"Happiness requires two things; unconditional love + unconditional support" ~ Poetry by Dolly

TLDR / CLIFF NOTES

This section is for the loved ones that want to help....but probably don't want to read all of the information contained within.

 

If they get curious or aren't understanding why this approach is being taken, here are some quick take aways. 

 

Hopefully, they will have enough understanding, acknowledgments, and respect.

The universal needs for healing

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Healing isn't linear and can be a complex picture for each individual. 
  • We do NOT promote any calorie counting, bouncing back, or scales.
  • We DO promote grace and space. The idea that the choices of the new parents should be honored and the ability to hold space for them to explore what this new role looks like (as it very well will look different for each person). A judgement free zone. 
 
Helping the new parent to maximize this preciously short time, we can look back generations and know that historically, people who have given birth have LOTS of help within the home. In hunter gather cultures, there was 14 adults to 1 baby/mother.  That's a lot of help! We have gotten so far away from this as we've watched mood disorders rise. We can do our best to recreate this by following these three Pillars of Care. We clearly spend a lot of time here rambling on about what Deep Nourishment looks like, but let's also take a look at the other two. 
Deep Rest:
  • Week 1: Let's help the birthgiver to be in their bed almost completely the first week.  Yes, they can (and should) get up to stretch legs and get some light on their face or use the bathroom, move the blood around but, ideally, we want them nestled in their bedside sanctuary. They can eat in bed, read in bed, bond and heal.  Everything is within arms reach and food is brought to them on a tray.
  • Week 2:  We want them at least touching the bed, sitting up in it or near it. Their only job is to rest, eat, and bond. No cleaning up, no tasks, or food prep etc.
  • Week 3:  Near the bed.  This means that despite the fact that their body might be feeling a bit more together and their may be a return to some energy. Strong encouragement on being easy, slow and resting is still paramount.  If bleeding increases, which it can sometimes, it means they are doing too much. 
Receiving:
They are receiving right now by having the nonjudgmental and unconditional support from loved ones.  They can (and should) also Receive by seeking out help from friends, family, trusted professionals. There is so much required of a new parent that helping them to Receive means that they too are honored and celebrated.  
 
Let folks do a Meal Train (to help support partner), encourage new parents groups (there are tons of virtual ones), getting body work, having their house cleaned, their dog walked, their trash taken out. etc.
Deep Nourishment: 
We talk about deep nourishment as being full of nutrient rich, anti inflammatory, whole foods.  We are looking to avoid severe postnatal depletion and build back the stores within the postpartum body.  
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Create Optimal Balancing by harnessing Food as Medicine:

  • Eating  food that is well cooked & easily digestible.
    We are always WARMING the birthgiver. 

  • Real Foods that are nutrient dense & low inflammatory, whole foods based. 
    In general, we are using an ancestral, traditional approach to this time.

  • Continue PreNatal Vitamin - see information on Postnatal Depletion

  • Consume Lots of Warming (Medicinal) Spices Turmeric, Ginger, Clove, Cardamom, Cumin, Nutmeg, Cinnamon

  • Consume Good Fat with each meal: Ghee, Coconut Oil,
    Real Butter, Sesame Oil, Olive Oil, Avocado, Nuts + Seeds (Chia!)

  • Add Calories, especially if breastfeeding

  • Lots and lots of fluids (Flat Water & Teas)

Ideally, it is generally recommended to avoid or limit during the first 6 weeks...

  • RAW FOOD

    • Avoid salads and other raw foods for awhile with exception of banana and avocado​

  • COLD/FROZEN FOOD

    • Please no iced drinks or frozen smoothies! Yes, they can be healthy but aren't right for the postpartum body right now.

  • PACKAGED/PROCESSED FOODS

    • This includes breads, crackers, hard protein bars​, trail mix. 

  • SPICY FOODS

    • Tough on this settling digestion​. Cayenne is the one exception that can be used sparsely AFTER the early days. 

  • ACIDIC FOODS

    • For awhile, it's a good idea to limit the tomato based soups and foods. ​

 

 Why?

  • These are very hard on the digestion and digestion/gut health is the BACK BONE of good health.

  • Some are nutrient poor and inflammatory which irritates multiple systems in the body including immune function. 

  • The abdomen needs time to settle- the muscle tissues are already taxed & tired - we aren't looking to make it work harder right now. 

  • Bloating / Gas / Acid Reflux

Lastly, this is not a diet, this is an eating approach.

It is not a recommended time to cleanse, fast, flush or whatever in the early weeks after baby. 

The postpartum body needs rest and gentle movement when appropriate

This is not a time to be concerned about clothing size, bouncing back,

scales or any such nonsense at this time. 
 

This is an approach to eating that is geared to this truly unique

and highly demanding timeframe in a birthing person's life.

There is no other time in their life that mirrors what is happening in the postpartum body. This is meant to be a short lived (6 - 8 weeks) pathway with

room for variety, flexibility and increased complexity.

SHORTCUTS: KEY RECIPES + SPECIAL PREP INFO
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IN THE EARLY LABOR STAGE, CONSIDER FUELING YOUR BODY WELL.

Lots of hydration. Keep eating plenty of little meals or snacks for sustained energy.

  • Flat Water or Infused Water or Warm Teas

  • Plain Coconut Water 

  • "Laborade" Coconut Water

  • The AMAZING LABORADE Tea

  • Sipping Bone Broth- (excellent for soothing abdomen, rich in collagen,
    grounding, warming

  • Bananas (potassium & electrolyte replacement)

  • Raw Mixed Nuts (fuel, fats, energy)

  • Dates with Nut Butter (energy, sweet, tastes like Snickers! :)

  • Dark chocolate (small amounts -fuel, fat, energy)

  • Avocado (fuel, fat, energy)

  • Hard-Boiled Egg or Scrambled Eggs (sustained energy)

  • Fresh berries (blueberries are excellent here - some folks freeze them)

  • Cheese, Hummus, Nut ButtersHoney Sticks

  • Popsicles

     

Quickie Overview of Ideal Meals in the First Weeks Postpartum:

The first hour after birth is called the Golden Hour. This is all about skin to skin, breast crawls, birthing the placenta, and resting.  Follow your instinct here, if you are hungry eat!

Let the warming begin! :)

 

Hospital or Birth Center Births:

  • If you are heading off to the hospital, pull a few frozen items into the fridge so they can begin to gently defrost. 

  • Consider something like this Travel Crock Pot for broths + porridges! 

  • If they won't let you bring in your own food, sneak it! But also, you can select foods like clear soups, teas, oats, eggs.

  • If you don't have your preferred food for whatever reason, don't fret.  You could think about take out. A non-spicy pho or miso soup are favorites - a non-spicy dahl would be great too.

Home Birth:

  • Towards the end of the Golden Hour, I love to offer a bedside tray of food to nosh on. Usually this looks like a bowl of enriched porridge (congee or kitchari) with layers of flavor and nutrients. The tray also includes warm stewed fruit, and an herbal infusion.

 

HOW TO NOURISH YOUR LOVED ONE

  • Deep Rest:

    • Help them sleep bank, help them have 'horizontal​' time where they can try to decompress + rest.
       

  • Deep Hydration: Bring them fresh (room temp) water on the regular. Keep it filled at their bedside, switch it up with teas and elixirs. 

  • Breakfasts:

    • Different versions of Grounding Oats (Steel Cut Oats made with warming spices) - this can be varied a bit with blackstrap molasses, maple, dates, full-fat coconut milk). Often served alongside stewed fruits & an herbal tea. Around day 5, small amounts of egg dishes from simple scrambled with extra yokes and nutritious yeast) to more custard-like, maple eggs. 
       

  • Snacks & Sides:

    • Different versions of the stewed fruits, some tend to be a mix of foods and some tend to showcase a singular fruit.  Super simple grab and gos like nuts + seeds, an avocado, hard boiled egg, seaweed snack can be helpful in a pinch.  With more time, you can do seasoned Avocado dishes, Date & Almond Shake, Spiced Maple & Molasses Nuts, Chutneys, Stuffed Dates, Balancing Bites (better than a Peanut Butter Cup), New Mama Jam on Pita, Ghee'd Rice, Veggie "Fried Rice" Quinoa, Roasted Vegetables (Beet Root, Squash, Fennel, Parsnip, Bok Choy), Poached Pear, Ghee sauteed & spiced leafy greens, Horchata, Milk Tonics, Infusions, Warm Ginger Tea
       

  • Lunch / Dinner:

    • It is ideal to have lunch be the largest meal of the day. 

      • In addition to what we've already listed and discussed, pureed soups such as sweet potato and squash, Dals, "Buddha" Bowls with mixed veg with quinoa/rice mix, Broth Bowls with added grain, Classic chicken (rice) noodle soup, Cast Iron Simple Salmon. Roast a whole chicken