The Fourth Trimester: Postpartum Nosh to keep you and your Cavebaby healthy
You’ve made it! You’re holding your new cavebaby in your arms and are filled with bliss…..right? Actually, if you ask me, this is when the real work begins. The first 6 weeks following your baby’s birth can be the among the most challenging and is referred to as the Fourth Trimester. Sleep deprivation, sore breasts, possible stiches and wound healing can all take their toll on a cavemama’s body. What can you eat to stay healthy and keep it paleo during these challenging weeks? I’ve got some suggestions that may help you maintain your paleo diet and feel great all at the same time.
Paleo Foods & Herbs to aid Healing
- Stinging nettle helps rebuild blood supply
- Vitamin C rich foods: Citrus, cauliflower, bell peppers, dark leafy greens
- Turmeric helps reduce inflammation
- Chicken bone broth- My Chinese clients swear by this for a good reason. Simply put a chicken carcass into your slow cooker, cover with filtered water and cook for 12-48 hrs on low. After it’s done strain and season to taste. You could also use a pressure cooker like Michelle does over at NomNom Paleo or use the good old stovetop method. This is a good thing to do in advance!
- Dandelion: made into tea or eaten fresh in salad can help reduce swelling and edema.
- Animal protein aids in tissue repair and should be consume with each meal.
- A general reduction in sugar also aids in tissue regeneration and repair
Paleo Foods that support Brestmilk production a.k.a Lactogenic foods
These paleo friendly foods/teas/herbs will aid in milk production and should be started right after birth. They can be continued for as long as needed and increased when your baby experiences growth spurts.
- Water! Not a supplement but 2-3 liters of clean filtered water is recommended for breastfeeding and supply. I use Santevia water filters and have both the counter top and fridge models. This filter both purifies your water and re-introduces beneficial trace minerals that is lost in most city tap water.
- Spices: Fenugreek, fennel, dill, caraway, basil, garlic (if baby tolerates it), ginger (helps with milk flow and let down)
- Fennel: eaten raw or cooked.
- Macadamia nuts
- Fresh dates
- Green papaya (order Thai one night!)
- Spirulina and spinach can increase the fat content of your milk. Detoxinista has a great green smoothie recipe
- Need to boost your production in a hurry? Fenugreek capsules 3 caps 3 times a day with meals will do the trick.
Paleo Foods that support CaveMama Wellness
When breastfeeding you need an average of 500-700 additional calories. That’s more than when you were pregnant! As the old saying goes, never stand between a hungry lactating women and the buffet table…she will bull you over. I’m going to cover detailed breastfeeding nutrition in another post, but here is a quick list of foods that should get you started.
- Fermented cod liver oil/butter oil blend (1.5 tsps.)
- Grass-fed butter
- Eggs from chickens or ducks that have been pasture raised
- Coconut oil
- Bone broth
- Lacto fermented veggies like sauerkraut or beet kvass
- Dark leafy greens
- Organ meat like liver
- Wild caught fatty fish- the DHA will also help improve your mood postpartum
- Seaweed (In Korea they make a seaweed soup for women postpartum)
What about eating your placenta?
Ok…I don’t want to lose you with this, but I’m a granola-crunching midwife at heart. Did you know that we are the only mammals that dispose of this highly nutrient rich organ? Nature can’t be wrong! The summarized benefits of placenta consumption include: increased milk production, significant reduction of postpartum depression, increase in maternal iron stores and ease in re-establishing optimal hormone balance. There is even some new research that’s emerging out of Europe about its treatment of postpartum depression so please stay tuned for more on that once it's published.
There are a few ways to consume your placenta. Some women simply eat their placenta as a meal. Would you believe there is a recipe book out there for just such a treat! Who knew? I hear placenta is best cooked much like liver and goes well with onions and garlic.
There are other options if you don’t want to create a delicious meal with your placenta. Many women choose to encapsulate their placentas and there are even some companies that will do this for you. This is my recommended method of placenta consumption and is one that many of my past clients have had good success with.