To the new mamas and the veteran moms with a newborn in the house again… we get it. We have been there. We know the sleep deprivation, the foggy brain, the insane adjustment to accommodating a new tiny person and all of their 24 hour a day needs. We remember laughing and crying at the turn of a dime, both loving every moment with a new bundle of joy and also wondering, will things ever feel “normal” again? Will I ever SLEEP again? Will I ever get to work out or cook a meal or (fill in the blank) here… ever again?
Take heart, have hope… the answer is YES! But first things first, allow yourself some grace. You just carried and gave birth to another human being. Congratulations and GREAT JOB! Secondly, if you’re not asking for help in some areas and you have access to help, now is the time to delegate while you have help. Having someone help you tackle that pile of laundry, stack of dishes, or even holding your sweet little bundle of joy so you can sneak a shower or a quick nap goes a long, long way.
Amidst the crazy and as you begin to acclimate with having a baby in the house, we do have some practical tips if you’re looking to either resume or begin healthy habits that can benefit your entire family:
Sleep. We here at The Cradle Coach would be remiss if we didn’t mention this one first. If you can get your little one sleeping well, it means everyone else can sleep well too, even you. The struggle with sleep deprivation is a real thing, and those first few weeks are tough while your baby adjusts to life outside the womb (check out our blog on “The 5 S’s for Newborn Sleep”). As your baby begins to adjust, however, getting them on a consistent schedule will benefit them, you, and everyone in your house. We are here to offer help!
Staying Active. The last thing you may want to do right now is get up and move, but did you know that even a short walk can help perk up your energy and your mood? Walks are a great thing even in early post-delivery recovery, as it helps your body stay active, can aid in healing, and psychologically, spending time taking in a change of scenery, whether inside or outside, can help the four walls of your house not feel so closed in. As you continue to heal, consider introducing or re-introducing cardio and weight-lifting (when your OBGYN, doctor, midwife, etc. have cleared you to do so, of course). When you take time to invest in your health through being active, your immune system is boosted, stress levels become more manageable, that baby weight will come off faster and more easily (especially if you pair it with eating well), it helps you sleep better, and you physically become stronger (and consequently build more stamina and energy). Sweating it out solo or with other mama friends a few times a week could even prove to be a lot of fun, even therapeutic! A gym we highly recommend if you are in the local area is Hard Exercise Works Palm Beach Gardens. Come in and check it out!
Eat Well. It’s tempting to splurge on fast food, delivery or pre-made frozen meals when you’re short on sleep and in survival mode. It’s okay to indulge in things like this occasionally, but long-term, your body and health won’t fare well, and if you’re nursing, you want to give your baby the best possible nutrition through your milk. A great place to start is to incorporate lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins (chicken, fish, turkey, occasionally beef), high-quality dairy (raw, organic milk, cheese and yogurt are great choices!), and the least processed whole grains you can find (think quinoa over white rice, or sprouted Ezekiel bread versus white enriched bread). Steer clear of high-sugar, high-salt foods, and keep your “junk food” intake to a minimum. This list of 25 superfoods will give you a great start for incorporating high nutrition foods into your diet! In a pinch, bags of frozen vegetables can be a quick meal addition, as can ready-made whole roasted chickens from the deli at your local grocery store. As you ramp back up on the nutrition side, consider making a bunch of meals at one time to get you through multiple days (cutting down on your kitchen time), or making double portions, then freezing half. We also suggest using (or learning to use) a Crock-Pot… this is a huge time-saver- just put your ingredients in a few hours ahead of when you want to eat, and it does the rest! (Bonus: your house will smell amazing!) Check out these recipes, and here are some Paleo Crock-Pot recipes for our super-health conscious mamas, too! One more thing regarding nutrition… it’s incredibly important to stay hydrated, especially if you’re a nursing mama. Did you know that 75% of Americans are dehydrated at any given time, many of whom don’t even know it? If you feel thirsty, you are already there. Instead of reaching for sugary, processed drinks like juice, sodas, energy drinks, etc., drink as much pure, filtered water as you can. It’s the best thing for your body! Squeeze a bit of lemon, orange or lime into your water, or try a flavored sparkling water (just make sure it doesn’t have artificial sweeteners like aspartame added). Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake, as these can tax your body and impact your little one, especially during recovery and while you’re nursing.
We hope these have been helpful tips for you! If you can incorporate healthy sleep habits, staying active and eating well, especially as a new mom, you might be amazed at how much better you feel, think, and operate overall!