Once you have a newborn around, your time will be consumed with taking care of your baby and many mums forget that they need to take care of themselves (and possibly others in the family) too. A new mother’s needs are just as important as your baby’s.
By preparing yourself before your baby is born, you’ll be able to approach the first few months with a calm confidence. Here are key items to consider and how you can prepare now for those first few (tough!) months ahead.
Plan Ahead When You Are Pregnant
Start by thinking about what you’ll eat for the first few weeks. Cook meals and freeze them, and do a big grocery shop to stock your pantry with items you need to make easy meals. If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll likely have cravings for sweet things so consider baking some healthy protein-packed seed and nut bars or biscuits and having them in the freezer. Healthy berry muffins are also a good option.
Talk to other members in the household about how they can help after the baby comes. Consider getting your partner/husband into the routine of cooking by having him responsible for one or two meals a week – even if that means it’s a takeaway!
Do a spring clean regardless of the season. If you do a top-to-bottom clean of your house now, then you can just pick up and do light cleaning the first few months after baby arrives.
And get ready for how you’re going to parent too. Talk to the baby’s dad about his plans and dreams for the new baby. How does he want the child to be raised, educated, and disciplined? Discuss your views. Decide on a joint plan to gently guide your child.
After The Baby Is Born: Rest & Relax
It’s the most common advice that mums give to each other: sleep when the baby sleeps. At first it’ll be hard as you’ll think about all the other things you could be doing, but really there’s nothing more important than being well rested! Have the baby near you at night for easy feeding.
Consider asking visitors to hold off on coming over until the baby is at least 1 month old. Remember, this is your time to bond as a family. Avoid all stress that could be caused by entertaining family and friends.
Get outside for a few minutes every day. Take the baby for a walk if the weather is nice. If your baby needs a nap, put him in a baby sling. Baby gets to be close to you while you get things done, and the movement of your walking will be comforting for baby, just like when he was in the womb.
New Mother’s Needs: Eat Well
Get a healthy, balanced diet of good food: 2-3 servings of dairy, 2-3 servings of protein such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs or nuts, 3-5 servings of vegetables, 2-4 servings of fruit, and 6-8 servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta. Make easy meals such as slow cooker meals, salads, soups, and smoothies.
Eat the foods you like. Baby will let you know if the foods you eat do not agree with him. If your baby is fussy every time you eat a certain food, avoid that food for a few weeks.
If you want to lose weight, do it slowly. It took you nine months to gain the weight, so give yourself nine months to lose it! Choose low fat, low sugar foods. Cut out fried foods, sweets and soft drinks. Eat healthy calories not empty calories.
Avoid crash diets and diet pills. These are not healthy for you or your baby. And many of these programs are not safe for breastfeeding mothers.
Exercising After Baby
Starting an exercise routine will do wonders for your body and mind. Wait a couple of weeks after giving birth before starting with something mild like walking. Breastfeed your baby before exercising to keep you from leaking while you exercise. Start slowly and work up to longer and more difficult exercises.
If you work up a sweat, shower or wipe off your breasts before breastfeeding – babies do not like the salty taste of sweat.
If you’ve had a caesarian, be sure to wait until you’ve got your doctor’s okay to start exercising again. This may not be until after your 6-week checkup. Remember, every case is different.
Ask for Help And Combat Baby Blues
Taking care of a newborn baby is a full-time job! It helps to have help with household chores. If family and friends want to help, let them mop, vacuum floors, dust, clean the bathrooms and kitchen, wash and fold clothes, cook meals. Household items are the last thing you need to be worrying about.
You may feel sad after the baby is born. These ‘baby blues’ are a completely normal side effect of your changing hormones and will fade with time. If the feelings don’t go away or they get worse, if you feel like you cannot take care of your baby or yourself, of if you feel afraid that you may harm yourself or your baby, get help immediately. Talk to your doctor, family and friends – there is treatment that can help.
Accept and be thankful for all the love that is coming your way. Make sure baby’s dad feels loved and not left out of all that is going on. Dad’s job is to protect you from too many visitors, help with household chores, and keep the family stress levels low. Let him know that you are grateful for his help!
And lastly, remember that things change and get easier. A new mother’s needs will adapt and change as your baby grows. By the time your baby is 3-4 months old you’ll be more comfortable with what you’re doing. Until then, stay calm and reach out for help whenever you need to.
SensoBaby offers a complete program of Antenatal Classes that will prepare you for labour, delivery and parenting your newborn. Learn more about the upcoming antenatal course now.