Many people are aware of the role that the love hormone oxytocin plays in making and birthing babies, but do you know it’s critical during postpartum too?
Feeling loved up after you have your baby is important for several reasons. High levels of oxytocin will help with milk flow, help you bond with your baby and be more sensitive to the non-verbal cues they are sharing. This helps you be more in-tune to their needs whilst also helping you to feel calmer and more connected. Interestingly, oxytocin also helps you deal with monotony easier, like changing that nappy for the hundredth time.
It’s important to try to decrease stress levels because stress actually reduces oxytocin. Other factors that can lower the ‘love hormone’ are being hungry, too much rational thinking, getting cold, being lonely and sleep deprivation.
An activity I like to do with expectant parents is to create an oxytocin boosting plan. This helps them remember what brings them happiness and try to get strategies in place to make sure these activities can be included in their fourth trimester.
Some examples of oxytocin boosting activities include: having a massage, eating comfort foods, meditation, getting support, enjoying self care routines and resting when possible. Doula Wisdom Tip: Hang a simple sign that says ‘Quiet please, mama is resting’.
I invite you to brainstorm activities that bring you peace and joy. Do you love fresh flowers, do you like to diffuse aromatherapy, do you find having a bath relaxing, what about yoga or walking in nature?
Let’s take a closer look at what you can do to boost your oxytocin levels so your postpartum time can be as joyful as possible.
Eat warm foods
In most traditional cultures, there is a big focus on keeping the mother warm and feeding her nourishing and easily digestible foods. This is said to help with her recovery and production of healthy breastmilk. There are some great recipes in ‘The First Forty Days’ and ‘Nourishing Newborn Mothers’ books. I highly recommend!
Because we know that being hungry is not good for a new mama, it’s super helpful to have some easy yet nutritious snacks on hand. Have some snacks that you can eat one handed so you can satisfy your hunger and keep you happy.
Massage is also an age-old tradition for helping new mothers feel nourished and contributes to their healing and recovery from birth. Not only is it physically beneficial, it’s good for the mind and amazing for boosting oxytocin. I love visiting new mothers and creating a little sanctuary for them to receive. Their babies can breastfeed while they enjoy a therapeutic massage. I use warm oils and essential oils like black pepper, ginger and lemongrass to help increase the benefits.
One of my mama’s, Caitlin, gave this feedback “Kirrah’s postpartum massages helped me to relax and improve my transition from pregnancy to postpartum. It is very powerful to be cared for and receive nurturing touch while caring 24/7 for a newborn. I consider postnatal massage to be an essential part of self-care protocol as it helps you ease into motherhood with grace”.
Self massage is another great self-care activity. Just make sure you use warm oils. You can also enjoy bonding time with your baby by having skin to skin contact and doing some simple baby massage. Then you can both enjoy a warm bath to continue the nourishment!
Download this free natural birth checklist that covers practical tips and natural suggestions for the three stages of labor. Start feeling more confident about your birth plan.