5 Tips to Manage Postpartum Energy and Stress

By Dr. Courtney Ranieri, ND

In the weeks and months after having a baby you may put your own health on the back-burner, but feelings of stress, fatigue and overwhelm can quickly creep in. Research has confirmed the importance of mom’s health and eating habits on baby, especially in the first 1000 days of baby’s life. 

For example, at around 6 months, babies start to mimic mom’s eating habits. In studies where moms had a higher perceived stress level, their babies had higher BMI’s later in life. Optimizing your health and nutrition is the first step to help combat postpartum stress and fatigue.

Here are 5 tips to help manage postpartum energy and stress:

  1. Choose foods that nourish and fuel your body
  • Try to include healthy fats and proteins in every meal or snack
    • Protein and healthy fats help to keep energy high, mood balanced and manage hunger. They leave you feeling satisfied and give us the energy to power through to our next meal
  • Tips to help up your healthy fats and protein intake:
    • Add protein powder and nut butter to your smoothie
    • Top rice cakes with nut butter or mashed avocado
    • Pair veggies with hummus or guacamole
    • Top off your salad with lean protein or a boiled egg and avocado
    • Keep nuts and seeds in your bag for a quick snack
  1. Avoid skipping meals to boost energy and balance blood sugar
  • Try to eat a meal or snack at least every 3 hours
  • Skipping meals, eating irregularly or choosing carb or sugar-laden foods can put our bodies on a blood sugar rollercoaster. These blood sugar crashes often leave us feeling stressed, anxious, cranky, tired and ’hangry’
  • Make it easier by having go-to snack options in your rotation. Some examples: 
    • Roast a batch of sweet potatoes in the oven for the week. When ready to eat, heat up sweet potato, cut lengthwise and top with avocado, egg, salt and pepper OR nut butter, cinnamon and berries for a quick nutrient-dense meal or snack
    • Have chopped vegetables (pre-cut saves time!), hummus, guacamole, rice crackers, nut butters, nut and seed mixes on hand to snack on

3. Make self-care part of your daily routine

Taking time for yourself is not selfish – quite the opposite!

  • Self-care is necessary to manage stress and allow you to feel more balanced and present for your family
  • The word meditation scares a lot of people, but it doesn’t have to be an hour of trance-like ‘omming’
    • Try deep breathing to reduce stress and stress hormones
      • Simple things like a minute of deep breathing or square breathing have been shown to reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol
    • Use apps like calm.com or Headspace for easy, guided mediations
    • Try playing one while your baby is napping or before bed to help centre and relax yourself

4. Get in some movement – but be gentle with yourself

  • We know that exercise has a wide variety of benefits, but it’s benefits on mood and energy levels are probably the most profound
  • Tips to add more movement to your day:
    • Break up exercise into manageable chunks – try doing 10 minutes of movement a few times a day when you can
    • Go for a walk outside, do an at-home workout video, jump or dance around
    • Join a Mom & Baby class like Mommy Connections, or mom and baby yoga, etc.

5. Supplements can help

  • Sometimes our bodies need a little more support – that’s where supplements can help.
    • Vitamin D
      • Low Vitamin D levels are associated with increased risk of depression, anxiety and other mood disturbances
    • Vitamin B12
      • Vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to depression, fatigue, mood disturbances and poor memory
      • Vitamin B12 is found only in animal foods and fortified foods, therefore supplementation may be recommended for vegetarians, vegans or those who don’t eat animal proteins often
    • Omega 3 Fish Oils
      • Omega 3 Fatty Acids, found in Fish Oils, have shown promising results in studies on various mood disorders such as postpartum depression, anxiety and seasonal depression

Always check in with your Naturopathic Doctor or health care practitioner before changing or starting any supplements.

Dr. Courtney Ranieri is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor in Mississauga who helps women achieve higher health by optimizing their hormones, digestion, fertility, weight and energy.

Dr. Courtney Ranieri, ND

As a Naturopathic Doctor, she takes a holistic approach to healthcare and provides individualized medicine with a natural focus.

Dr. Courtney is passionate about working with women to help take their health to the next level. She believes that when we are truly healthy, we can be better: better parents, partners, athletes and friends. Check out www.drcourtneyranierind.com for more information.

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