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Baby blues are extremely common among postpartum mothers. It can come in the form of irritability, mood swings, tearfulness, and so on. If ignored, it may lead to bigger conditions like postpartum depression. Therefore, it is crucial for you to take control of your emotions not only for yourself but also for the people around you, including your child. There are many ways to tackle baby blues and help yourself relax after birth, and today we are going to look at one of the most crucial aspects; what you eat.
Foods to Improve Mood
This part will be a little bit of a catch-all as there are so many ways to eat that work. The key is to find balance in your daily meals. Your mood can definitely be affected by what you eat and drink, so let’s get right into it!
First, you can try increasing your intake of antioxidant-rich foods like spinach, leafy greens, blueberries, and broccoli. Choose proteins like chicken, turkey, salmon and beans, and healthy fats like nuts, olive oil and seeds. For a little taste of the Mediterranean, you can have more roasted nuts, olives, garlic, avocado and other oils. Oatmeal or whole-grain cereal with milk would make a solid breakfast.
Omega 3 Rich Foods &
With busy days in between settling in at home and establishing breastfeeding, you may not have much time for meal planning, and the major food groups like carbs, protein, and fruit often can be hard to ‘mix and match’ for promoting relaxation and well-being.
Studies have shown that people who consumed fatty fish like salmon about 3 times a week would fall asleep faster than those who ate other kinds of meat. By adding in some Omega 3 rich foods, the foods you eat are likely to be more fulfilling, satisfying and able to promote calmness, relaxation, and sleep in newborns and mothers alike.
Plus, having more foods that are high in omega 3 such as salmon can increase its concentration in your breast milk! This can be helpful in promoting healthier brain development for your little one. Various items on a lactation food menu can equally benefit both mother and baby. Not sure what a lactation meal menu would look like? Simply visit our menu!
Vitamin D From the Sun
Vitamin D is another great vitamin believed to contribute to improved mood. However, did you know that a whopping 40% of Singaporeans are not getting sufficient Vitamin D? And the main source of Vitamin Dis is none other than the Sun. If this tells you anything, it is that we might not go out enough despite there being abundant sunshine and we are living in a tropical climate where the sun is always out during the day. If you wish to increase your vitamin D ‘intake’, start by stepping out of the house more to enjoy some sunshine and fresh air. You only need about 15 to 30 minutes of the midday sun, exposing your hands, legs and face, twice a week.
Foods to promote better sleep
Sleeping patterns during the first month postpartum can be disrupted with a newborn in the house. To promote a better night sleep, try and include snacks like almonds and walnuts. Almonds contain magnesium which is able to promote sleep, improve sleep quality, and reduce cortisol, which is known to cause sleep interruptions. On the other hand, the fatty acid that makes up walnuts is believed to contribute to better sleep too.
Another suggestion is to have a snack that is high in tryptophan and a good source of carbohydrates before bedtime. This is because tryptophan is what makes serotonin, the hormone that promotes sleep. Foods that are rich in tryptophan that could easily be a snack are like nuts, seeds and eggs. Pairing these foods with a good complex carbohydrate like a slice of wholemeal bread, a cup of yoghurt, or oatmeal would help your body to release more insulin and increase absorption of tryptophan for a possible boost of serotonin.
If you struggle with falling asleep, munch some of these and they might just work for you! Similarly, be cautious about simple carbohydrates and sweet foods and cookies before bed as they can cause a spike in secretion of insulin which may cause you to experience more restless sleep and awakenings.
Why you should avoid caffeine
Caffeine is a known mood elevator and can be highly irritating to your postpartum body. It increases heart rate and adrenaline which can keep you awake all night. The caffeine metabolizes in your body within a few hours and can cause severe irritability, sleepiness, anxiety and depression.
Guess what – caffeine does not only come from coffee, it also comes from brewed tea ( that means your bubble tea too!), chocolate and caffeinated drinks.
Besides that, caffeine is also a diuretic. Even if you are not sensitive to caffeine in making you feel more awake, caffeine intake would cause you to pee more often. Definitely not something you want to do when you are preparing to have a good night’s sleep. Keep your fluid intake a minimum of at least 2 hours before you sleep to avoid waking up in the middle of the night to pee.
All in all, taking care of your emotions and improving your moods can be done in different ways. Do not rely on just changing up your diet, although it is certainly a good place to start. Keep in mind that your lifestyle or current meal plan needs to be balanced with these foods, in that they don’t replace regular meals or affect protein intake, but can help with keeping your mood stable and your energy up!
If you follow the right guidelines, you will eventually regain a better appetite and can improve your moods. You will also be more likely to eat healthily and create healthier habits around food.
At ReLacto, we pay attention to a mother’s various needs after birth to assist with their postpartum recovery and breastfeeding journey. With various nutrient-dense ingredients packed in our meals for lactation, you’ll be served with a wide variety of over 90 meat and vegetable dishes throughout the month.
Every week, you’ll be served different lactation beverages that can help in boosting milk supply. We are also guided by an in-house dietitian who ensures that we could provide what’s best for a mother and their baby.