Keeping mum full of energy
Hi Lou. It can be physically and emotionally challenging to get back on your feet after a baby arrives, and this can be more difficult if there are additional young ones at home and if the mother is not well supported. Hormonally, nutritionally and emotionally, things can take time to restore.
In my experience, it is critical for a mum to work with a health professional experienced in this area, one who understands the way biochemistry, nutrition and emotions interplay. Typically, iron and zinc will be too low for the body to make the substances required for happiness and optimism, and these often need to be supplemented.
Testing these levels first is important. Other nutrients that may need focus include vitamin C, vitamin D and magnesium.
The omega-3 fat DHA is an essential supplement for a depleted mum. This is vital for nervous system (including the brain) support, as well as hormonal balance. Oily fish supply DHA, and there are now some good-quality supplements derived from algae. Also, the body can convert another omega-3 fat found in plants (such as flaxseeds and chia seeds), known as EPA, into DHA; however, the efficiency of the body to do this seems highly individual. Some studies suggest this conversion is up-regulated during pregnancy but not lactation. The focus for the depleted mum needs to be on easy, practical meals made from whole, real foods that are nutrient-dense.
Seeking support is also critical. If you feel as though you may be experiencing post-natal depletion, let a friend know and seek professional support, such as the help of a psychologist.
Restorative practices that activate the rest and repair arm of the nervous system are also a critical part of recovery from depletion. Restorative yoga, Stillness Through Movement, and acupuncture are all beautiful and highly effective.