Feeling down after baby? Embrace natural solutions and feel like yourself again!

There was a time when I found myself sitting on my couch, staring at the wall, numbly watching my toddler play while I held my baby.  I didn't have the energy to get up and play with my little girl, I didn't have the motivation to clean the house, and I was wondering why I wasn't enjoying anything I used to.  After a few weeks of that, I faced the realization that this wasn't normal.  I started doing some research into what I could do to help myself, and I learned some pretty profound things.  As I walked out of the fog of numb sadness, I could finally feel again.  I was able to play with my kids, smile, and enjoy life again.  

Welcoming a new life into the world is undoubtedly one of the most profound experiences a woman can go through. There is nothing like it!  However, the postpartum period, often glamorized in media, can also be a time of significant emotional challenges. Overwhelm, sleepless nights, hormone fluctuations, and several other things play a role in how we feel.  Postpartum depression (PPD) affects many new mothers, and while seeking professional help is crucial for severe cases, milder forms which tend to be more common and include overwhelm and sadness can often be alleviated through natural remedies and lifestyle changes. In this blog post, we'll explore a range of natural remedies that can help support mothers experiencing feeling down after baby, from essential oils and yoga to dietary adjustments and more.  

1. Dietary Changes:
   Paying attention to your diet can have a significant impact on your mood and overall well-being. Focus on consuming whole, nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts& seeds, and healthy fats. Minimize intake of processed foods, sugary snacks, and caffeine, which can  exacerbate mood swings and energy fluctuations. Increase your water intake and try this antioxidant. (This made a huge difference in my energy and motivation levels)

2. Yoga, Mindfulness, and Prayer:
   Practicing yoga, mindfulness meditation, and prayer can help calm the mind and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Gentle yoga poses, combined with deep breathing exercises and meditation, can promote relaxation and improve mood. Consider joining a postpartum yoga class or following online tutorials tailored for new mothers.  I had never tried yoga before, and this was surprisingly beneficial for me!

3. Deep Breathing Exercises:
   Deep breathing techniques, such as diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing, can help activate the body's relaxation response and reduce stress. Take a few moments throughout the day to practice deep breathing exercises, focusing on slow, deep inhalations and exhalations.

4. Vitamin D:
   Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to depression, so ensuring adequate intake of this essential nutrient is important for overall mental health. Spend time outdoors every day in natural sunlight, eat foods rich in vitamin D such as fatty fish, and consider taking a vitamin D supplement if recommended by your healthcare provider.  This multivitamin includes Vitamin D.

5. Folate Instead of Folic Acid:
   Folate is a B vitamin that plays a crucial role in neurotransmitter synthesis and mood regulation. Some studies suggest that folate may be more beneficial than folic acid, especially for individuals with certain genetic variations like MTHFR. Incorporate folate-rich foods such as leafy greens, lentils, and citrus fruits into your diet, and consider opting for a methylfolate supplement if appropriate. This multivitamin includes Folate.

6 Zinc:
 Zinc plays a crucial role in neurotransmitter function and has been associated with improved mood and reduced symptoms of depression. Include zinc-rich foods such as lean meats, poultry, seafood, nuts, seeds, and whole grains in your diet. Alternatively, consult with your healthcare provider about incorporating a multivitamin with zinc if necessary.

7. Magnesium
Magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including those related to mood regulation and stress management. Consuming magnesium-rich foods such as leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and whole grains can help support overall mental health. Additionally, consider taking a multivitamin with magnesium if recommended by your healthcare provider.

  8. DHA & EPA:  
Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), play a vital role in brain health and function. These fatty acids have been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and support overall mental well-being. Incorporate sources of omega-3s such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts into your diet. Consider taking a high-quality supplement rich in DHA and EPA, especially if you do not consume fish regularly. 

9.  Iron
Iron deficiency has been linked to depressive symptoms, fatigue, and low energy levels. Consuming iron-rich foods such as lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, lentils, tofu, and spinach,  can help prevent iron deficiency and support overall energy levels and mood. If you're concerned about iron levels, discuss with your healthcare provider about testing and potential supplementation.

10. Essential Oils:
   Aromatherapy can be a powerful tool for promoting relaxation and reducing stress. Essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, bergamot, and ylang-ylang are known for their calming properties. Diffuse these oils in your home, add a few drops to a warm bath, or dilute them with a carrier oil for a soothing massage. Ylang Ylang and a blend called Joy were my  life-savers after baby number 6.  I applied the Joy directly over my heart and on my hands to inhale.  I used some powerful mantras with it as well. This helped me feel joy again.  It was a game-changer.

11. Wild Yam:
  Wild yam is known to help support the hormones and help you feel more balanced.  I love this serum! It is pretty amazing to me what a difference this makes - I still use it because if keeps my mood even all month long.

12. Support the Adrenals:
Sometimes our adrenals exhausted and need support.  This was definitely the case for me.  My adrenal cocktail recipe is:
4 oz Orange Juice
1 squirt YL vitality drops + electrolytes
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

 12. Social Support:
   Surrounding yourself with supportive friends, family members, and fellow mothers can provide invaluable emotional support during the postpartum period. Joining a new moms' group, attending support meetings, or seeking the guidance of a therapist or counselor can help you feel less isolated and more connected.  At first, I couldn't even get dressed to make myself presentable in public, but after a little time in using these other things, I was able to make myself get out of the house.  Meeting up with other moms was a piece I had been missing and I needed it!  Also, ask for help.  I remember others saying to me, "if there's anything I can do to help, let me know!" Yet, I didn't always ask them to come help.  There are so many of us - myself included - that just don't want to bother someone else.  ASK!  Especially when someone has offered, it is not a bother.  You are worth it.  Let your friends and family help support you.  They want to do it.

13. Self-Care Practices:
   Prioritize self-care activities that nurture your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Make time for activities you enjoy, whether it's reading a book, taking a leisurely walk, practicing a hobby, or simply resting when you need to. Remember that taking care of yourself is essential for taking care of your baby.  Let's get practical with this one.  Make sure to take a shower/bath when your spouse is home so you actually get one!  Read a book while you breastfeed.  Start a stroller brigade and walk your baby around the neighborhood with other moms.  You CAN do this!

Navigating the challenges of postpartum life can be overwhelming, but by incorporating natural remedies and lifestyle changes into your routine, you can take proactive steps toward well-being. Remember to be patient with yourself, reach out for help when needed, and celebrate the small victories along the way. You are not alone, and with time and support, you will emerge stronger and more resilient than ever before.

Disclaimer: This is not intended as medical advice.  Please contact your medical provider, if needed.   If you are having suicidal thoughts, dial 988 for immediate help. 

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