Becoming a mother for the first time was by far the most overwhelming experience for me. Every day for the next one year became an adventure that brought with it a fair share of marvelous and disastrous moments. One minute, I’d be ecstatic about my baby saying ‘mama’ with a twinkle in his eyes. The very next moment, I’d be left helpless, trying to juggle between cleaning up a dirty nappy and trying to calm my crying baby.
In the midst of this chaotic glory, I realized one important thing: I had no time left for myself, and it reached a stage when I couldn’t recognize the person I’d become. In an attempt to safeguard my baby’s good health and safety, I ended up letting go of my own. By the time of my second pregnancy, however, I had learned the knack of maintaining a balance between my baby’s welfare, along with my own.
Here are the top five self-care tips for new mommies you can benefit from:
Probably the most clichéd (but also the most essential) tip that you may have received throughout your pregnancy and the postpartum phase is about eating healthy. You must make sure to include energy-giving foods in your diet that help you get through the busy phase of early motherhood.
A complex carbohydrate -rich breakfast including whole grains cereal and oatmeal, along with protein rich eggs and yogurt, will help keep your energy levels up throughout the day.
Avoid going on crash diets during your early postpartum phase as doing this will not only impact your health but also the quality of breast milk that you give your baby.
You should also make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day, as dehydration is a big cause of fatigue.
Eat leafy green vegetables that are rich in vitamins A, C, calcium, fiber, iron, and protein; vitamins and antioxidants rich fruits; and nuts rich in healthy unsaturated fats.
A lot of people (including my doctor) told me to take it easy before turning on the weight loss mode full throttle after delivery. Especially because mine was a cesarean, I was asked to be extra cautious about my exercise routine. However, nobody told me that it was okay to slack off and not exercise at all. Lack of exercise not only added to my weight, but also affected my energy levels and endurance. I’d find myself so fatigued each day that even my daily activities started to suffer.
Take out an hour each day and practice moderate intensity exercises that will not only keep your energy levels high, but also boost your mood. Consult your doctor and trainer to help you devise a fitness plan to suit your requirements.
Though the concept of a peaceful, undisturbed sleep at night may seem alien to new mothers, it is important that you catch required hours of sleep whenever you can. Always remember that the initial months of motherhood are going to keep you on your toes all the time. If you fall short on the zzz’s, you will be fatigued, irritable and may even become susceptible to postpartum depression.
All this can also have detrimental effects on your baby. Make sure that you and your husband or partner take equal responsibility to watch over your little one, so both of you get required rest.
Ask For Help When Required
At the birth of my first child, I took it upon myself to do everything for him all by myself. From shopping for his clothes to putting him to sleep and taking him on a stroll, I was a hands-on mother who thought she didn’t need any help to raise her little one. Though my husband always stood by me as a pillar of support, when he’d be off to work during the day, I’d struggle to juggle between numerous duties. By the end of the day, I’d plonk my exhausted body on the bed only to be woken up by my baby’s wailing cries.
I soon realized that I didn’t need to act like a superwoman, and that it was okay to ask my well wishers for help when I needed it. I then began to reach out to my mother for help occasionally, and it surprised me how much easier it made my life. I realized that our loved ones aren’t around only to share the good times; they are also around to share your hardships and struggles.
Take Some “Me” Time Out
Ask any new mother in the world how she likes spending her free time. Her answer is likely to be standard, “I don’t have the luxury of free time. Being a mother, I completely understand that we are hard pressed for time, especially during the initial days of motherhood, but that doesn’t mean we let go of our passions and interests.
When my little one came into my life, I sacrificed a lot of my creative interests. As much as I loved mothering my baby, I also missed doing things that enriched my soul and made me the person I am. With the arrival of my second baby, I made sure to find time for pursuing little interests like reading, painting, and attending music lessons as well. It helped me unwind (and maintain my sanity).
Always remember – your job as a new mother doesn’t end in giving your child all the love, care and nourishment you can. You must also give yourself the same.
Enjoy the beautiful journey of motherhood that lies ahead!
Aradhana Pandey is from India. She is a veteran writer on topics concerning parenting, child nutrition, wellness, health and lifestyle. As a regular contributor to popular sites like Huffington Post, Natural news, Elephant journal, Thehealthsite, Naturally Savvy, curejoy and MomJunction.com, Aradhana writes to inspire and motivate people to adopt healthy habits and live a stress-free lifestyle.
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