Becoming a mother is a stressful yet one of a kind experience. The struggle to juggle between postpartum recovery and care for their little ones can take a toll on any mother. It is not uncommon to feel discouraged and gloomy during the postpartum confinement period. Here, we share some confinement diet advice and encouragement for new mothers and mothers-to-be out there to curb postpartum blues during this challenging phase.
During the vulnerable stages of pregnancy and postpartum, many new mothers frequently feel tired, anxious, and frustrated, as they adjust to their lives with their baby. The pandemic has led to mothers experiencing a lengthened confinement at home due to fears of coming into contact with others and getting infected. As such, many mothers and their babies lack social, emotional and physical support from others. Even with the easing of measures, these fears can still persist today. This resultant stress and isolation of pregnant women may bring in higher risk of antenatal and postnatal depression.
Not to forget, mothers’ diet during the confinement period also affects postpartum mental health. Incorporating some food in your confinement diet can prevent postpartum depression and anxiety.
Photo Credit: Zuo Yue Food Salmon Slice with ginger, spring onion & wolfberry
Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are key in maintaining the fluidity and permeability of neuronal membranes and possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant characteristics. These vital fatty acids are enriched in fish such as salmon, cod, and in fish oil supplements. Regulating the function and development of the brain, these fish can help to protect mothers against postpartum depression and anxiety symptoms. Research has also shown regular fish consumption promote gray matter in brains, which consists of the majority of the nerve cells that control emotion, decision making, and memory.
Photo Credit: Zuo Yue Food Chicken Wings & Fried Egg in Premium ZYF Wine Soup
Eggs contain many essential nutrients that are tied to good brain health. These include choline, folate, and vitamins B6, B12, and D. Folate and B-vitamins are critical for several body functions, energy, and metabolism. Furthermore, they directly improve breast milk supply for mothers. Meanwhile, the intake of choline is associated with stronger cognitive performances, which helps to regulate your memory and emotions.
Photo Credit: Zuo Yue Food Mixed White & Brown Rice
Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains can stimulate the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter or hormone that has a calming effect on the brain. Incorporating whole grains like brown rice, oats, or whole wheat in your diet boosts your energy levels as serotonin are natural mood stabiliers, also known as “the happy chemical”. Aside from that, whole grains are also rich in other nutrients such as iron and fiber, which are beneficial for mothers in postpartum.
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It may sound ridiculously simple, but hydrating your body with sufficient water can naturally decrease the risk of depression and anxiety. Research has suggested a link between dehydration and poor mental health. Making up about 70% of our body weight, water is vital in maintaining several body functions and is an essential nutrient that your brain needs. Aside from plain water, mothers can consume Red Date Longan Tea as a source of hydration. It is good to limit alcohol and caffeine, as these can increase risk of depression and anxiety.
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Nuts are nutrient-dense components in our diet. They contain a large amount of protein which aids in the reconstruction of tissues and muscles and also stabilizes hormones and blood sugar levels in our body. Similar to fish, some nuts such as walnuts also contain essential fatty acids which are key in supporting the brain health and overall mood of mothers. Low intake of omega-3 fatty acids like DHA is associated with higher risks of maternal mental health conditions. Nuts are an all-in-one nutrient powerhouse for our cognitive strength, being rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, and vitamin E.
Rest assured that postpartum blue is not abnormal. Postpartum and confinement is a time where mothers are recovering physically and mentally from labor and delivery, struggling with postpartum hormonal mood swings, and adapting to life with a newborn. Mothers can seek help from many services online, including confinement food delivery services like Zuo Yue Food, or sourcing for babysitting help online with applications like Aunty. Look to your closed ones and share your troubles when you’re in need. We are here to support you! 🙂