Pregnancy takes a significant toll on your body because your body will always prioritize the health of your baby over your own body. Welcome to motherhood! If your baby needs more fat or protein, your body will pull from your cushiest parts, like your curves or muscles, to replenish your child. And, if you’re breastfeeding, the toll continues after pregnancy. Here’s what you can do to take care of yourself and replenish your body:
Perinatal depression has been linked with nutrient depletion, from pregnancy and breastfeeding, by way of affecting the production and modulation of key mood-regulating neurotransmitters, like serotonin. Maintain a nutritious diet high in iron, selenium, zinc, copper, magnesium and omega 3 fatty acids.1,2,3 Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk for postpartum depression4 and may be a promising add-on for the treatment for postpartum depression.5
Create a breastfeeding basket to keep around the house so you stay hydrated, healthy, and satisfied! Breastfeeding basket essentials should include:
- Something to drink
- Something to eat: nuts, a protein bar, a piece of fruit, or Nunona Mama Balls are all nutritious and easy to eat snacks
- Something to read
- Something for baby: diapers, diaper cream, extra onesie
- Have a way to call for help: a bell, perhaps?
Eat a nutritious diet and stay hydrated by drinking 2L of water per day. Optimizing your dietary intake will optimize the nutrient benefits delivered to your baby.6 Maternal nutrition can affect the breastmilk quantity of some nutrients such as vitamin A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B6, B12, D and folate, iodine, selenium and fatty acids.7,8 Maternal diet may also affect carotenoid levels (such as lutein and beta-carotene) in human milk.8
- Etebary, S.; Nikseresht, S.; Sadeghipour, H.R.; Zarrindast, M.R. 2010. Postpartum Depression and Role of Serum Trace Elements. Iran J Psychiatry, 5:2:40-46.
- Sparling, T.M.; Henschke, N.; Nesbitt, R.C.; Gabrysch, S. 2017. The role of diet and nutritional supplementation in perinatal depression: a systematic review. Maternal & Child Nutrition, 13, e12235: 1-36.
- Wassef, A.; Nguyen, Q.D.; St-André, M. 2019. Anaemia and depletion of iron stores as risk factors for postpartum depression: a literature review. J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol,40(1):19-28.
- Hsu, M., Tung, C.; Chen, H. 2018. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation in prevention and treatment of maternal depression: Putative mechanism and recommendation.J Affect Disord. 1; 238:47-61.
- Mocking, R.J.T.; Steijn, K.; Roos, C.; Assies, J.; Bergink, V.; Ruhé, H.G.; Schene, A.H. 2020. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation for perinatal depression: a meta-analysis. J Clin Psychiatry. 81(5):19r13106.
- Erick. M. 2018. Breast milk is conditionally perfect. Med Hypotheses. 111:82-89.
- Innis, S.M. 2014. Impact of maternal diet on human milk composition and neurological development of infants. Am J Clin Nutr. 99(3):734S-41S.
- Schaefer, E.; Demmelmair, H.; Horak, J.; Holdt, L.; Grote, V.; Maar, K.; Neuhofer, C.; Teupser, D; Thiel, N.; Goeckeler-Leopold, E.; Maggini, S.; Koletzko, B. 2020. Multiple micronutrients, lutein, and docosahexaenoic acid supplementation during lactation: A randomized controlled trial. Nutrients, 12: 3849; doi:10.3390/nu12123849.