1) Mommy comes first. You might not understand why this happens until you have a baby, but often times moms come in last place. We are just so busy we actually forget about ourselves. The baby starts to cry and first things first mom will pick up the baby to sooth the baby and then you are tending to baby until they fall asleep or calm down. Let's just say it is 2am. You were woken up from a light sleep, yes light because that is the mommy way, and your baby starts crying. Do you, A) pick baby up, change diaper and start feeding baby or B) you go to the bathroom first. B! Moms, go to the bathroom and drink some water before you start changing and feeding. Feeding can take time. Your baby will cry just a little longer while you take care of you. Same thing goes for showers. If you haven't had a shower in a couple of days because the hubs just returned back to work and every time you go to take shower and your baby starts to cry. Put the baby in a safe place and shower. You are not a bad mom for taking care of you. You are gonna take a fast shower but a fast shower is better than not taking a shower! I think of this as the oxygen mask scenario on a flight. You are told to put your mask on first then assist someone else. This is true because you have to take care of you first before you can take care of someone else. It's ok.
2) Eat, and eat right. As a new mom in the first month especially, I often forgot to eat a healthy meal, or eat in general. I would miss eating lunch because I was either napping or feeding and by the time I woke up or thought about eating it was too late. Make sure you always have a healthy snack by your bed so you can snack while nursing or feeding the baby. Doesn't matter if you are breast feeding or formula feeding make sure you are eating healthy snacks. I try to keep a container of nuts next to my bed and a huge glass of water. Keep greek yogurt in the fridge too that is a great little snack packed with protein. Also, in the first month you are probably going to be receiving food from someone. Try to keep fresh greens and fruit fully stocked in your fridge. You could possibly be eating a lot of casseroles, (since they are easy to make and are easy to take) and you want to make sure you are eating your greens and fruit. And indulging is perfectly ok too. I look at the first 4-6 weeks as recovery and chocolate is definitely welcome in this household!
3) YOU MUST TAKE SOME MOMMY ALONE TIME. I didn't have this luxury when our first son was born because my husband was deployed to Iraq when Mason was 3 days old. But what I should have done was called someone over from church or a friend and have them watch Mason for 30-60 minutes a week so I could get some much needed time to myself. This is so important because this will allow you to feel like you again. You don't even have to leave your house A bath is great, or maybe yoga in your bedroom is just what you need but you will need and should take some "mommy quiet time" as we call it here in our house. Even a trip to the grocery store by yourself is so amazing. This helps you decompress from the stress and demands a new baby can put on you and you might not even realize that you were in need of a short break. If you have your hubs or significant other around have him hold the new baby and you go do what you need for 30 minutes. It creates that bonding time for him and baby and it helps the them realize just how hard you work. 1 day a week. 30-60 minutes, that's it! I promise it will help you feel like you again!
4) Water, Water and more water. I have already mentioned it twice but water is so important. You need water. After you have a baby you loose a lot of fluids. You must replenish those fluids. And even to breast feed you need extra water. Water makes milk. Plan on drinking a ton of water. If you haven't already, try to cut back on pop or sugar drinks. Use the flavor packets to flavor your water if you need, but I find that I actually crave water and enjoy the taste especially in the first month of brining baby home. I always have a 32 ounce cup of water next to my bed when I go to sleep at night, and that thing is gone by the time I wake up in the morning. Every time you feed, drink about 8 ounces of water. It is just a really great habit to be in but your body will need the extra water. Also, remember though that in the first days after having baby drinking prune juice is great to help keep the plumbing working and cranberry juice to help fight against UTI's. So I often dilute these with water. But just make sure that the staple for drinks in your diet is water.
5) Get outside! Try to avoid having cabin fever. Just sit outside on your porch when you feel up to it after baby. And after a week or two, try to go on a short walk. It will be so good for you and so good for baby because you will get the vitamin D you have been lacking being stuck indoors and you won't get cabin fever. We often feel tied down with a new baby and getting out helps us get grounded and feel free. Don't over do it though on your first outing. I always felt weak, my whole body, like I have no muscle strength at all. So, it is ok if you feel winded and out of shape. You just had a baby. But get out and enjoy that stroll around the block with your new baby in the buggy and all of your neighbors flocking over to you to meet the new little bundle of joy!
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