During your pregnancy you may have taken some childbirth classes and read all the books under the sun about pregnancy and birth. Labor only lasts a day (or 3 for some) and then it’s over. Now that you have given birth to your baby (or babies) what the hell do you do now? It’s very easy to get lost in the pregnancy and the idea of a baby. The reality of having a baby is much different then the idea of one. Nothing really can prepare you other than jumping right in. When I meet with my doula clients we talk a lot about the birth plan and the pregnancy. I also make it a point to talk about the first two weeks after the baby arrives. People are often afraid to ask for help in those first few weeks. Your friends and family want to help. Take advantage. They usually stop offering once the babies get a bit older and they start focusing more on their own lives than your new baby’s arrival. Take advantage when the luster of a new baby is shining bright. Let people wait on you hand and foot. Staying in bed with your new bub helps to establish breastfeeding by lying skin to skin. If you are not breastfeeding this skin to skin contact is so important for bonding in those early days. Eat tons of hearty simple foods. Staying nourished so your body can heal is essential for getting those hormones back in check.
Here is some info from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen:
Good foods to nourish a post partum mom:
Plenty of purified water
Organic chicken and vegetable soup with plenty of fresh herbs
Greens!! Fresh salad greens, dark leafy greens, and green smoothies
Sweet vegetables (yams, squash, carrots, beets)
Raw nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds)
Raw almond butter
Whole grains (quinoa, amaranth, oats, sweet brown rice, millet, teff)
Carminative herbs and spices (cumin, cardamom, fenugreek, ginger, mint, fennel seeds)
Raspberry leaf tea (raspberry leaf along with fennel help to contract the uterus)
Nettle tea enriches and increases milk production
Healthy fats (avocado, extra virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil, fresh flax or fish oil)
Foods to avoid during the post partum period (may cause upset in newborn baby):
Citrus fruit, especially juices
Heavily spiced foods
Raw garlic and onions
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage)
Wheat / Gluten
Refined soy products
Caffeine (coffee, tea, soda)
Prenatal vitamins (the iron may be irritating to baby)
So now that you know what to be eating have your friends and family bring you food. If they offer take them up on it. It’s nice not to worry about anything other than your new baby. Laundry, cleaning, and errands can all be passed off to a family member or friend. Consider the help of a postpartum doula
if family is far away and no help is available to you. According to the DONA
what a postpartum doula does changes from day-to-day, as the needs of the family change. Postpartum doulas do whatever a mother needs to best enjoy and care for her new baby. A large part of their role is education. They share information about baby care with parents, as well as teach siblings and partners to “mother the mother.” They assist with breastfeeding education. Postpartum doulas also make sure the mother is fed, well hydrated and comfortable. Ask for help if you are having any problems with breastfeeding and/or any newborn care. Kellymom
is my favorite for nursing issues and/or concerns. Don’t be afraid to call your pediatrician or a lactation consultant if problems arise. Last but not least consider eating your placenta
. I know some of you may think this is yucky but if you’ve eaten Micky D’s you’ve put way grosser shit in your body. Encapsulation is a super easy non-gross way to reap the benefits of eating you placenta. I love that Time magazine titled an article Afterbirth: It’s What’s For Dinner.
If this isn’t your cup of tea then kindly ignore. Good luck and take the help of that damn village. They tend to disappear when that newborn phase is over.
Placentophagy (from ‘placenta’ +Greek, to eat) is the act of mammals eating the placenta of their young after childbirth. The placenta contains high levels of prostaglandin which stimulates involution (an inward curvature or penetration, or, a shrinking or return to a former size) of the uterus, in effect cleaning the uterus out. The placenta also contains small amounts of oxytocin which eases birth stress and causes the smooth muscles around the mammary cells to contract and eject milk.
Yes I know some of you may find this disgusting and wonder why the hell I would eat my own placenta? I really don’t get grossed out by much so it was really no big thing for me. I have done much more disgusting things in my life. I really hadn’t thought about doing this after my first two births. Just didn’t care much either way. I was approached during my last twin pregnancy by a friend of mine London King (who is also a fellow doula), to encapsulate my placenta as a gift (Push Love Placenta Usage Co.) Which means she would make my placenta into happy pills. I figured why not? What did I have to lose? People eat animal meat all the time. Organ meat included. People drink the breast milk from cows and goats. This seems stranger to me than eating my own placenta. Its funny what we consider normal in our society. I mean there really aren’t any risks in consuming your own placenta, what did I have to lose? I had a homebirth this time around so I didn’t have to battle the hospital to get my placenta back after the birth. I’ve heard some stories where it proved difficult in some hospitals. So I took 2 pills 3x’s a day for the first two weeks. You then decrease your dosage to 1-2 pills a day as needed. They didn’t really taste too bad and I liked that a little white wine helped to diffuse placenta into the body. Well I’m not sure if they are magic but I didn’t suffer from PPD and I was able to successfully nurse my twin boys with very few supply issues. I feel like it also helped me feel more energized during these super sleep deprived first few weeks of my twin babies lives. The pills were put in a cute little jar with hand written instructions from my sweet friend London. I have some friend’s that prepared a placenta smoothie right after birth. They cut off a chunk of raw placenta and blend with berries/fruit. That route did not seem very appetizing to me but to each their own. I’ve heard of families sharing a placenta meal after birth. My husband does the cooking in my house and declared that it would not be on the menu. So the pills were a great alternative for me. I’m not writing this post to convince anyone to eat their placenta, but to inform you that normal people do it. Hah I just claimed that I was “normal”. It might be just some new age phenomenon but it didn’t harm me so what the hell. I’ve done crazier things on a dare.
Looking for more info about all of this hippie placenta eating stuff check out this NY mag article too.
p.s. the picture of the hearts are my twin boys umbilical cords intertwined. xoxo