- While it’s important to prioritize your newborn’s health, it’s equally as important that you take care of yourself as well.
- Keep your physical health on track by staying hydrated and eating nutritious foods.
- You should also maintain open communication with your doctor and continue to listen to your body’s cues.
- To stay on top of your mental and emotional health, put some time and energy into self-care techniques like meditating or journaling.
- Additionally, you should embrace this transition period and surrender to the things that are out of your control.
We like to fantasize about what life will be like… when we get engaged, or we’re offered that promotion; when we move into a grand new house, or finally snag the job of our dreams. But we don’t always factor the tough stuff into those hopeful visions. And so when a dream becomes reality, we aren’t exactly prepared for the entirety of the transition.
This rings true for many expecting moms. It’s nearly impossible to prepare for all that comes with raising a newborn, and that’s okay. However, it’s important that you ride the wave of these changes and remember to not only take care of your baby, but yourself as well. And I’m talking physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Yaffi Lvova is a registered dietitian nutritionist with an area of focus in the perinatal time, which includes adjustment to new parenthood—making her the perfect person to talk to about maintaining your physical health as a new mom. “The time just after the birth of a child is supposed to be all love, unicorns, and rainbows. But often, new families are not prepared for the physical and emotional tolls that a new baby brings,” she explains. “The hormones experienced during pregnancy drop quickly and that can leave a woman feeling exhausted and depressed.” To combat these side effects, take the following actions, recommended by Lvova:
1) Stay on top of hydration and general nutrition. Lvova says this can be difficult, but it is so important and can be accomplished. “Meal prep is a great way to provide for your nutrition needs,” she explains. “When someone comes over and asks how they can help, ask them to chop veggies; buy pre-made hummus or guacamole for dipping; have veggie-based muffins ready to eat.”
2) Have an open dialogue with your doctor. It’s also crucial that you communicate openly with your doctor and understand fully what your health needs are. “During pregnancy, your body can be affected in different ways and it’s important to check your health after the baby is born. The thyroid often functions differently, for example,” Lvova explains. “It’s important to have an open dialogue with your doctor about any symptoms you’re experiencing in order to be on top of your health.”
3) Stay in tune with what makes you feel good. And finally, just pay attention to what makes you feel good. “My best advice to a new mother is to not lose touch with what makes you happy,” says Lvova. “Self-care is so important to make sure that you can stay charged up in order to take care of your family. Taking time for yourself helps you to be the best version of yourself, and that is what your family deserves.”
Mental and Emotional Health
Many of us tend to focus on our physical health and forget about or neglect our mental and emotional health… when really we should be prioritizing all of it! But now that we got the physical health tips out of the way, we can focus on staying mentally and emotionally healthy. Jasmin Terrany, LMHC and author of “Extraordinary Mommy: A Loving Guide to Mastering Life’s Most Important Job,” says the following will keep you on track:
1) Prioritize self-care. You might feel tempted or inclined to spend all of your time and energy caring for your baby… but it’s just as important you cater to your needs right now, too. “Any sort of sanity goes out the window when you are exhausted—emotionally, physically, and spiritually,” Terrany explains. “Prioritize time for self-care above all, with no guilt. Go to the gym, go to therapy, meditate, journal, sleep! You can have one or two less hours with your baby each day, that will make all the other hours that much more enjoyable!”
2) Embrace change. It’ll also help if you decide to embrace this change instead of cowering beneath it. “Remember that you are in transition: you’re not supposed to know what to do, you are new at this,” says Terrany. “Rather than feel frustrated at the life that you’ve lost or at the insecurity you feel for being an amateur, treat this like a new adventure. If you were traveling, you wouldn’t be frustrated that you don’t know your way around. You’d embrace it as an opportunity to explore a new environment and have adventures. Try to do the same with parenthood.”
3) Surrender. Terrany’s third tip is to surrender to what you have absolutely zero control over: “So much of our stress and anxiety comes from trying to control things that we have no control over. Identify the things for which you have no control over. Identify the things for which you have control and the things for which you don’t. This doesn’t mean that you don’t try to create routines with the new baby, it simply means that your level of sanity shouldn’t be attached to the ‘success’ of your plan. Remember that your baby is not a machine. Set the intention, and give yourself the positive reinforcement for your efforts not your outcomes.”