Transcript: Tips on Holistic Nutrition For Postpartum Moms

This is a text transcript from The First Time Mum’s Chat podcast. The episode is called Tips on Holistic Nutrition for Postpartum Moms and you can click on the link to view the full episode page, listen to the episode and view the show notes.

When you’re postpartum, it’s important to continue being mindful of what you are eating since you’ve also got your little one’s health to consider.

It’s also important to be alert and constantly on the look out for evidence of any allergies or problems so that you can adjust your diet if needed to suit your baby.

In this episode, I speak with Nava Simkah a certified holistic health and nutrition coach, maternity coach and massage therapist who had some great tips and insights on nutrition for new moms. You’ll also hear tips on how to help them when they are experiencing problems such as bloating, diarrhea and constipation.

Helen Thompson: Hi Nava and welcome to First Time Mum’s Chat. I’m delighted to have you here because I have a passion for natural remedies because I teach baby massage and I really love natural remedies. So can we just start by you telling me what you’re passionate about.

Nava Simkah: Sure, so my name is Nava Simkah, and I’m very, very passionate about holistic remedies and taking care of our bodies in the best way possible. So usually what I help people do is to build simplified plans, so that way, whatever their health goals are whether it’s getting off of medications or weight management. I help them to build a plan that isn’t reliant on products or workout videos. Just something that’s easy to follow, regardless of if they have three babies, just one baby, little babies or older children, and we make it work for them.

Helen Thompson: That sounds amazing. Cause I’m a great believer in what we put into our body is really important. So good to eat healthy and understand, particularly nausea for a mum who’s maybe having morning sickness and what we can help our bodies to do, to relieve that nausea naturally, rather than going to the doctor and them giving us drugs.

So have you got any tips on that?

Nava Simkah: Yes, so my favorite go-to is peppermint and ginger but fresh. A lot of people go for the dried herbs, which is not bad at all, but the fresher, you have more of the properties in there, and then you’re getting it at its peak of nutrition, which I love. So usually what I’ll recommend moms to do is just to make a really nice tea and you can even mix the two and add a little lemon, and it’s a refreshing drink that really helps with the nausea and getting that hydration in as well as getting more magnesium in your body. So mangoes, watermelon, those kinds of fruits will really help to bring down the nausea, but make your body feel so much better.

Helen Thompson: Yeah, magnesium’s good. I know that it helps to get your body re-energized, it helps your bones and it helps your muscles.

Nava Simkah: Yes it’s wonderful after a workout, especially, when you’ve got a lot of that lactic acid buildup in your muscles taking that it’s wonderful.

Helen Thompson: Yeah and I love ginger tea and when I get a cold, I make myself a concoction of lemon and ginger and honey tea and I sometimes put a bit of tyme in it as well and that really helps.

Nava Simkah: In the states it’s not a common herb that you buy every day in the kitchen. It’s available, but you just don’t think about it.

Helen Thompson: So you mentioned mint and peppermint tea. How would you make tea with fresh peppermint, cause I’ve got stacks in my garden and if it helps with nausea and sickness for a first time mom, I’d be curious to know how to make that.

Nava Simkah: Yeah, so it’s actually very simple, as you know, boiling the water and you literally just put the leaves in there. In Israel, when they typically serve their teas, they just have the fresh leaves floating around in there. And it’s a really beautiful glass cup that you would have. But you just leave a little bit or let it steep long enough so that the oils can come out.

And then if you would like, you could add some honey to it, or I like to add a little bit of maple syrup or coconut sugar, because it’s a lower glycaemic sweetener, but it’s delicious. And so, yeah, that’s how I like to do it.

Helen Thompson: That sounds intriguing. I might try that because I’ve got stack of mint in the garden. So, I know you said you’ve got lots of natural remedies for so many different topics and so many different things but I’m thinking more of the babies. The moms who have got babies and the moms who might need help with their babies, who’ve got diarrhea and things like that. So what sort of natural remedies would you recommend for those kinds of things?

Nava Simkah: So with a baby with diarrhea, first things first, making sure that they have plenty of fluids. Cause sometimes that’s linked to dehydration, but then if the mother is still nursing, giving them that breast milk and making sure that they’re staying away from any allergens.

So like dairy, for example, cows milk tends to be an inflammatory. So trying to keep them away from that and then with kids, bananas, rice, apples, toast that is one quick way to help them they’ll eat those things and it helps stop the diarrhea.

Cause the main thing is most of the time it’s dehydration with the babies, but if they’re really not feeling good and it’s not dehydration, it could be greasy foods, or it’s just too much fiber in their food. So making sure that they’re having something that is solid in there. So maybe it’s like some potatoes or something like that.

And then also with sugar if the baby has too much sugar, cause I know a lot of kid drinks nowadays, they tend to put more sugar than necessary, that can cause a child to have diarrhea. So you really don’t want them to have any more sugar while they’re doing that. Just flushing your system completely is key.

Helen Thompson: So I’m thinking of what can a mom who’s breastfeeding eat to support their baby’s whole body nutrition? So they help their baby get good nutrition all round.

Nava Simkah: So with new mothers nursing their baby, first things first, if the baby is showing signs of discomfort, it could be that something the mother is eating is may cause an allergic reaction to the baby. So keeping track of what she’s eating. Really realize what’s going on with the baby. For example, I can not eat raw Medallia onions with our four month old baby. It gives him gas completely. But fruits and vegetables are key to helping that baby get exactly what they need. In the morning, you want to have the fruit and they’ll start just to give you and the baby energy. And then at night you want to start with a little more of the, not so sweet vegetables that really helps out. And that just gives that balance and being careful of foods that cause gas within the baby. So that way baby’s not feeling uncomfortable.

And then if you’re noticing that then using anise oil will help just to relax the tummy for bloating and diarrhea and constipation. Those kinds of things within the baby.

Helen Thompson: That sounds good because I think a lot of moms don’t quite know what to eat for themselves, because, you mentioned cow’s milk as well. I know from my childcare background that you’re not supposed to actually give babies cow’s milk until they’re at least 12 months old.

Yes and that is correct, but some mothers, they don’t know that information or they think, okay, well maybe this is okay because it’s soft, maybe starting the solids.

So understanding that, but also understanding that if you’re ingesting that in your system, the effects of it still can reach your baby. So being mindful of that, that if you have a history of family members who are allergic to it, or have a bad reaction to it, lactose intolerant, you want to be careful about eating it because you don’t know what your baby is experiencing and allergies that may form.

You’ve got kids yourself haven’t you?

Nava Simkah: Yes, we have four children, 9, 6, 2 and four months.

Helen Thompson: So from your own experience with your four months old, particularly because that’s the sort of age range we’re talking about, what kind of things are you doing to support your baby with breastfeeding and everything? From your own experience.

Nava Simkah: So what I do every day is I make sure that I get enough water. I cannot stress that enough. So first thing in the morning, I cleanse my system with two cups of water. I try to get about 16 ounces right away, and then from there I try to stay within fruits in the morning, fruits and vegetables in the afternoon, vegetables in the evening.

And I just continue getting water and tea throughout the day. The tea provides extra herbs, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that the baby needs as well as other peeling properties, depending on the tea that I’m drinking. As well as with the water flushing my system and then understanding the fruits and vegetables and what they provide. The type of energy, the type of nutrition.

As well as I take stuff for immunity support. So whether it’s elderberry or colloidal silver, making sure that I’m getting those antibiotics, the natural ones, obviously. So that way it sets my body up to help protect the baby because we are the baby’s defense immune system as of right now as you’re building up. So that’s what I typically do.

I try to just focus on how can I best serve him and I don’t drink any caffeine during this timeframe because it does affect the baby in many different ways, that is not the best way possible. I try to be careful what type of sugar that I have because when you have cane sugar, it lowers your immune system for at least four hours and I don’t want that to affect my baby who’s building his immune system. So these are things that I work on to be mindful about.

Helen Thompson: That’s interesting, you talk about cane sugar because it’s something that I’ve cut out of my diet completely. I just have coconut sugar and natural maple syrup. Not the maple syrup you get in a supermarket, but there’s the pure Canadian maple syrup, which is very good.

Nava Simkah: It is. My father-in-law he taps trees and he’ll send us stuff down every now and then when he loved it. And then we’re going to get into tapping trees down here in the area that we’re at, but pure maple syrup grade B has more of the nutrients in it than grade A so I highly recommend people that they get the grade B, but whatever you can find, as long as it’s real maple syrup, it has wonderful properties that it’s definitely worth having.

Helen Thompson: So have you’ve got any other tips? I do baby message as you know and when a baby’s teething, I can do certain massage techniques that can help them with teething. Naturally, what kind of things would you recommend for a baby who’s teething? From a food angle, is there anything that you’d recommend for a kid if they’re having trouble with teething and their gums are sore and they just want to suck on something.

Nava Simkah: So when it comes to teething, there isn’t a whole lot of natural things that they can eat. You really just want to keep cool things for them, you know? So there are some beautiful teething rings that are non-toxic BPA free, that you can just put in the refrigerator and then let it get cool and let them chew on that. And then camomile and lavender use topically, it really helps just help them to calm down when they’re teething. And then just the mild sedative effects they’re non-toxic but it gives that baby that soothing thing.

Now, if you want to try, you could do a drop of clove oil as long as it’s food grade clove oil and put it on their gums, cause that will give it a numbing sensation. But you want to be very careful because it can taste weird, so babies can be fussy. And then if your family, even though it’s rare, if your family has an allergen to clove, you want to be careful about using that, but it can help when you put it right on the gums topically.

Helen Thompson: I’ve heard so many pros and cons about Amber necklaces. Some parents have told me that they’re great they really, really loved them and other parents have said, oh no, it didn’t work for my baby. It’s a very interesting topic because sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t from what I’m picking up.

Nava Simkah: I agree and I think it’s where you get them from, what kind of Amber. This is something that I haven’t fully dug into to know completely the science to be honest, but it’s very intriguing. Cause I noticed that a lot of parents where you’ll see, for example, I’ll see like the lighter Amber necklaces and those are the parents that I see, they’re like, okay, this works wonderful where the darker ones, I haven’t heard much of anything. So it seems like there might be a correlation in the type of Amber but I would have to do more research on that.

Helen Thompson: Yeah, I’m sort of thinking of the baby sucking the necklace and if it’s safe. Those are just my own personal feelings on it. I’m not saying I don’t like them. I’m not saying they don’t work, but I’m sort of thinking more of the safety aspect for the baby, because if they’re sucking on something and pulling on something, they could swallow and I’m a little bit cautious.

Nava Simkah: And that’s completely understandable. From what I’ve noticed, a lot of babies don’t even bother it or notice it’s there that is there, but I never see a baby pulling on it, but I do understand the safety aspect of it. Because if you do have a very curious baby who could pull on it, the beads, it can pop and then they can put them in their mouth potentially choke. So it’s really understanding your child and where they are. For our children, we have not used the Amber beads, not particularly for that reason, but they just, honestly, they just been troopers like, so we just didn’t think about it.

And then we see it, hey, Amber necklace! So I like clove oil, camomile, lavender. Those are things that I know is safe and it works really well.

Helen Thompson: When I’m teaching baby massage, I encourage parents not to use essential oils unless they’ve been certified by aromatherapists. I think essential oils are great but I think it’s something to say to moms, you’re welcome to use essential oils, but just be cautious when you do. You don’t know what’s in them and also they’re very strong as well, and they have a very strong scent for the baby, and I think they need to smell you and they need to have your touch rather than too much of the essential oil.

Nava Simkah: And you’re correct. The fact that, especially when they’re younger, you want to be very, very careful with essential oils and what you’re using. So getting that education from an aromatherapist to say, okay, this can be used and how to dilute it properly. And then making sure it’s the right grade of essential oil is key.

So the safest thing that I like to recommend that I know that everyone can do, it’s just giving the baby something cool, that’s safe, to chew on their gums. And then also, honestly, if you wash your hands. I know my hands are clean and so it helps him to just get that relief. So if you’re willing to nurse your baby, that’s something that we’ve done that’s worked really well and helped him to feel just at ease. Cause he’s cutting his first tooth right now and our girls were the same way.

Helen Thompson: How old did you say your son was, four months?

Nava Simkah: So yes he’s four months.

Helen Thompson: That seems to be quite young to get your first tooth coming in. But every baby is different. It comes when they’re ready.

Nava Simkah: Our children have cut at four months. Every last one. Yeah, just early.

Helen Thompson: So are there any other tips that you’d like to share? We’ve mentioned nausea, we’ve mentioned the teething, we mentioned diarrhea.

Nava Simkah: So when it comes to nutrition I host a class for mommies to help them really bounce back after having the baby and understanding how to get their body in the nutritional shape to give the baby the best nutrition that they need. And so what we do is that we do a, I hate to use the word detox because of the fact that it has a commercial connotation, but really what it is, it’s a lifestyle change that is slow and steady because there’s a difference between detox and cleanse. You know, people think of a detoxes, that’s really a cleanse. Whereas a detox is something that’s a complete lifestyle change dealing with fruits, vegetables, herbs, and water. Now, very simple, nothing harmful, no crazy amount of herbs that will cause harm to you or your baby.

So in the program, what we do is that we just go step by step from cleaning out the cabinets from junky food to start adding new foods in that are healthy, seeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables, those kinds of things. And we just really go through the process so the whole family can be on board and it helps the mom to have the best health that they could possibly have and meet their weight goals and get back to their pre-baby weight, but then also helping the baby ensure that they have all the nutrients they need through the best milk and through, just mom giving the baby exactly the foods, you know, learning how to make the foods for the baby. That’s something that we include in that program,

Helen Thompson: With learning how to make food for babies, a lot of moms go out to supermarkets and buy pureed food and I know it’s an easy way of quickly giving your baby food, but to me, they’re full of sugar and you don’t know what preservatives are in there. So, there are quick ways of pureeing food. You don’t have to go to the supermarket to do that. I know you can puree broccoli, pumpkin puree and just give it to your baby.

So, just puree the food for your baby, that you’re giving your family and it doesn’t have to be pureed either.

Nava Simkah: Yes, that’s exactly right. When it comes down to it, we usually give our children exactly what we’re eating. So we have sweet potato, baby will have sweet potato too. And then usually once we know that they don’t have any allergies, we’ll add a little bit of cinnamon or something to just, it ups nutritional value, but it adds some additional flavor and it’s really affordable to do. It doesn’t cost much at all to make. It’s actually cheaper to make it, then it would to buy it in a jar and you’re getting the baby exactly what they need without extra toxins in their body.

Helen Thompson: And you know, what’s going into it as well, so, you know it’s safe. ‘Cause when I do baby led weaning with babies, I give them a bit of a mixture. Sometimes I just cook broccoli really, really soft and put a bit of broccoli on the plate or on the tray or I might give them a bit of tomato. I give them probably two or three different things to try and just let them suck it and let them play with it and if they don’t want to eat it, so be it. You’re giving them an opportunity to taste it and to suck it and they’re still getting the nutrients.

Nava Simkah: It’s wonderful to give them that variety. That’s the perfect way to do it. Just giving them a multiple variety of foods and letting them explore. Especially as they get older, they’re going to start to show you, okay, I don’t like this, I like this. Our two year old, she falls out when she doesn’t like something it’s very humorous to watch her just fall back in her chair.

Helen Thompson: You give them the choice when they’re young then you’re also encouraging them to enjoy food and giving them different things to try and if they don’t like it, well, that’s fine. They might like it the following week. They may not particularly like the broccoli, on the Tuesday, but if you give it to the following week, they might decide they like it.

Nava Simkah: Yes, kids they’re fickle in that way. They like it one day and next day they don’t and they come back. But that’s the beauty of childhood they had the opportunity to learn.

Helen Thompson: Yeah, I think so and I think giving them that opportunity to learn with natural stuff is so important because there’s so much out there that isn’t natural and I think to encourage children to eat naturally when they’re young, will be a good step for them when they get older, because they’ll bring their children up the natural way and teaching them when they’re young is really important.

And I think that’s what you’re good at With your Cause I’ve looked at your website and it is very good. You encourage the parents to do their natural way of doing things.

Nava Simkah: And that’s the way it should be, is all about focusing on the best way possible to love yourself, better self care, then also for your families as well. You’re building a better legacy for your family so that you’re not continuing poor eating habits that we’ve learned from our ancestors back. So really just being mindful of how we’re eating is key.

Helen Thompson: Yeah, I absolutely agree with you on that. I think that’s so important because a lot of moms don’t do that. And I think it’s so valuable to have somebody like you that can guide them in a natural way and support them in that way. So, to find out about what you do and to go on to one of your courses, how can they get in touch with you?

Nava Simkah: Sure, so you can find me at You can also find me on Instagram, Nava Simkah, that’s Nava Simkah. You can also find me on Facebook and loving my and I respond to every message, it is me. So come send me a message and I’ll be happy to talk with you.

Helen Thompson: Thank you. I’ve actually learned a lot today from you about natural remedies. As I said at the beginning, I’m very careful about what I put into my body holistically and yeah, I really support what you’re doing. So I hope that the moms listening to this will get a good insight of different ways they can do it and if they want to get in touch with you, they know how to do that.

Nava Simkah: Yes and I’m happy to serve. Thank you so much for having me, I appreciate it.

Helen Thompson: Well, likewise, I’ve enjoyed talking to you too.