It’s hard to believe my baby girl is coming up on 5 months old already!
All the mamas out there know… the postpartum period is a whirlwind!
Not only are you adjusting to taking care of baby, but your body is undergoing massive changes (just as big as during pregnancy!)
And you’re sleeping less, nursing (literally nourishing an entire other human with YOUR body!), and might even be going back to work around the 3-month mark if you’re in the U.S.
It’s a lot! That’s why I think your postpartum recovery plan is just as important as what you do before and during pregnancy (if not more important!)
Today I want to share my go-to supplements that I’ve used in my own postpartum recovery and first months of motherhood – I hope they help you as much as they have helped me over the past few months.
What I’m Taking For Postpartum Recovery & Surviving New Motherhood
Here’s a quick rundown of my daily supplement routine since giving birth. (Remember that this is what was appropriate for me, and may not be exactly right for you! Book a free consult with my team to learn more about customizing supplement plans for you).
#1 A good prenatal multivitamin
There’s nothing that depletes your body of nutrients quite like growing another human and then nursing them! You need the extra nutrients in a good prenatal just as much after birth as you do before.
I like Designs For Health Prenatal Pro because it contains chromium and other important micronutrients. Because I have a family history and personal tendency toward diabetes (and dealt with gestational diabetes), I specifically chose a prenatal that contains chromium. Research suggests that chromium can help lower fasting blood sugar and insulin levels.
Magnesium – for everything! Magnesium has so many benefits…. But it’s especially good for mitochondrial energy, maintaining your calm, supporting healthy sleep, hormone support, and insulin signaling. I use Magnesium Buffered Chelate Glycinate by Designs for Health.
#3 Mushroom blend
I use a mushroom blend with reishi, cordyceps, and lions mane called Host Defense Stamets 7.
Mushrooms have so many benefits! Lion’s mane helps with brain health, stress and anxiety, and diabetes prevention and management.
Cordyceps can help protect mitochondria and therefore have anti-aging benefits. And with how little sleep I’m getting, I definitely feel like I need the help!
Adaptogenic herbs (like goji berry, maca root, ginseng, and more) support adrenal health and mitochondrial function. With all the stress of a new baby and the limited sleep, adaptogens can be really useful. I use “The One” from Quicksilver Scientific.
#5 Flax seed meal
I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and as a result my hormones need extra support to stay in balance. I personally tend toward estrogen dominance (not all women with PCOS do – so be sure to get your hormone levels tested with a practitioner!)
Flax seed meal has a “bad reputation” as an estrogenic food but the truth is that flax seed meal can help with estrogen detox, keeping the body’s hormone levels in better balance if you’re estrogen dominant like I am. I eat a couple tablespoons of ground flax daily.
#6 Probiotic & prebiotic
I’m also taking a daily prebiotic. Prebiotics are indigestible fibers that act as food for the bacteria in the gut. I use MegaPreBiotic.
The probiotic and prebiotic are for my health – but also for baby girls’! Right now, my daughter’s microbiome is still “under construction”and is strongly influenced by who she has contact with – namely her dad and I. Moms transfer bacteria to baby through kissing, cuddling, and (most importantly) breastfeeding. That’s why gut health is even more of a priority right now than usual.
#7 Natural toothpaste & mouth rinse
Your oral microbiome seeds your gut microbiome, and with as much as my daughter open mouth kisses me and all the germs we pass back and forth, I’m doing everything I can to support a healthy microbiome body-wide. Research has shown that baby’s oral microbiome continues to develop up to 1 year.
Why I’m Passionate About Breastfeeding
I’m also taking supplements that have made breastfeeding easier and confer benefits to baby through breastmilk. I promise I’ll share all those with you – but first I want to cover why I’m so passionate about breastfeeding.
My intention is to breastfeed my daughter past one year – what’s called extended breastfeeding. That’s because there are so many benefits to breastfeeding:
- Breastfeeding prevents autoimmunity – research has shown being breastfed is associated with a lower incidence of diabetes, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis and asthma
- Breastfeeding builds a stronger immune system and may even help prevent development of disease later in life
- Breastfeeding boosts the brain – this study showed it improved cognitive development and this one showed those breastfed for 6+ months had better test results in school
And with my history of gestational diabetes and tendency toward high blood sugar, it was important to me that breastfeeding decreases the risk of diabetes in mom AND baby and especially helps prevent Type 2 diabetes for moms who had gestational diabetes.
That doesn’t cover even a fraction of all the health benefits of breastfeeding for mom and baby… not to mention the emotional and mental benefits.
While I understand that breastfeeding isn’t possible for all new moms, I highly recommend it… and if you’re struggling with low supply, keep reading for some of the solutions that made breastfeeding work for me.
I struggled with low supply from day 1 (largely as a result of hormone disruption caused by my PCOS) – but luckily I found a few solutions that helped get my supply up to normal. If you’re a fellow PCOS sister, I hope you’ll consider these ideas.
Myo-inositol is a natural substance, found in plants and animals, which helps to regulate insulin in a similar way to metformin and may be useful for mothers with PCOS who are dealing with low supply.
It’s a major ingredient in breast milk and taking it supplementally can help boost breast milk production and increase baby’s brain health.
Metformin is a prescription drug that can help lower blood sugar to boost supply. It doesn’t work for all women – but if it helps you, it’s a powerful tool that’s safe for baby. Metformin is considered low-risk for baby.
The dosage starts at 500 mg, but talk to your doctor (you’ll need a prescription) to find what’s right for you.
For anyone nervous about using metformin: you should know this what what finally increased my supply to nearly normal levels!
I also take therapeutic levels of Fenugreek, Goat’s Rue, Moringa, and Shatavari— all proven to improve milk production and flow safely. While different women will have different degrees of response to these herbs, they are generally safe to try. It can take up to 2 full weeks to notice a shift in supply or flow.
What I’m Taking For Baby’s Benefit
Nursing mamas aren’t just a milk machine… But everything you take in is transferred to your breast milk. And when that milk is baby’s only source of nutrition for 6 months, you want it to be as good as possible!
A healthy and diverse diet with more-than-enough calories is step one to make the best milk, but I also am using these supplements for “milk enhancement.”
#1 Lugol’s iodine
Pregnancy requires higher levels of iodine, and research has shown women who are iodine deficient in pregnancy and postpartum are more likely to have children with neurological and psychological deficits like attention deficit disorders and lower IQ.
Since I don’t eat iodized salt or iodine-rich foods regularly, I use 2 drops of 2% Lugol’s iodine solution daily.
Here’s a wild breastfeeding fact: if you’re not taking in sufficient dietary calcium while breastfeeding, your body will leech calcium from your bones to supply calcium in your breastmilk!
I don’t want to feed my baby my own bones – so I supplement with calcium to make sure I have adequate supply for both of us.
The omega-3 fatty acid DHA is one of the most important nutrients for a healthy baby. It’s critical for healthy brain development plus vision and memory.
#4 Coconut oil
Coconut oil is one of my favorite sources of healthy fat – and eating it regularly can increase lauric and caprylic acid content in breastmilk. Lauric and caprylic acid are powerful antimicrobials that can help strengthen your baby’s immune system and keep them healthy.
Studies have shown eating 3 tablespoons at a meal can significantly increase levels, so I aim for 3 tablespoons in my daily smoothie.
#5 Liver and organ powder
Liver and other organ meats are on the best sources of important nutrients like choline… but most of us are deficient! Choline is particularly important for healthy brain and memory development, so it’s important for breastfeeding moms to get enough.
I use a powdered form of organ meats made by Ancestral Supplements and try to eat 2 pasture-raised eggs (the yolks are a great source of choline!). Use code BRIEW10 at checkout for a 10% discount!
What To Give Baby
Right now, all baby girl gets is milk, milk, and more milk!
That’s all infants less than 6 months of age need – it’s the perfect food.
The only supplement I give to her is Klaire Therbiotic Infant 4 times a week to support her healthy microbiome development. I give this to her either on my nipple by dampening the skin with a little milk and then dabbing the powder on there, or, by mixing it in a bottle of milk, when she takes a bottle.
She’s getting her Vitamin D through my milk; you must take 5000 IU or more daily to accomplish this–test first to make sure that dose is safe for you.
Your Postpartum Recovery Strategy
As a hormone specialist, I’ve always loved working with moms in the postpartum period – but as a mom myself now, I have a profound respect for all my mom clients!
If you’re pregnant now, hope to be soon, or are in the postpartum period now, I’d love to support you in finding your own postpartum recovery strategy, tailored to your unique needs.
Book a free 15 minute consult with my team by clicking here. During the consult, we’ll talk about your experiences and needs and start on a strategy for long-term wellness, together.
To your health,
P.S. Are you interested in hearing more about my motherhood journey? Be sure to check out my Instagram where I share candid pics and commentary!