Postpartum Nutrition: Soups that Heal

postpartum soup recipes

With so much emphasis placed on prenatal planning and nutrition, so little attention is focused on the mother’s postpartum period. A healthy postpartum is just as important as a healthy pregnancy for mother’s optimum rejuvenation and healing as she begins to care for her new baby. Just how can give your body the extra support it needs as you begin to discover the new you post baby?

Iron, vitamin B-12, and folate can promote replacement of blood cells that were inevitably lost during a large event like childbirth, says Rachel High, an obstetrician and gynecologist in Central Texas. Broths are an excellent way to provide your body with the above nutrients.

Around the world, in many cultures, postpartum women use broths as a nutrient dense way to heal their bodies.
Lizzy Swick, a dietician in New Jersey, claims that women need nutrients that are easily digested and assimilated to help and balance hormones and build blood to fully promote recovery.

Below you will find 4 soups that have been proven to promote the healing process after welcoming your new baby.

Seaweed Soup: Korean descent. Known as “miyeok guk.” Tradition has it that seaweed is hydrating and this aids in breastfeeding support. This soup is high in calcium and contain iodine. Iodine is known to aid in baby’s brain development. Fibrous which helps prevent constipation. Packed with iron to prevent anemia and promote overall well-being.
(Since high iodine levels can be dangerous for baby, be sure to check the nutritional label before purchasing that certain brand. Different brands vary.)

Pork Vinegar Soup: Chinese descent. Commonly made to support breastmilk supply. Made from ginger, pork feet, and sweetened rice vinegar. Also, typically served with an egg for added protein.

Tomato Soup: American classic. Adding fresh herbs not only aids in flavor but also helps your body’s ability to handle oxidative stress and inflammation. Basil, turmeric, garlic, and parsley are all recommended by Swick for their detoxification and antibacterial properties.

Caldo de Pollo (Chicken Soup): Mexican descent. In that culture, it is believed to take 40 days to heal mother’s reproductive organs and regain original shape after birth. This period is known as the “cuarentena.” This basic soup is recommended because it is typically not too spicy or heavy for this special period. Also, it contains carrots, tomatoes, garlic, lime and safflower which all contribute to overall well-being.
May you have a peaceful postpartum period. Be well, mamas!

Postpartum is a quest back to yourself. Alone in your body again. You will never be the same, you are stronger than you once were. -Amethyst Joy

Delaying Baby’s First Bath: Shown to Increase Breastfeeding Rates

There are a number of things that can be implemented or avoided to increase breastfeeding
rates for new babies. These things range from baby being held skin-to-skin for at least the first
hour immediately following birth, to opting not to send your newborn to the hospital nursery, to
having a birthing team that is supportive of breastfeeding, among a host of other
recommendations. This past January, something additional was added to the list: delayed
bathing.

Recently, a study at the Cleveland Clinic, has determined that there is a link between delaying a newborn’s first bath and an increase in exclusive breastfeeding rates. While the traditional hospital-protocol has baby
being bathed very shortly after birth, this study of about 1,000 newborns showed an eight
percent increase in exclusive-breastfeeding rates for babies whose baths were delayed by at
least twelve hours following birth.

The reasoning behind this correlation is thought to be three-fold: scent, increased skin-to-skin contact, and temperature regulation.

Scent
There have been prior studies that point to the idea that the scent of amniotic fluid left on baby’s skin after birth is similar to that of mother’s breast. By leaving the baby unbathed, this allows baby to use its own familiar scent as a guide to locate and take to mother’s breast for the first
feeding. This provides for a solid-latch to the breast and for successful breastfeeding-initiation.

Increased Skin-to-Skin
What may seem very obvious but is still significant, is that keeping baby with Mom after birth
rather than sending baby away with a nurse for a bath is that Mom and baby are able to have
that much more skin-to-skin contact. It is now widely known that keeping baby directly on Mom’s
chest after birth and even for the months succeeding birth definitely lends to an increase in
nursing and milk production. So, having that extra time to hold baby skin-to-skin directly after
birth can make a big difference in the long-term success of that breastfeeding relationship.

Temperature Regulation
While the increase in skin-to-skin alone also lends to helping baby’s temperature remain
regulated, the absence of immediate bathing also has an effect. One may think a warm bath
wouldn’t cause temperature issues, however it does cause a decrease in temperature which is
not ideal for a newborn. A decrease in temperature of even just one degree diverts energy and
oxygen to increasing temperature. Both that energy and oxygen are better-spent on other bodily
processes such as feeding and healthy respiration.

This study has prompted the Cleveland Clinic to rewrite their newborn-bathing protocol and now
they encourage parents to wait at least twelve full hours for baby’s first bath. Even in a case
where parents prefer an earlier bath, the hospital asks that bathing be delayed for two hours
after-birth. It is encouraging that something so simple is linked to an increase in exclusive
breastfeeding. At a time when new parents may feel like it’s difficult to keep up with all the
recommendations, this is one that takes no effort and even provides extra newborn snuggles.
It’s a win-win situation for all involved!

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