This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Life with a Baby conference in Thornhill #mpower to launch my new herbal line of pregnancy teas (healthy and happy mommies tea and lactation tea). I actually learned a lot at this conference, and was absolutely shocked by some of the facts I had learned about postpartum depression and the medical model. Apparently, 1 in 5 women suffer from postpartum depression and many don’t seek help because they are afraid of how they may be judged by others. During pregnancy, maintaining your hormonal balance (ie. your adrenal system) is one preventative measure to decrease mood fluxtuation after pregnancy. Nutrition, such as high protein levels and B vitamins, are important in keeping your neurohormonal levels constant. Also, stress will tax your system and deplete your nutrients (in order to make cortisol) so adopting stress reducing techniques (such as walking, meditation, reading, socializing, etc.) can help protect you from mood fluxuations. These are tips to help but they aren’t “fail safe” (although, proper nutrition and positivity are good practices to live by). If you are a new mommy and you feel your mood is “off” or you are experiencing intrusive thoughts, evoke and empower a health team to help you. This involves conventional (such as an Medical Doctor) and natural (such as a Naturopathic Doctor) approaches, as well as social approaches (such as support groups). The most important years of a child’s life are 0-5yrs where children are highly tuned to the stresses of their environment and the mood of their moms. Being in your best health and mind is the best preventative measure for your child’s future health.
Secondly, I was inspired by a talk about lactation and the struggles mothers face when they can’t breastfeed. Many times issues with breastfeeding comes with improper latch (your baby could be “tongue tied” or have issues suckling). Health wise, breastfeeding for the first 6 months is optimal to help nourish your babies’ immune system and digestion. However, it’s your choice with whether to breast feed or not – always go with your intuition (and not with what everyone tells you). If you want or need to go the formula route, check in with a health care practitioner with what is the healthy and best way to introduce it and what needs to be supplemented in order to ensure proper nutrition.
In conclusion, I may be focusing specifically on mother’s (as I was surrounded by oodles of moms and babies all weekend!) but these simple tips can apply to everyone:
1. Eat well, high in protein and B vitamins, to restore your neurohormonal levels and balance your mood.
2. Evoke positivity when you can and adopt stress reducing routines in your every day life (try your best to… some times you’ll have off days and just want to watch netflix and eat icecream and that’s okay… it’s only when those days turn into months that you need to turn to a health care practitioner).
3. Have a “health team”. The more people work with you for your health, the better. Use conventional, naturopathic, and social approaches to health.
Lastly – Children are stress and mood antennas. If you are putting on a brave face or mask in front of them, they know, they feel it. If you feel something is “off” with yourself, please address it (and actually this goes for everyone if they feel “off” or imbalanced – talk to people and don’t internalize it – it’ll just come out some other way… such as an unavoidable physical symptom which manifests from inward stress). Treat yourself as you would your children – with unconditional love and acceptance.