I'm passionate about sharing the importance of Postnatal support for new mamas in the community or in my family. The first 3 months, or even 6 months is a huge transition for the mama in her body, her mental and emotional state, her lifestyle...everything. Our culture is not equipped with the same "village" that many other cultures depend on. In America it's often an attitude that the mom feels pressured to be able to do it all on her own. It's less likely that she'll ask for support because well, everyone is so busy, and we all have to fend for ourselves. Wrong! We do have a culture that tends to make us feel like we're not enough and builds our expectations on how things should be as new parents. But, it's simply not the case. We can be there for each other and we can lay our guards aside for a bit to step out of of our "busy" days and help some friends in need. Also, every woman is in a different and unique current cycle in their life when they have a baby. This is another thing to remember when it comes to postpartum healing and needs.
When I teach prenatal yoga and share with my mama community, we talk about ALL of the things. The unspoken topics, the nitty gritty of the body stuff, the transitions in spirit, the baby stuff. It's all worthy of sharing and staying open to all of the options and energies available.
For new moms, typically there are friends and family visiting on/off within the first month of giving birth. Or that's when neighbors bring food by and people are the most helpful. This is necessary. BUT...I urge you to remember your new mama friends in the months after that. This is when they most need you. This is when they might feel forgotten. They are stuck on the couch to nurse a million times a day. They may need help getting out of the house or feeling a bit like themselves again. They may be having a hard time feeding themselves. Or feeling into their bodies again. Especially if breastfeeding...the body is crazy ravenous during this period. Way more than when pregnant! The mama needs good nutrition throughout the day, but often she can't prepare it easily or is too tired/stuck in a certain position holding the baby.
(Mamas, stay gentle with yourselves. You are cared for and loved and you are a superpower of a being simply by caring for your baby or babies and showing up for them each and every day. Nothing else matters, and though hard to remember...the time WILL go faster than you think.)
My advice? Bring your new mama goddess easy snacks or help her grocery shop for them. Don't comment on how she looks or ask about sleep. Ask her how she's feeling about her current moment, or if there's a great podcast to listen to, or something fun to watch, or ask how she feels as a mom. Ask her what she needs. Love up the baby and give her time to eat or go to the bathroom. Listen. Be compassionate and loving and remind her that every new mama has their something. Their thing about their body that changed. Their thing about their lifestyle that has changed, or their job or their relationships. Every single new mama has a thing. Don't forget it.
Anyway, new mamas, I love you. I remember. And at 18 months postnatal after my second...I still struggle sometimes to feed myself well and to find moments of real self-care. We all struggle with the balance and the overwhelm. If you hear a mom say she doesn't or you see her perfect instagram life...it's some smoke and it's not real life. We all have meltdowns. We have binge-watching days. We all eat too many cookies sometimes. We all get angry and yell at our kids or our partners or ourselves. And we're all doing great. We are. You are. If you're reading this, you care and that caring is where the love moves out of your mind and into your heart.
My go-to snack ideas for throughout the day when you're a new mama or have little ones and not much time to cook:
(my favorite go-to is made with ice, frozen blueberries, frozen greens of choice, banana, spoon of nut butter, hemp powder, cacao powder, chia seeds, spoon of local honey, and then combo of water or coconut water with your milk of choice (I usually do either full fat coconut milk or a nut milk of choice).
quinoa is fast to cook (around 15 minutes once brought to a boil) and full of protein and nutrition. Once it's cooked, I add a bunch of olive oil, salt and pepper, some za'tar spice. Then whatever you have around. Some days I add sunflower seeds or pine nuts, some avocado, some greens, or dried fruit. Whatever floats your boat.
-Icelandic yogurt (if you're eating dairy)
my favorite kind is Icelandic, but it could be Greek or other protein-rich yogurt or kefir. I like the Smari organic brand. Siggi's is pretty good. Look for what you can find.
-granola with low sugar and healthy nuts. I love the Purely Elizabeth brand and there are some other local brands I get at my local health store. When I have time, I might make my own...but hey, I'm over a year postnatal...so don't push it, mamas.
Easy to throw any granola in a bowl with your favorite milk to munch.
Trail Mix is also a good choice.
-Rice cakes or Toast with any of these toppings are my go-to's:
nut butter and banana
butter, cheese and jam (Icelandic style)
olive oil, avocado and spices
hummus or other spread
-cheese and crackers of choice
you can get gluten-free crackers if needed, or non-dairy cheese or whatever works
-hard boiled eggs
A bit easier to manage as an egg-eater...I eat them with salt and pepper and other spices, or on toast. That said, I'm more of a scrambled eggs fan and if you get the chance, you can get fancy and create a yummy eggs, greens, cheese combo for nourishment. This is sometimes my mid-morning meal...or brunch.
-beef jerky or other meat sticks if you're a meat eater. Pre-made chicken every now and then might not hurt, if you need meat. Bone broth to make easy soups with.
throw in oven at high heat for at least 30-40 minutes and then you can top with whatever you want. Butter, coconut oil, olive oil, nut butters, hummus, spices...endless options.
when nursing, I crave sweets like nothing else. It's nuts. But I make sure to have all the good dark chocolate around. My favorite brand is Theo Chocolate. A nice daily treat.
Also, Apotheker's mallows and chocolate bars make me feel healthy eating them to some extent. Super yummy.
-herbal teas and tinctures
there are bountiful herbal concoctions you can use as a new mama that might be of the right physical or emotional support for you. I use flower essences daily, and drink teas with minerals that will build my blood and immune system to be of proper health. You can refer to my gal, Steph, for more information, among other wonderful herbalists in your area.
A favorite tea blend safe for new mamas includes: nettles, tulsi, and rose.
There ya have it. Some of my favorite go-to eats as a busy, breast-feeding mama who is always hungry and eating. ;) I'm sure I'm forgetting something. Here are some other resources for you:
**My awesome friend, Michelle, has started something on FB called 1 Meal Mom Community. For tips on how to feed your family. She's inspiring and real and her website and energy might be just the insight you need.
**My other friend, Mischa, also just posted a wonderful blog post with other great snack ideas. She's an herbalist, doula and compassionate woman and this was a great find of the moment for more new mama snack ideas!
Finally, if you're a new mama or know of one looking for postnatal support, please don't hesitate to be in touch. I'd love to share or connect you to the right resources as needed.
I also host a sometimes monthly meet up out of my home that I call Yoga for Mamas. I offer yoga (without your baby present) to reconnect to yourself, and then we drink tea and eat yummy things while we talk about stuff.
I'm hosting a Women's Urban (4 hour) Retreat at Borealis Yoga in May... and the annual
Women's (4 day) Retreat to Nantucket in June. In case you're a mama who can get away either time for some connection and self-care.
Info on my website or on social media.
|Gus and I between 2-3 months postpartum. |
Photo copyright Cara Brostrom.