Honestly the title of this should be more like How to TRY TO Stay Healthy as a New Mom because as a new mom, or wherever you are in your motherhood journey, you and your health often come last.
People can tell you over and over again to make sure you take care of yourself, to practice self-care, etcetera but it’s a lot easier said than done.
It’s hard when all your energy goes first to your child(ren), and then whatever is left (if there is any) goes to keeping your marriage/relationship going. Because we all know that’s important too.
Then, there’s having a social life (HAHA) and keeping up with friends or other family members. That takes a lot more out of you than it used to. Maybe you even work as well.
What’s left, if any?
The thing is though, there needs to be some left for you. You have to come first sometimes.
How can you expect to take care of others if you yourself are not taken care of?
The way I try and think about it is putting some effort into keeping myself healthy gives me more energy to give to my son, my marriage, and my friends and family.
So, here are a few ways to make sure that happens.
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First thing is making sure you are eating right, or even eating at all.
Breastfeeding makes eating healthy really hard. I’m always hungry and if I have time or energy to eat, it can be easy to go for something snackish and unhealthy.
That’s why I recently set aside time (when the baby is asleep) to meal prep.
This saves me more time in the long run – which is what I tell myself when I’m exhausted and really just want to collapse on my couch and not move until I have gathered enough energy to climb the stairs to my own bed.
It also helps that I meal prep for my son now that he eats solids a lot more. You can read about how we started with baby led weaning here.
Of course, I still have my days where nothing is prepped and I’m going for the snack foods. You’re allowed to cut yourself a little slack too.
When I do have those cravings or just want to snack, I try and have healthy snacks handy.
That’s why Subscribing to UrthBox is a great idea! They send a box of monthly healthy snacks to your door every month.
This makes things so much easier for moms who are trying to eat well but don’t have the time to make nutritious snacks or try and find some at the grocery store. My personal favorite snacks are the made good granola minis!
Also, drink lots of water. This helps with cravings, feeling like snacking, and keeps your milk supply up if you are breastfeeding.
I love this water bottle infuser!
Meal prep. Have healthy snacks on hand. Drink your water.
Maybe you’re thinking, how the heck do I get the energy and time to exercise beyond lifting my child up fifty times a day???
You make the time.
Easier said than done right? Like everything these days.
But for me, exercise is a bit of me-time. I am working on my health and I do it while baby is napping so I don’t have to be interrupted.
Some people enjoy doing it with their baby, and you can find tons of mom and baby workouts online! I just enjoy using it as time to myself.
Exercise gives me more energy to get through the day and makes me stronger and healthier over time. I also sleep a little better!
Even a short walk with your baby counts. We love this stroller because it’s a jogger, and I can go for a run with the baby. It’s easy to maneuver and rubber wheels absorb a lot of shock. And it’s a travel system!
Anything that gets you both outside is a good thing.
Which brings me to my next point.
LEAVE THE HOUSE
This is so important, especially for those stay at homes who, like me have found it particularly hard some days.
Of course, it’s okay to have those days here and there where you stay in your pjs all day and don’t leave the house. This happens to the best of us.
But I find I feel so much better, and the baby is so much happier, when I force myself to get us both dressed and get out.
This can also be really important for those who suffer from postpartum anxiety and depression. I myself struggle with both and even though it makes it even harder, it is even more important.
So, go grocery shopping, go to a baby group, ask a friend or your mom out for lunch, go for a walk – just get out those doors!
Part of helping you do all of this is having a routine.
The first few weeks with a newborn are a blur. You’re exhausted, feeding your baby around the clock and trying to keep yourself alive enough to keep your baby alive.
But, after the first month or so when things settled down, my son started sleeping a little better and I was recovering from my labor and delivery, I started trying to get myself into a routine.
This became particularly important when my husband went back to work and our families left us from their visit.
I needed to start feeling a bit more normal. It was officially just the baby and I.
At the beginning, it doesn’t have to be much. It can be as small as making sure you get out for a short walk once a day or doing your best to make sure you shower and get dressed every morning.
These little things make a big difference in mom world.
When my son turned 5 months old, something clicked, and he really started to put himself into a great, consistent routine.
Somewhere between then and 7 months things turned to crap through a regression and dropping a nap, but even then, it was important to me – and for the baby – to maintain some sort of consistency.
Now we’re at almost 9 months and his routine has been back to normal for a little while, minus a nap and with an earlier bedtime.
Obviously, it helps when your baby is sleeping consistently (somewhat, they are human and have bad days too). But even when things go a little array, maintaining somewhat of a routine helps me keep my sanity.
Most importantly mama, rest.
This has got to be the hardest, and yet most important way to stay healthy, mentally and physically.
When baby is sleeping it feels like a million things need to be done before he wakes up again.
And everyone tells you to remember, everything else can wait.
But, it’s so hard to shut your mind off as a mom.
And sometimes it’s unrealistic to leave the dishes to pile up forever, or to let the laundry go, or to leave the bathroom uncleaned.
It’s true, everything can wait. But only for so long.
So, what has helped me is doing things in little amounts at a time.
Do one load of laundry every day or every other day. Then it doesn’t pile up and become a giant mountain of laundry that takes three days to wash, dry and fold. It only takes 5 minutes, on your way to that couch to nap, to throw in that one load of laundry.
Do one load of dishes.
Use those baby wipes to clean something.
Vacuum one or two rooms.
Even just make your bed.
I’m not saying do all of these things in one day. But pick one every day or every other day, and things don’t pile up and become overwhelming.
Then, you have time to rest and hopefully you’re able to rest better knowing at least something got done today.
Even if it seems like nothing got done, you fed a human. You kept him/her alive and as happy as you could.
That in itself is a major thing you can check off your to do list.
Eat well, exercise, maintain a bit of a routine, and get your rest.