Postpartum Replenishment Journey
You have reached a moment of a lifetime – your newborn is adorable! You are blessed and excited – can’t take your eyes off your baby! You are ready for your fantastic parenthood journey ahead!
A woman who has recently had a baby is like a car that has been driven from Mongolia to Hong Kong. That car really needs some maintenance – You wouldn’t expect that car to run well for long if you kept putting gas in the gas tank and neglected the systems that combust that fuel, would you? Common distresses during postpartum are depleted energy, breastfeeding, and emotional fluctuation which can develop into postnatal depletion (lethargy, memory disturbances and bone and hair challenges). You owe it to yourself (and your baby) to care for yourself at least as well as you would care for that car. The 4-6 weeks after delivery of your baby (“Postpartum”) is considered the golden period to nourishing and rejuvenate as a great mom and wife.
Breastfeeding helps with Weight Loss and Postnatal Bleeding?
Without a doubt, we all know the benefits of breast milk to the new born. How about to the Mom? Have you heard of Oxytocin, it’s a peptide hormone released by the pituitary gland during labour and breastfeeding. When the child is ready to meet their parents, signals will be sent to the brain for production of oxytocin (via the pituitary gland), which supports the contraction of the uterus and hence smooth delivery of the new born. When the baby stimulates the nipples of the mother, the nerve cells will signal the production of oxytocin. Oxytocin will then stimulate contraction of the muscle around the milk glands for smoother milk flow. The production of the milk is stimulated by another hormone – prolactin, also signaled by the pituitary gland. I call this the “Love” factory – with love, breast milk are produced and secreted for baby – a perfect match for love and nutrition! Do you know that breastfeeding burns 300-500 calories per day and consume 2-3 cups more fluids than non-breastfeeding moms? That is roughly equivalent to 90 mins of yoga exercise. So by breastfeeding, you are exercising your body and will definitely help you to get back in great shape!
Some mothers experience postnatal bleeding for extended periods. One of the reason for such extended bleeding is the weakened muscle of the uterus. As mentioned previously, oxytocin helps with contraction of the uterus. Hence, oxytocin will help to reduce postnatal bleeding and minimize the risk of uterine prolapse subsequently. That’s probably why Oxytocin is also called the “Love” hormone – Love and Care for both the Mother and Baby!
The “Love” Hormone
This “Love” hormone has its role in childbirth and breastfeeding; it is also an important element in emotions. According to Research, males and females in a relationship have a higher level of oxytocin than singles. This is precise manifestation of the conception of baby! When a mother feels love, it has a profound effect on her emotions and less of a risk of postnatal depression.
Food ingredients and culinary/ mild herbs are perfect with a focus on breast milk let-down. Some herbs for lactation:
• Fennel seed, which also helps with baby’s colic
• Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), increases prolactin which in turn boost breast milk supply
• Tong Cao (通草), has slight diuretic effect which can lead to potassium excretion
Other food ingredients that are also helpful in let-down includes peanuts, cashews, lyceum berry, snow fungus, figs and Papaya. As breastfeeding mom need additional fluids than non-breastfeeding mom, you cannot go wrong with nutritious soup. It nourishes the mother and the new born!
Beer has been believed to be lactating, the component in beer responsible for prolactin secretion (and hence milk production) is a polysaccharide from barley, not from the alcoholic content.