Congratulations, new mom! You are now responsible for a new life — an amazing, adorable baby. Right now, your primary focus is probably their health. How much do they weigh? Are they eating enough? Have you given them the right amount of tummy time?
More than likely, you spend way more time thinking about your child’s health than your own. Raise your hand if that applies to you (your hand should probably be in the air, mom). It may not seem like it, but your own well-being is more important now than ever before. You need to take care of yourself so you can care for your precious bundle of joy.
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Here are some of our top new mom tips that’ll help you prioritize your health so both you AND your baby can thrive!
Find Your Rhythm
Before having a baby, you probably went to bed and woke up around the same time each day. You may have even had consistent meal breaks. Now, everything feels chaotic and like things will never be the same again.
Many new moms feel this way — you just need to find your new normal. During the first few weeks postpartum, your baby will start to develop a pattern for eating and sleeping. Once you have those figured out, you can begin plugging self-care into your spare moments.
Schedule Regular Health Visits
During one of those free chunks of time, go ahead and schedule your next health care appointments. While most moms make sure they don’t miss a single well-child visit, far fewer extend themselves the same courtesy.
Make your health a priority by having yearly visits to your gynecologist, primary care doctor, optometrist, dentist, and dermatologist. Keeping up with these appointments will help your providers catch any problems before they become more significant. You need to stay healthy to take care of your little one.
Try Meal Planning And Prep
After having a baby, your nutritional needs will be different, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist to see what changes you should make.
When you are sleep-deprived, cooking may take a back burner, so have a plan for getting the nutrients you and your baby need. Scheduling grocery or meal kit deliveries will help get healthy ingredients to your house. Ask a family member or friend to come over one night and help you prep your meals for a whole week. Then, not only will you get some socialization, but you’ll also have meals covered for the next seven days.
Ditch “All Or Nothing” Thinking
You came here looking for tips, so you’re obviously motivated to make a change, which is excellent! Be wary of overcommitting yourself. You can’t expect to go from doing no exercise to spending an hour each day working out or suddenly start sleeping eight hours at night.
Changes take time. Instead of giving up when your long-shot ideas don’t pan out, reframe your thinking. Small baby steps towards long-term goals will be far more successful for your healthy lifestyle.
Get Out of the House Alone
One of the best things you can do for your mental health is to leave your baby for a little while and do something away from the house. Find someone you trust to babysit so you aren’t as worried about going, and prepare some formula or pump ahead of time so you can stay away for longer.
What should you do? Exercising for 30 minutes is a great way to reduce stress and manage anxiety. You can take a walk through your neighborhood or go for a bike ride. Your baby will be fine for an hour while you get some much needed exercise and alone time out of the house.
Focus on the Big Picture
The hard truth is that it’s impossible to manage all aspects of your health every day. You may have a few days where you spend time with family, binge-watch your favorite show, go for a walk, drink all of your water, and eat three balanced meals. Most of the time, though, that’s just a pipe dream.
Instead of worrying about getting it “right” all the time, strive to be just one percent better each day. If you ate ice-cold pizza for breakfast, have chicken breast and steamed veggies for supper. Were you awake an extra long time last night? Take a few naps today while your baby sleeps. Move towards balance, not perfection.
Spend Time With Other Adults
Moments with your baby are precious and you wouldn’t trade them for the world. However, there comes a time when you need to turn in the baby talk for some adult conversation. If you aren’t quite up to going out with friends, have them come to you. Ask your family to come over for dinner — bonus points for them if they’ll bring the food.
Talking to other adults and getting yourself ready for company will help you begin to feel more like yourself again. Being a mommy is awesome, but you need to be careful not to lose yourself in the process.
Sleep When You Can
This advice has been around forever, but for good reason. Your sleep schedule for at least the first three months will be chaotic. Babies typically have their night and day reversed, and they need to wake to eat frequently.
When you are sleep-deprived, your body doesn’t function properly, leaving you drowsy, unstable, irritable, and at risk for more severe complications. Sleeping when your baby naps will be much more beneficial than doing a load of dishes. Let them sit a while longer and get some rest.
Find New Ways to Move
If you were a gym shark before having a baby, things might look different for a while. Taking care of a new human will take enough time that a regular gym habit may be out of the question. Also, the typical recommendation is for women to avoid exercise, other than walking, for at least six weeks after giving birth.
Once you get the all-clear from your doctor, find new ways to work movement into your day. You could play some music and dance around the house — combine it with some chores for a multi-purpose workout. Take your baby for a walk to give you both some much-needed fresh air. When you do head back to the gym, start small and go easy on yourself.
Talk To Someone
Postpartum depression affects one in nine new moms. If you are feeling hopeless or extremely sad and can’t pinpoint the reason, or you’ve become disinterested in activities you used to love, please see a doctor or talk to a licensed therapist.
Even if you are just struggling to adjust to your new life, talking to someone can really help. Find a mom group to get some support from people in your situation. Discuss your problems and questions with other moms in your family or friend circle. You may also benefit from talking to a therapist – sometimes, having an outsider’s opinion is what you need.
Lead by Example
As a good rule of thumb, treat yourself the way you would want your son or daughter to treat themselves in the future. The healthy habits you commit to in the early stages of motherhood will stick with you.
Kids are always watching, and they will notice if you prioritize their nutrition, sleep, doctor’s appointments, and social life but disregard your own. Give them a healthy example of what parenthood can be like.
What advice do you have for our new moms? Share with us in the comments below!
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