Why Is Postpartum Nutrition So Important For New Mothers?
Whenever we are hungry, tired, or depleted we do not function at our best. Our thinking narrows, our bodies tire easily and we are unable to show up in the fullness of our potential.
For a postpartum mother, the time immediately after birth is prone to plenty of hunger, fatigue and depletion. Giving birth takes a huge amount of energy from a woman. In Traditional Chinese medicine it would be said that birth is a very yang experience – active, hot, energetic and outward.
After birth, the mother’s body, mind and soul requires extra special care. Both pregnancy and birth have called on her physical and mental resources probably in ways she has never experienced before, so postpartum needs to be a time of rest and recovery.
In Japan they call this time ansei which loosly translates as “peace and quiet with pampering,” and in Traditional Chinese Medicine the period following birth embraces the energy of yin – slow, quiet and substantial (or grounding.)
Traditional cultures around the world recognize that new mothers need plenty of nutrient dense soups and liquids to replenish their energy, promote lactation, facilitate rest and digestion. In the West, we are so accustomed to the message that we must ‘bounce back’ and ‘do it all’ that we forget to take a moment (ideally forty days) to replenish.
The most important things for a woman to remember during postpartum are: Is it warm/ warming, and can it be served in a mug or a bowl? If she can live by these principles for a month, her body will not be as depleted as if she raced around eating fast food.
I recommend women focus on these three principles of postpartum – warmth, bowls and mugs – so that they drink and eat lots of warming foods and drinks. You don’t eat stew on a plate and you don’t drink broth out of a champagne glass! The warmth factor is very important as it promotes energy conservation and free flowing ‘chi’ or life force, rather than depleting her organs by putting unnecessary demands on her digestion.
Ensuring that a new mother has plenty of warmth and is only eating foods that can be served in a bowl or a mug, means that her vital energy will be preserved for decades into the future. We would not be here without women – we must remember to take good care of them.
What is your experience with the effect of warmth and warm foods on your body? Do you practice these principles in your life during times of stress?