You’ve spent the last forty weeks preparing for your little one to arrive. Now that you’re home and caring for your baby, be sure to take time for yourself.
Here are ten tips to a balanced, and healthy life post child birth:
Having a newborn is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week job, but you still need to get the proper amount of rest. How could this be possible? Sleep whenever you can! Sleep when your baby sleeps, this means drop all chores, put away all distractions, and get some shut eye. During the first few days at home limit the number of visitors. Although you’ll likely be overwhelmed with family members and friends anxious to meet baby, this is a time to rest and bond with your newborn. Try to share the nighttime baby duties with your partner. If you’re bottle feeding, switch off turns with your partner. If you’re breastfeeding, have your partner take over nighttime diaper changing responsibilities (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2014).
Staying healthy after a C-section can vary slightly from those who delivered vaginally. The first step is to get up and get moving, to help speed up the recovery time, as well as prevent constipation and blood clots. Make sure to drink a lot of fluids to replace the fluids lost during your C-section. Support your abdomen with pillows while you’re breast feeding. Lastly, don’t be nervous to take pain relieving medication. Most of these medications are not harmful for breast-feeding mothers (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2015).
Exercise After Pregnancy
Exercise can alleviate some of the not so great new mom symptoms by boosting your energy, relieving stress, and promoting better sleep. If you had a vaginal delivery without any complications, you should be able to start exercising just a few days after delivery. It’s important to remember to start slowly! Going outside for a walk once a day is a great start to improving your physical and mental health. Make sure you stay hydrated! Wear an extra supportive bra, if you’re nursing you may want one with pads in case of leaking. With your newborn occupying most of your time finding the time to work out may be difficult. Try to find the time by asking for support from loved ones, or even consider taking your newborn along with you for a walk (womenshealth.gov, 2017).
Diet After Pregnancy
Whether you’re breastfeeding or not, all new mothers need a balanced diet. Many new moms want to lose weight immediately, but this is not healthy for you or your newborn. Along with getting rest, and exercising, your diet can play a big role in providing you with energy. To ensure what you eat powers you through the day, include lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, leafy greens, and foods rich in iron, and vitamin C. With your newborn around, you’ll likely be short on time, so keep your meals simple. If you’re nursing, make sure to increase your fluid intake - water, milk, and fruit juices are all great choices (Moody, 2015).
Beating the baby blues
It’s perfectly normal to feel down after childbirth. A combination of changing hormones, anxiety, and sleepless nights can take you on an emotional rollercoaster. However, it’s important to know that these sad feelings typically go away within two weeks of delivery. If they last any longer, you should see your doctor immediately. Postpartum depression is a common and treatable condition; however, it’s serious. As a new mom, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms of postpartum depression, which include: (womenshealth.gov, 2017)
- Sad, depressed feelings
- Excessive worry about the baby
- No interest in the baby
- No interest in, or receiving no pleasure from previously enjoyed activities
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Your plate is going to be completely full with new mom responsibilities. It’s OK to ask for help from your partner, family, or friends. This is exactly the job your support system is there to do - support you. It does not make you a weak, or bad mom; in fact asking for help when you need it can help you become a stronger person and mom (Stanford Children’s Health).
Join a support group for new moms
Even if you have a strong support group with your partner, family, and friends, a group filled with women going through the exact same experiences as you can be uplifting in a different way. These women are sharing the same feelings, problems, and joyful moments as you, and through that may understand how you’re feeling. These groups are available online or in person. These groups are a place to get advice, air your frustrations, reduce stress, share laughs, and gain strength.
Join a support group for new moms to get advice, air out your frustrations, reduce stress, share laughs, and gain strength.
Create reasonable expectations for yourself
Set yourself a manageable pace. You may not be able to keep the house as spotless as it was prior to the baby and that is perfectly alright. As a new mom, your priority is solely on eating, sleeping, and caring for baby. Your health and the baby’s health is all that is important! Don’t push yourself into being productive around the house or getting work done before you’re truly ready.
Meditation is a beneficial practice for everyone, but especially for those with newborns. It can be done anywhere for as long or as little amount of time as you desire! The flexibility of meditating is key for those with newborns. Meditating provides moms with a time to unwind. It helps to manage emotions, which may be all over the place with your hormonal changes. Meditating connects you to the present by reducing distractions making you more mentally available for your baby. Working meditation into your everyday routine is a great way to keep yourself mentally healthy (ecoinstitute.org, 2017).
Take time for yourself
Don’t forget about you! Many moms try to focus all their energy and time into their baby, this is not fair to you. You need to be healthy for your baby which means you need to take time for yourself. Your mental health is equally as important as your physical health. Stay connected with your friends and see them at times other than when they are visiting you and the baby. Take time to go out with your partner, just the two of you. Run errands by yourself and maybe sneak in a treat for yourself while you’re out.
Having a baby is hard work, make sure to take care of yourself after baby is born to ensure you are healthy for your new bundle of joy!