Natural Remedies for Anxiety While Breastfeeding
If you have just had a baby and suffer from anxiety it can be difficult to know how to manage your mental health safely. Whilst a doctor will provide you with medical advice on what anxiety medication you can use we want to talk about natural remedies for anxiety while breastfeeding.
In the postpartum period, a new mother obviously wants to do what is best for their baby and if they are breastfeeding they want to make sure that whatever they are placing in their body are deemed safe. As therapists, we always advise our clients to talk to a health care professional, doctor or naturopathic doctor to understand if their anxiety medication or antidepressants are suitable for their situation. We do however have plenty of natural alternative treatment solutions for anxiety that can also be used and which may be a better option depending on your situation.
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Natural Remedies for Postpartum Anxiety
Our natural remedies for anxiety while breastfeeding are designed to offer an alternative choice to women who need support in this stressful period. When you have just given birth to a baby any treatment for anxiety symptoms needs to be safe for your baby as well as for yourself.
All anti-anxiety medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors have side effects. In fact, all prescription medications are not without risk albeit in most cases very small. Whilst anxiety medication may be suitable in some circumstances it is not always the first choice for postpartum women especially if their problems are only mild to moderate.
We like to help our clients by offering alternative and natural treatment ideas to help you when you are feeling anxious. It is worth pointing out that these can be used in conjunction with medication as well.
Here are some of our favourite remedies and resources for anxiety that can help to positively alter your mood and lower stress levels. Also, don’t forget to claim your free download below to help with natural anxiety reduction.
Postpartum Depression and Anxious Feelings
It is worth noting that anxiety and depression can be linked. Mild depressions and mood swings are not unusual in postpartum women. It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish where postnatal depression starts and anxiety begins because they can be so closely correlated.
It is always advisable to speak to your doctor when it comes to treating postpartum depression to get specialist information to help. Treating depression can of course be helped with complementary medicine but there are also other natural solutions such as cognitive behavioural therapy or interpersonal therapy that can help.
Your doctor should have information about local resources and therapists to help so that you can take the first step to recovery.
Breastfeeding Stress and Anxiety
One of the biggest reasons why anxiety can become problematic is because of too much stress. The lead up to any major life event is a stressor and having a baby certainly comes under that category. If the mother has also had to endure a complicated birth or C section that will obviously raise the stress further. Then add to that a pressure to breastfeed whilst already stressed and feeling tired or in pain and you have a perfect recipe for heightened anxiety.
Lowering areas of stress wherever possible is essential for anxiety reduction in the postpartum period. There are many ways that this can be done depending on each mothers situation.
Anxiety Support Whilst Breastfeeding
First of all, make sure that you get support from those around you to help you reduce anxiety. This support can come from your family, friends, partner or professionals such as a naturopathic doctor or therapist.
It is essential that you seek support for depression and anxiety because the sooner you get help the less time you will have to live with uncomfortable feelings such as the fight or flight response. Support comes in all shapes and sizes and most can create a positive effect and alleviate stress. A family member can help by cooking meals or tidying the house whilst a therapist can help to address unhelpful feelings with talking therapies. Each method of support of advice is valid and can be useful at lowering stress.
We offer therapy as a major support mechanism for our clients. Therapy is a great tool if you want to seek help for anxiety because it doesn’t just give you coping strategies for your problem but helps you to get to the very root of your problem. Addressing the root cause of an issue through therapy is often a more effective way of lowering anxiety symptoms than medication alone.
Exercise for Anxiety Reduction
If it is possible for you then getting outdoors and doing something exercise can be great for your mental health. There is no need to do something difficult or challenging instead walking is a great activity for stress relief.
Mindfulness can even be incorporated into your walking. Afoot and Lighthearted: A Journal for Mindful Walking Diary is a great tool to help you manage anxiety and postpartum depression with mindfulness tools and suggestions.
Sleep for Breastfeeding Mothers
Good sleep is essential for your mental health but of course, it is not always so easy to get after you have had a baby. This is why it is essential if you are a new mother to create routines to help. Routines can be useful at preventing your baby from walking so often disturbing your rest. They can also be useful for you to make sure that you get regular rest.
In addition where you have the opportunity make sure you try and find time for sleep where you can. Even if it is broken into smaller chunks it is better than no sleep.
New mothers with anxiety often suffer from hypervigilance meaning they are always listening out for the baby in case there is a problem. Use our self-hypnosis for sleep download to help relax and switch off your mind so you can rest.
Get Organized Before and After Having a Baby
A lack of organization can cause anxiety problems to increase. When you are trying to balance your life whilst looking after a baby and running a home it can be difficult to look after yourself or your health if everything is up in the air.
Being organized makes your life easier and once you have implemented some simple steps it can help make a significant difference to anxiety disorders.
Organization can involve having a tidy house, having meals pre-prepared for when you are busy or simply cleaning as you go so the house never becomes a mess. The Home Edit are experts in helping people to organize their life and you can read their books to get ideas to help yourself.
Self-Hypnosis for Postpartum Anxiety
Other natural remedies for anxiety while breastfeeding include self-hypnosis. Self-hypnosis is a great tool to use for postpartum anxiety because it is a really simple solution to help calm the mind and relax the body.
When you are anxious you feel on edge and worry about things that normally you wouldn’t even bother with. Your mind is being wired to look out for danger and that stops you from relaxing and uses a ton of energy. In order to calm the anxiety symptoms, you can use self-hypnosis to lull the mind into a quieter, calmer state.
Self-hypnosis has a cumulative impact which means that if you use it regularly it will have a greater impact than just using it once. Regular listening to self-hypnosis downloads is a fantastic way to stop the negative feelings or at least significantly lower them. Use our self-hypnosis for relaxation and stress reduction download to help.
Postpartum Anxiety Natural Treatment – Anxiety Supplements
Natural remedies for anxiety while breastfeeding also includes supplements and vitamins. There are plenty of supplements that can be used safely by mothers including omega-3 fatty acids.
A recent study showed that fish oil omega-3 fatty acid supplements lessened anxiety and mental health problems in a wide range of people. This supplement is easily available and actually advisable especially if you are not eating a lot of fish.
Probiotics are another great supplement you can use if you are breastfeeding. Again recent studies have shown that probiotics can help with good mental health. This is because of the gut-brain connection. The studies appeared to show that probiotics helped to boost mood as well as cognitive function which in turn helped to lower stress and anxiety.
Garden of Life Probiotic Supplement Capsules for Women are a great choice if you are looking for alternatives to anxiety medication.
There is also a link between people who suffer from anxiety and depression to a lack of vitamin d. Taking a vitamin d supplement can potentially make a difference.
Postpartum Mood Support Using Aromatherapy
Instead of anxiety medication, many people regularly use aromatherapy as a way of helping with problems such as postpartum depression and anxiety. The aromas from some essential oils are known to have a calming and stress-reducing impact helping to lower your heart rate and encouraging slower deep breathing.
Natural remedies for anxiety while breastfeeding can include essential oils but you need to make sure that what you choose is safe and doesn’t impact your milk or the baby. It is universally accepted that one of the safest essential oils to use is lavender oil which is known for its calming and stress-reducing impact. It is also a great essential oil to use if you want help getting to sleep as it helps to relax the mind.
Natural Remedies for Postpartum Depression – Use Mindfulness
Mindfulness is huge right now as it is a natural treatment for anxiety and depression that can make a difference. We have already discussed mindful walking but there are plenty of other mindfulness exercises that can be used to help calm an anxious mind.
The easiest way to learn mindfulness is with a self-help book such as Practicing Mindfulness: 75 Essential Meditations to Reduce Stress, Improve Mental Health, and Find Peace in the Everyday. This is a great book that has a wide range of meditations that you can use depending on how you feel.
We also love mindfulness cards as they are so simple to use once you have a grasp of mindfulness basics. All you need to do is pick a card from the pack and start practising the exercise on it.
Postpartum Depression and Anxiety – Use Meditation
Meditation is another great practice that helps to calm the mind and improve your mood. Again it is something that can be done just about anywhere. Finding time to meditate every day helps you to relax and take control over your thoughts rather than allowing them to control you.
Creating a meditation space in your home where you feel comfortable is a great solution. All you need is a quiet area in your home or garden that you can use for your meditation session. We have a guide to creating the perfect outdoor meditation space that you can use to help. For indoors think about buying a good meditation cushion that you can place in your home for you to use. Just remember regular practice will make the most difference to the way that you feel.
Postpartum Herbal Remedies for Anxiety
There are a number of herbal remedies that can potentially help with anxiety and depression. One of the most popular at the moment is Ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is known to have a calming effect on anxiety and can help to alleviate stress.
These Nature Made Ashwagandha Capsules are a great way of taking the herb and all you need is one capsule a day.
Chamomile is another great herb that is often used in tea to help promote relaxation and help people unwind especially before bedtime. We love this Bigelow Chamomile Tea which not only tastes good but has a wonderful relaxing smell as well. It is gluten-free, has zero calories and is Kosher. Just remember that when you are breastfeeding it is good to do things in moderation so never take anything in large amounts. One cup to soothe anxiety should be more than enough.
Finally, if you are looking for natural remedies for anxiety while breastfeeding then think about using a weighted blanket. Weighted blankets have become a phenomenon in the last couple of years with more and more people getting benefits from using such as a simple tool to create feelings of calm.
A weighted blanket is just a heavy blanket with glass beads in it that create heaviness. The weight of the blanket when you place it on you almost feels as if you are enveloped in one big hug. This appears to calm down the nervous system and helps you to feel more relaxed. This reduction in stress has a knock-on impact on any anxiety.
You can read our guide to weighted blankets for anxiety to discover more details about them and how to find a blanket weight that suits your body size. Our favourite is the YnM weighted blanket which comes in a grey colour.
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