Mom brain is absolutely a real thing. If you’ve ever given birth you know that in those first few postpartum months it can be hard to think straight or keep your train of thought. So why does this happen? Our brains actually rewire and change postpartum to adjust to being a mother. We also have an imbalance of hormones immediately after birth. Our sex hormone levels drop, we start producing prolactin for breastfeeding and oxytocin for bonding and start shedding old pregnancy hormones. All of this can make you feel like you just got off a marry-go-round and don’t know which way is up!

Unfortunately, because of all of the necessary changes going on inside, there is no quick-fix or supplement to all of the sudden make your brain work the way it used to. However, there is a lot we can do to support the changes and reduce the negative symptoms. And eventually, everything will adjust and fall into place.

First off, while it is easier said than done, make sleep a top priority. The shelves can be dusted later. When we sleep our brains “take out the trash”. Without proper sleep, toxins can build up in the brain. Sleep is essential for every bodily function to work properly. 

Avoid nutrient deficiencies, especially Omega 3 fatty acids. If the body is not properly nourished prior to and during pregnancy, the mother, if not already depleted, will be left depleted postpartum because of all she has given to the baby in utero and now through breastfeeding. Studies show that a mom who is depleted during this time is more susceptible to postpartum depression (1). Make sure to continue your prenatal vitamin for at least 3 months after giving birth. Of course, all supplements should be recommended by a nutrition professional or doctor on a bio-individial basis.

Healthy fats are absolutely essential during this time. Not only are they the main building block for hormones but are essential for brain health and development.

Postpartum is not a time to limit yourself as far as calories. Eat a whole-food, nutrient dense diet and listen to your body.

A great way to avoid becoming depleted postpartum is to prepare for it before it happens. During pregnancy, prepare freezer meals that your spouse can throw in the crockpot while you get some rest. Stock up on frozen veggies for a quick, steamable option to serve with dinner. Pre-cooked grain packs of quinoa and brown rice make for a quick and nourishing dinner side. Make sure to read the labels on these and avoid inflammatory vegetable oils such as sunflower, safflower, canola, etc.

During this time of hormone imbalance and fluctuation, keeping your blood sugar balanced will help your hormones get back in line faster. Generally, eating a whole food diet, avoiding processed foods, sugar and starch, and not skipping meals is enough to keep blood sugar in check. However, if you are currently struggling with chronic blood sugar dysregulation, 

stick to lower-glycemic foods.

The first couple of months postpartum are a time to eat as much as your body wants, stay hydrated, sleep, take in all the baby cuddles and bond with your new baby. A happy mamma makes for a happy baby!

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