It is a known fact that mothers crave a variety of food ranging from pickles to chocolates and ice cream during their pregnancy. However, it has been observed that even new mothers exhibit postpartum cravings as well.
It is a known fact that mothers crave a variety of food ranging from pickles to chocolates and ice cream during their pregnancy. Many people think that these cravings disappear after childbirth. However, that may not be true always. It has been observed that even new mothers exhibit postpartum cravings as well.
The problem of food cravings is seen more among women as compared to men. Many women who are expecting babies go through these food cravings. It is usually attributed to certain hormonal changes, which the body of a woman goes through1.
Why do women who recently gave birth crave certain foods?
Night sleep gets frequently disturbed after a woman becomes a mom of a baby. Lack of adequate sleep not only affects the quality of sleep but also its quantity. Deprivation from sleep disrupts the new mom's decision-making abilities, as well as, increases her wish to eat, talk, and drink, among other things.
When there are alterations in the activity of her brain, it increases her craving for unhealthy foods. Most new moms crave mostly fatty foods and sweets typically during breastfeeding their little ones. Craving is associated with alterations in brain activity because of her little one’s requirement for milk.
However, moms at postpartum should simply enjoy their food and eat well. They should include different types of foods from different food groups. Such postpartum care can come in handy for meeting nutritional requirements and inculcate a feeling of satisfaction. It can also help to control their cravings as well.
The psychological as well as the biological reasons behind these cravings.
There are certain food items, which may trigger a chemical reaction in the new mom’s body. These food items will further increase her cravings for them. Also, when moms eat fatty or food high in sugar, their bodies produce opioids. These make their desire to have such food items even more. For instance, food items like chocolate have ingredients, which can start the creation of mood-enhancing chemicals in the human brain. Such food items can create a sense of euphoria.
Studies have pointed out that several breastfeeding mothers expressed their food cravings after their childbirth. They also reported their cravings during their entire breastfeeding period2. New moms not only have food cravings, but many of them also have thirst cravings. That is because every time the little one suckles, nerve impulses transmit a signal to the brain. The signal releases oxytocin and makes the mother thirsty.
Are these cravings normal?
It is absolutely common to have food cravings for new moms, particularly in many women who are breastfeeding their little ones. The good news is that such cravings do not typically last long. Also, if one can wait for these cravings out, they may even disappear. However, when the craving refuses to disappear, moms can try out healthier diets as an alternative. After all, the food they eat not only affects their health but also their baby’s well-being.
The solution to this problem is to have regular meals so that hunger can be tamed. Also, these women should keep their energy levels high so that the cravings can be fought off. For instance, when you eat more, you will feel more ready for breastfeeding.
Experts recommend having a protein and fiber-rich diet at postpartum. Women should also keep them properly hydrated throughout the day to meet their fluid and dietary requirements.
Other than the food, what do new moms crave postpartum?
A majority of postpartum cravings can be extremely harmless. It has been often observed that a new mother feels better emotionally as well as, physically when indulging in such cravings. Additionally, even when new moms crave food, there is no harm in indulging in moderation. Many people will support that the diet that satiates a woman's emotional and nutritional requirements is the best one.
Cravings apart from food may include wines, bubble baths, a night out, going on vacations, and having a full-time nanny. Such tiny pleasures can come in handy to make your postpartum period feel smoother. These cravings may also vary based on geographical locations. Several women want to get back to their pre-pregnancy figures as soon as possible.
Studies show that many new mothers crave proper sleep at night than anything else. It is hardly surprising as she hardly gets to sleep much during the first fortnight or even for months after the birth of her baby.
In case you find that food cravings are affecting your health and are uncontrollable, it makes sense to approach professional help. Not only food but even nonfood cravings can have a negative impact on your mental or physical health. When left unattended, these cravings can affect your social relationships or family.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Sara Gale
Sara loves traveling and exploring new places with her family. She is mom to 2 lovely children and loves bringing them out on adventures.