This question gets asked quite a bit in natural health circles, and I personally searched for this information when I was nursing my son. Once you start learning about how toxic we are and how we can pass toxins to our babies (whether in utero or in breast milk), you want to know as much as you can to keep your child healthy. Unfortunately, there are precautions about many detoxes while pregnant or nursing because we do not want to stir up any stored toxins- we want to just support the body gently to prevent detox from getting too sluggish.
Our First Priority should be to NOURISH
Pregnancy and breastfeeding are both VERY hard on the body. We have to create and grow a whole new person. This requires calories, fat, protein, vitamins, minerals and more. A majority of women go into pregnancy with a nutritional deficit as it is so by the time they are about to wean their child from breastfeeding, they are even more depleted. Postpartum depletion is a real thing and it can last for up to ten years after having a child!
The more nourished we are, the healthier our children will be. The more nourished we are, the easier it is for our bodies to focus on things like detox and weight loss. Postpartum depression happens when our bodies are extremely undernourished or imbalanced.
So, how do we stay nourished?
- Nutrient Dense Foods- Fruits, vegetables; full fat foods like butter, ghee, and coconut oil; organic/grass-fed whole milk dairy products; fermented foods; eggs; grass-fed meat; beef liver every so often if you can handle it! The WAPF has a great basis for a real foods diet
- Herbal Infusions– Nettles and Red Raspberry leaf are the 2 best herbs fro pregnancy and nursing. Nettle infusions are full of vitamin K, iron, copper, magnesium and calcium, and they help the kidneys, liver, and adrenals. Red Raspberry leaf is a well-known uterine tonic and helps to keep hormones balanced, especially after birth. Nettles especially help with adrenal support, but you can also do BioRay’s Loving Energy during both pregnancy and nursing as well (check their cool chart out to see what is ok for specific health concerns here!).
- Focus on Gut Health– we need sufficient stomach acid and bile to digest a lot of our nutrients and to take care of nasty things like bacteria and parasites. Using either a probiotic or eating fermented foods is essential as well. Constipation is extremely common while pregnant or breastfeeding so we have to try and keep things moving!
- Stay Hydrated! Try to drink as much filtered or spring water as you want, as well as herbal infusions. Depending on your personal needs you may be able to use Salt water Sole and coconut water as well, to help sodium and potassium balance.
What Else Can we do for Detox?
- Stress Management- yes I can only imagine the eye rolls I will get on this one! There is nothing more stressful than a newborn child. I understand, trust me. But if you are a first time mom, the best advice I can give you is this- “you cannot pour from an empty cup.” You have to find ways to relax, especially those first few months postpartum. Take whatever help people offer and more importantly, ASK for help when you need it. Rest when you can- the cleaning can wait, seriously. Find something that you love to do and do it everyday, even it is only for 5 minutes. Read, watch funny videos on YouTube, talk to a friend. Try yoga, buteyko breathing, or EFT This is probably the hardest thing to do- but it is important to find the best way to manage stress otherwise it will have a negative effect on your body.
- Dry Skin Brushing– This is an easy, gentle, and safe way to support detox. It helps to keep the skin free and helps the lymph flow.
- And of course- HTMA! Making sure that your minerals are balanced is one of the most important things to do for your health. Pregnancy and nursing depletes us of all of our nutrients and it is easier to know our personal deficiency levels in order to properly treat ourselves. Read more about HTMA here.