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Boost Your Post-Baby Mood: Unleash the Power of Happy Hormones


Becoming a new parent is a beautiful and life-changing experience, but it also comes with its unique set of challenges. From sleepless nights to adjusting to a new routine, the postnatal period can be emotionally and physically demanding.

In this blog post, we explore the world of "Happy Hormones" – Serotonin, Endorphins, Oxytocin, and Dopamine – and how they can impact how we feel postnatally and indeed all the way through parenthood.

More importantly, we will delve into nutrition and lifestyle strategies to boost these hormones and enhance your mood and overall well-being.

While this blog post is focused on mood boosting for new mothers, the takeaways and recommendations are truly universal, so I hope each one of you will find some nuggets of wisdom in here.

Happy Hormones: Mood Swings

Understanding "Happy Hormones" and Their Impact

I. Serotonin: “The Mood Stabiliser”

Serotonin, often referred to as the "feel-good" hormone, plays a vital role in regulating mood. During the postnatal period, hormonal changes can negatively impact serotonin levels, potentially leading to mood swings and feelings of anxiety.

Boosting Serotonin Through Nutrition and Lifestyle

Gut-Loving Foods

Your gut bacteria manufacture about 95% of the body’s supply of serotonin! (1). To boost serotonin, it's essential to focus on a nutrient-dense, whole food diet, which supports a healthy gut microbiome. Pre-biotic fibre-rich foods found in wholegrains, legumes, and vegetables nourish your gut microbes, providing the building blocks for serotonin production. Probiotic-rich foods, such as kefir, kimchi, kombucha and sauerkraut, can help you maintain a balanced gut microbiome.

Stress Reduction

Stress management is a key component of enhancing serotonin levels. The elevated cortisol induced by stress increases serotonin depletion in the body. (2) Incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily routine, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yin yoga classes, and mindfulness practices.


II. Endorphins: “The Pain Killer”

Endorphins are your body's natural painkillers and they also act as mood boosters. Endorphins help alleviate stress and promote feelings of happiness. The postnatal phase can be physically challenging, and a new mother’s body releases endorphins to help her through labour and recovery. However, when this temporary surge normalises again, feeling of blues might set in.

Enhancing Endorphins Through Exercise and Activities

Exercise and Endorphin Release

Physical exercise, especially the aerobic type, is a powerful tool for triggering the release of endorphins. Incorporate post-baby exercise routines, such as more intense yoga practices, brisk walks, or swimming, to experience the mood-boosting effects of endorphins. Exercise reduces levels of the body's stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol (3). Endorphins are responsible for the "runner's high" and for the feelings of relaxation and optimism that accompany many hard workouts.


III. Oxytocin: "The Love Hormone"

Known as the "love hormone," oxytocin plays a crucial role in bonding, trust, and well-being. During the postnatal period, the birth of your baby triggers oxytocin release, strengthening the bond between you and your little one. However, like endorphins, these hormones tend to decline in the months after birth.

Fostering Oxytocin Through Bonding and Connection

The Importance of Bonding

Mother-baby bonding is a unique and precious experience that stimulates oxytocin release. Spend quality time with your baby through cuddles, skin-to-skin contact, and eye-to-eye interactions. These actions not only enhance bonding but also elevate your mood. You can achieve a similar impact from hugging a loved one or cuddling with your furry friends.

Social Support

Social connections are another avenue for boosting oxytocin. Reach out to friends and family for support and connection. Building a strong support network can help alleviate feelings of isolation and promote well-being, in addition to providing an increase in oxytocin.


IV. Dopamine: "The Reward Chemical"

Dopamine is your body's reward and motivation hormone. It's responsible for feelings of accomplishment and pleasure. After giving birth, dopamine levels may fluctuate due to the various responsibilities and adjustments that come with motherhood. Dopamine is a double-edged sword, because some people can be drawn to pursue it using harmful approaches like drugs, gambling, excessive shopping, etc.

Achieving Dopamine Release Through Accomplishments

Setting and Achieving “Goals”

Setting achievable post-baby “goals” helps stimulate dopamine release. The term “goals” can rub people the wrong way at times. Don’t worry, I mean it in the lightest sense possible. Celebrate small accomplishments, whether it's completing a household task, starting a new project, or reaching a personal milestone.

For sustained dopamine levels, try to focus on such productive endeavours instead of falling into the trap of “empty” dopamine hits from scrolling social media, shopping, and Netflix binging. Remember that self-compassion is key during this phase; be kind to yourself and avoid setting unrealistic expectations.


As a parent, nurturing your emotional well-being is vital. Understanding the role of "Happy Hormones" and how they are impacted postnatally can empower you to take charge of your mood and overall happiness. By incorporating nutrition and lifestyle strategies that boost serotonin, endorphins, oxytocin, and dopamine, you can navigate the challenges of the postnatal period with confidence and grace. Remember, you've embarked on an incredible journey, and self-care is an essential part of it.

How to Get Support in Your Post-Baby Journey

As a Health Coach, and a mother of three young children myself, I fully understand the struggles and the joys of parenthood. It's a constant work-in-progress. I find that taking time to reflect and make tweaks to my approach continue supporting my health and well-being. I translate this approach to supporting my clients in navigating lifestyle choices to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.

If you are feeling like your health isn't where it's supposed to be, and you want to make a change, but you don't have the time or energy, getting the support of a Health Coach could be the answer. Health coaching provides the support and accountability you need to translate your good intentions into tangible actions that become second nature.

Take your first “no-regrets” step and book a complimentary 30 mins health review with me here:

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