Hormones out of balance? Postpartum or weaning can make us feel like we are on a hormone rollercoaster. Combined with lack of sleep this can make us feel like a stranger to ourselves; crying one minute and if we're lucky laughing the next.
So what happens to our hormones postpartum? During pregnancy oestrogen and progesterone levels are the highest we will experience - similar to taking 100 birth-control pills a day. Crazy!
Three days postpartum these levels drop to nearly the same as pre pregnancy. Oxytocin kicks in to support breastfeeding which is a 'feel good' hormone, but often is not enough to balance such a big change. Leaving us feeling emotional and reaching for the tissues.
So what can you do to help? Sleep banking can help, (see our Sleep Banking Post). Also making sure you eat regular meals with good quality fats and protein to maintain blood sugar levels. This will help stabilise your mood and keep your metabolism working, helping you loose any unwanted baby weight.
B vitamins can also help to regulate hormones, so make sure you are getting lots of leafy greens, such as broccoli, spinach or kale which are all great sources. Include probiotic foods and a good quality source of Omega 3 like wild salmon or sardines which can help support your mood.
What about when I stop breastfeeding? It can take your hormones a while to adjust. You stop producing prolactin and oxytocin that makes you 'feel good'. Your oestrogen, progesterone and FSH level increase basically making you feel postpartum again! Feeling emotional, the appearance of acne, fatigue and changes in your menstrual cycle can be your new normal.
Focusing on quality nutrition will help get your hormones back on track. Avoid sugar and caffeine which can affect you endocrine system. Again include probiotic foods, quality sources of Omega 3 and B vitamins. Adaptaogenic foods and herbs such as Maca or Dong Quai may also help to balance hormones.
Remember mamas when going through these changes be gentle with yourself, you’re not alone.
At HQ we are here to help with hormones and support you on your motherhood journey.