My Top 5 Postnatal Supplements
I feel like supplements sometimes get a bad rap. Whether it’s because of some that are based on dubious science and con artists, because of the lack of regulation of the whole industry, or because of the reputation that all they do is give you “expensive pee,” many people are turning away from vitamins.
(For more, I strongly recommend watching this short documentary to get a better understanding of the supplement industry).
There’s no doubt that it’s best to get the nutritional support you need from wholesome, thoughtful eating, but I believe that the right supplements properly used can give you a helping hand. I have created this round-up of my top 5 postnatal supplements to show what worked for me.
I have a lot to say about the concept of postnatal depletion, but in the interest of time I will just say that it is real. It felt very real to me, anyway.
After a very difficult first trimester (I lost about 5 pounds during the first month of carrying B), my midwife explained not to worry about the baby because my body was sending her everything she needed before it would give me what I needed.
Then, after she was born, the depletion I experienced during pregnancy was compounded with the work my body was doing to produce food for her, and, of course, the lack of sleep.
You’ll see that many of the supplements on this list help with lactation support, and I had a (manageable) oversupply. There’s no what of knowing what did it, of course, but these very well may have helped!
Over the course of the first few months, I tried a few different things, and can definitely say these are my top 5 postnatal supplements for a reason!
My Top 5 Postnatal Supplements
I took New Chapter’s Perfect Prenatal all through pregnancy, and I switched to the postnatal version for the additional lactation support. Honestly, the jury seems to be out as far as if it’s worth switching from your prenatal to a postnatal, but since the cost was the same, I figured I might as well give it a shot.
These are gentle enough to take on an empty stomach. Once or twice I even took two at the same time, which is a testament to how easy they are. I plan to take them for awhile to help boost my postpartum health, and have these included in my diapers/wipes/breastmilk bags Subscribe & Save service so that I’m never without them.
Some have said that the pills are a little too big for them, but I think they’re manageable. I switched to the MegaFood brand for awhile, but came back to these.
I bought these on a whim. Well, whim makes it sound fun: I bought these when I was Deep In It during the weeks of the most difficult postpartum period. It was a hard time, and I was filled with a profound unwillingness to feel the way I was feeling anymore. I would try anything.
I came across this article on one of my favorite (and trusted) pregnancy resource websites. Omega-3 supplements have not only been linked to better health for baby, but for preventing (and even treating) postpartum mood issues in the mother.
Call it the placebo effect, call it whatever you want, but I felt a profound difference between before I started taking these and after. In fact, there was one afternoon when I was out and about with a friend, and saw they had been delivered to my door, and I pulled a u-turn to go get them (in the opposite direction of where we were going) because I knew it could make a difference in my day.
I went with the postnatal version because of the high levels of DHA and EPA, which could be helpful for my nursing baby, too. I really wish I could bundle these into my Amazon subscriptions, but alas, they aren’t available for the program. That is literally my only complaint.
The day we brought B home from the hospital my mother offered to bring me some probiotics. I was strep-B positive, and a long birth meant that I had been inundated with antibiotics, so it was really time to rebuild. She listed some options, but as soon as she said mood I knew that was the one for me.
One of the best markers of this supplement’s worthiness is that I can definitely tell if I have forgotten to take this more than one day in a row. I have noticed improvements in my digestive health, which is a big, big part of brain health.
One piece of advice: they do have ashwagandha as an ingredient, which is a powerful adaptogen to help with stress and healing. This ingredient really puts these probiotics securely in the #1 spot for the postpartum period! But ashwagandha does, in very few people, interfere with sleep, so I recommend taking them in the morning.
I didn’t realize until I was writing this post that they are on sale right now. I will be stocking up!
I drank this during pregnancy and after for a healthy milk supply, and as I mentioned earlier, I definitely had a good supply. But it also became a great way to stay hydrated, and a nice ritual for me to have during B’s nap time. I would pour a little, sometimes add milk or honey, and curl up with some bad tv, some writing, or some knitting.
Though this tea has been linked to nursing support, it also helps to balance hormones. In the hormonal upheaval that is the postpartum period, anything that can assist in that is invaluable.
This is my favorite brand of this tea. It’s organic, which I love, and I found the earthy taste really calming. Some days I would add a little milk and honey, but I would drink it plain again and again.
My sister-in-law recommended that I take malt balls to the hospital to help my milk come in sooner, and I figured it was just a myth, but I did it anyway. I’d heard of high-malt beer in the recovery room, and this was a nice alternative to that (and a good way to keep alcohol out of my early milk supply).
Plus, chocolate. So I was very willing to give it a shot.
I started eating these a few days before B was born (because, duh, there was a whole jar of them on my counter), and did take some to the delivery room. And my milk definitely came in quickly and strongly. In the following months, whenever I felt a dip in my supply, I would eat these, and I swear would get more milk the next morning!
In addition to the lactation support, I feel like the benefits of these are obvious. The baby goes down for a nap, and you pour yourself a nice cup of tea and grab some chocolate, and heave a sigh of relief. Now that is what I call a successful postpartum supplement.
For more on what helped most during the postpartum period, check out my ebook, Coping with Postpartum Depression and Anxiety: A Holistic Guide