Having a baby is undoubtedly a wonderful, life-changing experience. However, it's easy to forget about your own health and wellbeing whilst looking after your new bundle of joy. Let's face the truth - looking after a baby is exhausting! Today I am going to give you a few easy-to-implement tips that can go a long way to help you feel like yourself again.
Whoever came up with the expression 'to sleep like a baby' was clearly clueless about babies' sleep! Yes, some parents are lucky and their babies are good sleepers but it's important to remember that it's very normal and natural for babies to wake up during the night in the first year of their lives (and beyond that). Frequent waking can mean every two hours or even more often (My friend's baby was up every half an hour in the first 6 months of life).
If it comes to sleep, it is a broad subject in general but what I recommend you to do is to try to rest while your baby sleeps during the day. Sleep when baby sleeps - easier said than done, isn't it? Most babies have naps and during those naps a mother's brain tends to be very active, thinking of all the things that could possibly be done around the house like cleaning, cooking, the laundry... But the world won't end if you don't get to do those things right away. If you can have a snooze while your baby is napping - great but I know it can be challenging to fall asleep during the day so try to even just rest your eyes. Listen to an audiobook, gentle music or a guided meditation. A lot of the time this is enough to leave us feeling recharged and ready to tackle the rest of the day and responsibilities.
A well-rounded healthy diet is crucial in your new life as a mother. During my early weeks postpartum I found myself feeling ravenous because my body worked hard to make milk for my baby. I felt hungry even in the middle of the night. You might not have time to cook complicated meals now but try your best to reach for healthy snacks during the day. Some great options are apples with peanut butter, nuts, veggie sticks with hummus and dark chocolate. Just go easy on the last one because it contains caffeine! Oh, speaking of caffeine... It's okay to have a cup of coffee even when breastfeeding but it's important to be mindful when you have that coffee. Try not to drink it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach because coffee makes your cortisol levels rise which results in increased stress and anxiety. Aim to have a cup of joe after breakfast.
It's worth considering taking some supplements alongside eating a healthy diet. Your body did a miraculous job growing and nourishing your baby, and perhaps you are continuing to nourish your infant by breastfeeding. Supplementing is important because your sweet baby might have used up a lot of the nutrient reserves in your body.
Magnesium - incredibly beneficial in many aspects from healthy sleep to fluid balance in your body which is especially important for lactating mothers because it can help with their milk supply. We have a wide range of different magnesium supplements available at Healthy Living.
Omega 3 and DHA- after giving birth the levels of those in a mother's body can drop low as the body reserves are transmitted to the breastmilk in order to provide them to the baby. DHA fatty acids are crucial in supporting baby's healthy brain development. Take a look at our range of Omega 3 supplements.
Iron - iron supplements can help rebuild the reserves in the body especially if there was a lot of blood loss during delivery and after. Your baby also needed a lot of iron while growing and developing in your uterus. Iron deficiencies are very common so it's worth having your levels checked and consider supplementation. Floradix Liquid Iron by Salus is safe to take for both lactating mothers and mums-to-be.
Biotin - a lot of new mums suffer from postpartum hair loss which can be extreme in some cases. Grow It by Annutri is a supplement that has everything you need - not only biotin but also other hair growth-friendly nutrients.
Iodine - it is common for many new mothers to lack iodine in their bodies because iodine helps to grow the body and brain of the baby in your womb. Babies rely on their mothers iodine reserves, therefore it's important to consider supplementation during pregnancy and beyond. These iodine drops by Biocare are available to purchase in Healthy Living.
Disclaimer: If you are breastfeeding it's best that you check in with your healthcare provider to discuss which supplements are safe to take and best-suited for you.
GET OUT IN NATURE
It can be hard to find the motivation to get dressed and go outside when you're drowning in household and baby responsibilities but trust me on this - fresh air can do wonders. By no means you have to go on a long walk - getting outside in front of your house or in the garden is enough. Getting outside is so beneficial for you. It's also refreshing and you can get your much needed Vitamin D from the sunshine. Most babies love being outdoors too. Looking around and getting to know the world is exciting for them. Aim to get outside every day, even for a few minutes (if the weather is bad just wrap up well, put on a raincoat and GO).
Most of us have probably heard the old saying that goes It takes a village to raise a child. In the modern world it's very common that new parents don't have the above mentioned 'village' and are raising their children on their own. However, if you are fortunate enough to have people you can trust nearby (that being family or close friends), don't be afraid to reach out for help. We are only human and it's totally normal to feel burned out in the midst of parenting.
I hope these low-maintenance tips and tricks help you feel a little bit refreshed and more like yourself. Just remember one thing - happy mummy equals happy baby.