- New Mums have higher energy and nutrient requirements than ever before especially when breastfeeding.
- Prioritising self-care practice to help you sleep, eating a nutrient-dense diet and regular movement can be challenging for new Mums.
- Our blog offers ideas to nurture a new Mum’s physical health that can be easily incorporated into hectic days with your baby.
Our last blog focused on encouraging Mums to introduce regular self-care practice into their busy days to help you not only be a better parent but a better individual. This included ideas to inspire self-care to boost any Mum’s mental and emotional health, even if is simply aiming to shower every day! Mental health goes hand and hand with your physical health and the ideas below aim to help you practice some simple self-care to nurture your physical health with better sleep, nutrients and movement you enjoy!
When you become a new Mum your body has higher energy and nutrient requirements than ever before, especially if you are breastfeeding. Your immune system is also lower, which makes you even more susceptible to fatigue, stress, anxiety and infection. This means high-quality sleep, a nutrient-dense diet and regular movement you enjoy is more important than ever before.
Ideas to nurture your physical health could include:
- Allow yourself to nap while your baby naps during the day. Sleeping with your baby is also a beautiful bonding experience and can help them sleep longer as being close to you can replicate the womb and help them feel safe.
- Make nursing in bed during the night a priority. Work with your partner to help with nappy changes so you can stay in bed some nights, keep the lights as low as possible (having just a nightlight on is a great idea) as this will make it easier to go back to sleep after feeding. We also suggest having a book to read or meditation to listen to during nighttime feeding instead of scrolling your phone.
- Ask your partner or family member to watch your baby at night or in the morning before work so you can get into bed for a few extra hours of sleep when you need it.
- If you can’t nap during the day, listening to a yoga Nidra meditation has been shown to provide similar benefits to your physical and mental health when compared to a twenty-minute nap. Listen to a yoga Nidra session here.
Nutrient based self-care
- Use a meal service delivery once a week to deliver your favourite healthy meal or treat.
- Take turns to cook or buy a nutritious lunch for another Mum each week so every second week you get a day off.
- Plan at least 10 healthy, quick meals you enjoy, batch cook and freeze so you have them on hand when you need them. This could include vegetable soups, curries, stir-fry’s, vegetable bakes, quiches or other nourishing meals you enjoy.
- Stock the cupboards with healthy snacks so you can eat with one hand while you are holding your baby or breastfeeding. This could include wholegrain crackers with nut butter, hummus and veggies, egg frittatas, homemade oat bars or bliss balls or trail mix with nuts, seeds and dark chocolate.
- If you are missing your favourite coffee or wine, take you and your baby out for a date or meet a friend at your favourite café for a decaffeinated coffee or a delicious sparkling kombucha.
Move it Mama Self-care
- Heading outside for a walk with your baby to your favourite park or beach is the easiest and simplest way to move and can instantly lift your energy levels and boost your mental health. You could also ask a friend to join for a catch-up or put your headphones in and listen to your favourite playlist, podcast or audiobook. If you need a laugh we love this podcast, ‘Mother of all Shows’ which pokes fun at parenthood.
- If you want to get a little more physical, put a YouTube workout on or join an online fitness group such as ‘Move it Mama’ so you can exercise at home while your baby sleeps. For your fitness inspiration here are 12 free online workouts for new Mums you can do in under 30 minutes from your living room. https://redtri.com/bump-baby/free-online-workouts-for-new-moms/
- If working out isn’t your thing, you could also get all the physical benefits from putting on a YouTube dance workout and dance like no one is watching. Watching you dance is also free entertainment for your baby!
(If you haven’t worked out in a while or are new to exercise, please follow the warm-up and cool down guidelines or seek professional help.)
Remember, the goal is to rethink self-care to find what you need to refuel your mind and body, and that will look different for everyone. Be patient with yourself as it may take some trial and error for you to find what works and what is sustainable in your life. It can also take up to a month before practising a new habit becomes intuitive so you will need to plan ahead and book in any babysitters or your partner so you have the time you need for you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or feel any guilt for making yourself a priority, taking time to refuel is going to put you in a better headspace to be more present and enjoy the time you have with your little one. As always, strive for progress, not perfection!
If you have found this blog helpful, share it with a new Mum that could benefit from reading it too.
Source: SleepDrops Research Team