isn’t always possible. Consider a food delivery service like Sunbasket which is committed to providing you the best organic produce, grass- fed, hormone- free meats and sustainably sourced fish. Although these meals won’t cook themselves, it can save you a lot of time from meal prepping and grocery shopping.