New babies can be the harbingers of so much love, joy, and forgetfulness. Yep, the “mummy brain” struggle is real! Sometimes referred to as “mumnesia”, “preggy brain”, and “baby brain”, “mummy brain” makes it hard to remember the details of your everyday life and, sometimes, even put together comprehensive sentences.
SYMPTOMS OF “MUMMY BRAIN”?
Overall, you just feel foggy. You may start to feel limited in your abilities, just a little bit ditsy, somewhat frazzled, and generally as though your emotions are having their way with you.
During these transitional stages, your brain is overburdened with hormones. Scientists haven’t been able to agree yet about which hormones exactly are to be held responsible for the dreaded “mummy brain” fog. But it’s obvious that the changes you are experiencing are heavily motivated by your hormones.
If you are experiencing some of these symptoms, you might have “mummy brain”:
- Insomnia or difficulty falling and staying asleep
- Inability to remember simple phrases or the names of common objects.
- Frequently losing your train of thought
- Inability to focus on logical tasks
- A general feeling of “brain fog” throughout the entire day
- Constantly losing objects (like, you literally just had them!)
- Inability to remember important names, dates, and times
WHAT TRIGGERS “MUMMY BRAIN”?
As a new mummy, your brain’s top priority is your new baby. It undergoes an entire re-wiring process that makes everything except your baby seem like a frivolous luxury. Things that used to critically require your undivided attention are no longer of any consequence compared to your baby. In addition, these changes also provide an insight into the total intensity of maternal attachment.
- Sleep Deprivation
Yeah, you used to sleep. Not anymore! Now, you are only allowed to half-sleep. You have to be ready to wake at the slightest peep in case your new little one needs you. This is a huge contributor to the dark fogginess that is “mummy brain”.
On top of all of the stress of being a new parent, or a repeat parent with a new baby, you have to deal with the added the stress of “mummy brain”. It’s a vicious cycle! Take some time to yourself, when you can, and take a relaxing bath… or maybe a nap!
As a parent, this is a good skill to have! It can become very overwhelming, though. At times, you may need to slow down. If you can, focus on and complete one task at a time. It will help you to feel calm, collected, and accomplished.
CONQUERING “MUMMY BRAIN”
Research is showing us that the “mummy brain” fogginess could last for almost an entire year after the baby is born. Don’t worry, though! There is a light at the end of this tunnel. Many women have started to experience at least some signs of recovery once they have adjusted to their new lives. Getting more of that coveted, yet evasive, sleep (if you can) will also help!
- Proper Nutrition
Enhance your memory by ensuring that you have sufficient amount of certain nutrients like zinc, vitamin B-12, folic acid, and, most importantly, iron.
Eat foods like these which are rich in iron:
- Spirulina: A blue-green algae recognized worldwide for its powerful flavor. It is also a phenomenal source of essential amino acids, protein, vitamins C, D, and E, as well as the B vitamins.
- Liver: Beef liver (preferably organic) is a great and tasty source of iron. It also contains folate and vitamin B-12 – another helpful vitamin in conquering “mummy brain”!
- Lentils: Affordable and super versatile, you can make a ton of great dishes full of protein and iron!
- Spinach: Is chock-full of iron and a ton of other essential nutrition.
- Pistachios: A totally healthy snack with awesome nutritional benefits. These guys have an abundance of iron, vitamin B6, thiamine, and copper, in a single ounce.
- Raisins: Along with figs and prunes, raisins are a great fruit source of iron.
To increase absorption of iron, pair iron-rich foods with vitamin-C-rich foods, like peppers. Additionally, cooking iron-rich foods in cast-iron pots will actually release some of their iron.
Note: Calcium inhibits iron absorption.
Aside from iron, most pregnant women don’t get nearly enough omega-3s in their diet. Docosahexaenoic acid is a critically necessary omega-3 fatty acid that is depleted as a result of pregnancy and breastfeeding. Also called DHA, it is responsible for about 15% of the total fatty acids in the brain, and it plays a hugely significant role in how neuron signals are sent and received.
Be sure to incorporate some of these DHA rich foods into your diet to conquer “mummy brain”:
- Chia Seeds
- Salmon Fish Oil
- Egg Yolks
- Hemp Seeds
- Cod Liver Oil
Having your brain at its best and working at optimum capacity is imperative, whether you are a stay or work at home mum, or a mum who works outside the home. By utilizing proper nutrition to clear your brain of the dreaded “mummy brain” fog, you will also improve your emotional well being, your resiliency against stress, boost your immune system and even reduce your anxiety levels.