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  • Exhausted new mom, need advice!

    Hi everyone!

    I am a first time mom and have a 9 month old. I was primal for 1.5 years before her birth and am still mostly primal (80-90% of the time). I did Crossfit up until I was about 8-9 weeks and after that still exercised, did yoga, and walked. Post-partum, I'm having all sorts of problems. My daughter still wakes up every few hours (for nursing), and I have not had a single full night of sleep in nearly a year. My husband started a new stressful, long hours job a few weeks after our daughter was born, and he usually doesn't get home most nights until 8-9pm. I've lost so much weight that even my pre-pregnancy clothes are loose. I've upped my fat and protein intake to try and compensate, but it doesn't seem to be helping. I can't even think about exercising because I have a hard enough time making it through the day. We're also both getting over thrush (candida/yeast), which tells me my body is totally out of whack. I've been resorting to drinking coffee in the morning to get a boost after a long night, but then I end up shaky within an hour or so.

    Does anyone have any recommendations on how to heal and recuperate my body beyond just diet? I'm really open to anything at this point.

    Thanks.

  • #2
    I have been in this boat!! I weighed 110 lbs (at 5'9") and it took all of my energy just to keep the baby, the toddler and myself clean and fed. To make a very long story very short: I saw an endocrinologist, was diagnosed with hypothyroid and "an adrenal episode."

    It was a whole host of things coming together that finally helped, but my initial recommendation is a thyroid test and a cortisol test (may have to seek out a naturopath or chiro for this). Search "adrenal fatigue" in the forum for some great info on some very good and natrual ways to get past the burn-out.

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    • #3
      thesaffs,

      part of this is just where you are right now with the baby. my son was always a good sleeper at night (5-6 hours at a stretch), which meant only waking once. so, it wasn't as tough for me.

      i think that if you can nap with your daughter, that would help, because it seems to me that sleep is what you really need most of all.

      from there, you might see if another mom in your area would watch your child while you do some working out, or just chilling out.

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      • #4
        Does your baby have any teeth? Maybe it's time to supplement breast milk a little ~ it sounds like she needs to eat something with a little more substance~

        Also, I agree, nap when she does~

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        • #5
          This is actually pretty common - I'm a postpartum doula, and while I mostly work with families with brand-new babies, I do get calls from mamas of 6-12 month-old babies (sometimes even older) who just can't cope.

          The thing is, the nuclear family that's so common in North America is a hugely unnatural social construct in which to parent. If you have a mom or mother-in-law or grannie or aunt nearby who has offered to help - take her up on it. Seriously. It doesn't matter if the price you pay is a lecture on everything you're doing wrong. Just ignore it, offer effusive thanks, and enoy the sleep. If you don't have any willing relatives nearby, hire someone to come every afternoon or every other afternoon to either do the housework and make dinner while you nap with your baby, or play with the baby while you nap.

          As far as night sleeping goes - do you cosleep? That helps a lot of parents get more sleep initially, but my own experience is that later on, it's harder to cut back on the night nursing. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't have traded it for the world, even though I was, like you, a basket case at about nine months. But the nursing every two hours at night was a bit much. I went back to work when my daughter was 11 months old and found myself unable to function in my job. I just needed six hours straight sleep - so I left my daughter cuddled up in bed with my husband, and I went to sleep on the couch. Best thing ever (although I'd recommend a spare bed. We just didn't have one.) Nine months is sliiiightly early for that, but if you can't cope, you can't cope, and your baby should be able to go six hours without food at this point. If your husband can't deal with that every night, just do weekend nights - even a little bit of a break will help.

          Good luck. I feel for you. And it will get better As far as the food goes, try to prep as many high-calorie snacks on the weekend when your husband is around as you possibly can - or utilize hired help to do it. I have one client for whom a large part of what I do is food prep. She's in much the same boat as you, only at 3 months postpartum, and has a pile of food allergies so it's hard for her to eat enough. I make sure she's stocked up on stuff she CAN eat.
          Last edited by spughy; 12-06-2011, 01:10 PM.

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          • #6
            Thank you all for the suggestions! My parents actually live next door, but they work full-time+ and have a busy social life. My mom is off next week, so I'm going to see if she'll come by and watch my daughter for a few hours each day so I can sleep and hopefully get better. Spughy, I didn't know post-partum doulas would work with clients so far past the birth. I had a doula for my daughter's birth; I might consider reaching out to a post-partum doula for some temporary help.

            My daughter is very adverse to baby food/purees. However, she does love my homemade beef stock stew, gnawing on steak, and curry. It's very odd, but sort of fitting (primal baby.) I would LOVE for her to take more veggies, but she doesn't want it, not even yummy avocado. I'll keep working on it. Family keeps telling me to give her oatmeal or rice, but we're avoiding that for the obvious reasons. We've also co-slept in the past and I definitely might try it again, at least as a way to get caught back up on sleep.

            Yvonne, I tried to schedule an appt with my doctor for a physical, and she's booked until February! There is a local chiropractor who has gotten good reviews, I might see if she can check my adrenal status.

            Thanks everyone for the support and advice, it helps!

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            • #7
              And spughy, you mentioned high-calorie snacks. I am totally open to suggestions!

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              • #8
                Full-fat yogurt (if you do dairy)
                avocados - quick to slice and eat straight or with a sprinkle of salt & balsamic vinegar (keep these handy, not buried in the back of the cupboard!)
                beef jerky
                trail mix
                tropical fruits (mango, papaya, banana)
                super high-calorie "popsicles" - get one of those tupperware (or knock-off) home popsicle makers and throw coconut milk (or cream, preferably) in the blender with some protein powder (if you want) and fruit, stick it in the popsicle molds and wait a few hours.
                smoked salmon (hot-smoked - usually available at fish counters in the grocery store)
                cheese (again, if you do dairy - treat yourself to fun ones! I have a Wensleydale with carmelized onions that I'm loving right now)
                make your own pate, it's quick, easy, and turns a stick of celery into something actually nutritious (or cheat and buy some, you're a busy mom, you're allowed )
                good salami or other charcuterie

                You can also prep food on the weekend so it's quick to bang food together for more nutritious meals. If I know I've got a busy week ahead, I like to make things to put on salads, like bacon bits, cheese chunks, or salmon or tuna salad. I pre-cut veggies and make dips, and make things like carmelized onions or some simple sauteed veg that I can throw in an omelette. Meal planning also really helps - makes the shopping easier, too!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by thesaffs View Post
                  Thank you all for the suggestions! My parents actually live next door, but they work full-time+ and have a busy social life. My mom is off next week, so I'm going to see if she'll come by and watch my daughter for a few hours each day so I can sleep and hopefully get better. Spughy, I didn't know post-partum doulas would work with clients so far past the birth. I had a doula for my daughter's birth; I might consider reaching out to a post-partum doula for some temporary help.
                  Not all postpartum doulas will work with older babies, but some do - and those who don't will probably know who does!

                  My daughter is very adverse to baby food/purees. However, she does love my homemade beef stock stew, gnawing on steak, and curry. It's very odd, but sort of fitting (primal baby.) I would LOVE for her to take more veggies, but she doesn't want it, not even yummy avocado. I'll keep working on it. Family keeps telling me to give her oatmeal or rice, but we're avoiding that for the obvious reasons.
                  A better reason to avoid those things is that they're actually LESS calorically dense than breastmilk, and can hinder growth Give her more steak, lots of squishy meats, egg yolk, liver, fish eggs, whatever is meaty and fatty that she can get down. Don't worry about the veg. She's getting all the vitamins she needs from your breastmilk (and as she nurses less, the vitamin concentration actually goes up) so the only reason to eat vegetables, before you're about 2, is if you like them.

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                  • #10
                    I would try to add in some of the super-nutrient primal foods. The top ones are liver, bone marrow, bone stocks, oysters, brazil nuts, and kelp. You don't have to do them all but liver and bone marrow are amazing for energy - no multivitamin can reproduce it.

                    Many cultures traditionally give women these foods after the baby is born. I have a chinese friend whose parents brought her bone broth and marrow every single day after her children were born. She recovered beautifully after both births. She never knew why - but we were talking recently and I mentioned how great these foods were. She realized then why the tradition went back so far in history.

                    And I second the sleep vote. Call your friends, family, etc for a break a few times a week if you need it. I don't have kids yet, but I have spent so very many hours watching babies of my friends so they could take a shower and nap for a couple hours - if I ever have babies I should be able to nap every day for a year getting paid back from all these people
                    Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )

                    http://www.krispin.com/lectin.html

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                    • #11
                      This time in your life is just plain hard, it's so difficult to explain to those without kids. I have a 5 year old and 2 year old and it is still exhausting even though I work and my wife stays home. I thought we transitioned both from breast feeding to solid food around 9 to 12 months. There was a big improvement in sleep after that. My kids are not as primal as I'd like but it is hard without me being the primary care taker.

                      To the quick high cal snacks, I would also add good nuts like macademias, cashews and almonds.

                      I know fast food is frowned upon but Wendys has a very paleo salad loaded with avocados. Some of the more upscale burger places like In-n-out will wrap your burger in lettuce, about as paleo as you can get in my mind is beef wrapped in lettuce with some tomatos and onions. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good at this time in your life.

                      An easy routine we have fallen into is that I cook something big on Sunday that we can then have the next two or even three dinners. Once that is finished on say Tuesday, I'll make a 2lb primal meatloaf (sub almond meal for bread crumbs) that my wife can put in the oven on Wednesday and we can have Wednesday and Thursday night. Friday and Saturday are usually foraging nights. See if you can get your husband to do this.

                      A few good ideas for big Sunday dinners that last a few nights are a double batch of primal chili, coconut milk muligawtany soup, some kind of beef curry dish, the Moroccan primal chicken cauliflower rice dish, or sweet potato sheppard's pie.

                      I'm a big

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by spughy View Post

                        A better reason to avoid those things is that they're actually LESS calorically dense than breastmilk, and can hinder growth Give her more steak, lots of squishy meats, egg yolk, liver, fish eggs, whatever is meaty and fatty that she can get down. Don't worry about the veg. She's getting all the vitamins she needs from your breastmilk (and as she nurses less, the vitamin concentration actually goes up) so the only reason to eat vegetables, before you're about 2, is if you like them.
                        I'm really happy to hear that about breastmilk and veggies because I was concerned. Too many well-meaning people telling me she should be eating baby purees. She has only two teeth right now so we just let her suck on a hunk of steak. Is there a way to get it soft enough that she can eat it? We give her pieces of ground beef that have softened in bone broth. What about organic grass-fed yogurt? Is that a good or bad idea? I'm planning on soft-boiling some organic egg yolks for her to try.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by thesaffs View Post
                          I'm really happy to hear that about breastmilk and veggies because I was concerned. Too many well-meaning people telling me she should be eating baby purees. She has only two teeth right now so we just let her suck on a hunk of steak. Is there a way to get it soft enough that she can eat it? We give her pieces of ground beef that have softened in bone broth. What about organic grass-fed yogurt? Is that a good or bad idea? I'm planning on soft-boiling some organic egg yolks for her to try.
                          We would let ours chew on the bones. They loved to use those two little teeth to scrape out the marrow. I had never heard of Primal/ paleo at the time--I just thought it was cute. I don't know if you can get steak "soft" enough, but you can certainly cut it up small enough. Little teeny, tiny pieces of steak cooked medium. YUM.

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                          • #14
                            She's doing what she should be.

                            Go online, look up baby-led weaning. might also be baby-lead weaning. it's a great (and easy) process.

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                            • #15
                              not "teeny" pieces. the kid needs to be able to hold onto it and pull it out if she gags. so, long strips to gum down. the nutrition mostly comes from breast milk at this point. you don't need purees.

                              my boy was always 90th for height, 10th for weight -- but strong and sturdy always. He still is, at age 3. very healthy, very strong, very tall, very talkative, etc.

                              he never had purees (other than what is normally pureed).

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