Over the years, I've come to understand what my body needs to feel balanced; mainly, sleep, water and exercise and the right foods followed by incorporating supplements that help to support an already healthy lifestyle. This said, as a new mom again I am lacking in rest, proper hydration, and since recovering from my c-section, also exercise. So I REALLY feel a difference when I forget these supplements that make me feel halfway human.
Here's what I'm taking and why:
1) Fenugreek Seed:
To increase milk production. This strong galactagogue, is one of the safest and most common herbs used to establish a milk supply. Since I had a cesarean, I knew it was possible that my milk could come in later than it would with a vaginal birth. I started this immediately to increase my production, especially since Cole came out HUNGRY! Bonus - it makes your sweat smell like maple syrup...which isn't such a bad thing when showers can be few and far between those first weeks.
2) Vitamin D: This is a big one for me. Even though I live in Hawaii and have for 13 years, I consistently test low for Vitamin D. This vitamin is actually a pro-hormone and helps regulate hormones in your body which can be a bit out of whack after pregnancy, and also is responsible for bone formation and mood regulation among other roles like helping protect against postpartum depression. Breastfeeding mamas need more of this than the general population because we are also giving it to our babies. I took between 4000-5000 IUs during pregnancy and now between 5000-6000 IUs/ day (a far cry from the 400 IUs in most prenatal vitamins). Read more about vitamin D and pregnancy / breastfeeding here:
3) Probiotic: I am still taking my prenatal probiotic, but really any will do as long as it contains several different strains of bacteria. This can help tremendously with preventing colic and other gastrointestinal distress in you and your baby. When your baby is born, they are still developing their digestive systems which can make for lots of gas and uncomfortableness. If you have a cesarean, this can be exacerbated in your baby because the baby doesn't receive the beneficial bacteria from the birth canal.
4) Postpartum Multivitamin: A great multivitamin is a crucial part of my PP arsenal. Some days I have a hard time getting in the right kinds of food (read: almond butter on rice cake for lunch) just out of exhaustion, lack of food in the house because I am not driving yet, or a baby that doesn't want to be put down. A good multi can fill in the cracks where nutrients are missing and provide the co-factors for you to absorb other vitamins and minerals from supplements and food. Pro Tip - if you have some prenatal vitamins leftover, you can just as easily use those.
5) Vitamin C: The main reason I am taking this is for healing after my surgery. Vitamin C is critical for tissue repair and controlling inflammation to assist in the healing process. Cesareans are MAJOR surgeries, so you need to make sure you are eating the right foods (anti-iflammatory) and resting so your body can heal.
6) Prenatal DHA: I take this for my own brain health/ hormonal balance, and my baby's. DHA can also help fight off the Baby Blues/ PPD and is an excellent anti-infammaory.
Please comment with any postpartum supplements you take or any questions you might have! :)