Babies take up lots of time and mental and emotional energy. However, it’s critical to take the time to care for yourself because feeling good enables you to be a better parent. Follow these suggestions to help sort out the madness of balancing your health and the demands that come with a baby.
When you’re busy caring for a newborn, it’s easy to fall out of the habit of eating at regular mealtimes. Grabbing whatever’s handy to snack on or simply ordering the fastest takeout is understandable, given your new baby-centric schedule, but it can wreak havoc on your health and fitness goals.
- If you’re strapped for time, prepare weekly lunches and dinners in a Crock Pot. After a little chopping and the press of a button, the slow cooker does all the work for you. Stews are also quick and easy to reheat on the stove later.
- Fresh salads are a surefire way to make sure you’re eating healthy. Set aside some time to pre-wash all the veggies in your fridge so when you’re throwing together a hearty salad for lunch or dinner, it doesn’t become a time drain.
- Fresh juices are another great way to get your daily fruit and veggie intake—just make sure that the noise of from the juicer doesn’t wake the baby!
Above all, opt for quality foods. Making the effort to eat fresh and green will keep your energy up and will be worth the extra effort.
When you’re caring for an infant, you might feel like the simple act of parenting is so exhausting that there’s no time for additional exercise. But keeping your body fit will also help keep your mind sharp. While you might prefer an afternoon nap when someone else is watching the baby, swap out nap time with exercise time.
Remember to take it easy and not push yourself too hard, physically. Your journey back to your pre-baby body is not going to happen overnight. Instead, love and respect yourself while steadily working to improve your health. Don’t over-extend yourself, especially if you’ve had a cesarean section. Ramp up to a full workout slowly, doing only what feels right for you. You definitely don’t want to injure yourself, because as a new parent you’re in no position to be confined to bed rest. If you’re unsure of your best workout plan, consult with a personal trainer who can help you set reasonable expectations and an actionable plan to achieve your goals.
Your windows for sleep are too few as a new parent, so try to get as much sleep as you can. If you’re exercising regularly and avoiding over-caffeinating, you should be able to sleep soundly when you are able to catch a few z’s. (Another good reason to exercise!)
Be kind to yourself
This is the most critical to your overall health. While a new baby is a joy, it can also be emotionally overwhelming for many parents. You’re going through a huge transition, so if it takes a little longer to get back on track with your health and wellness goals, remember it’s a process and it will happen with love and commitment. Don’t be afraid to indulge in a little “Me-time”. This might be a hot bath, watching your favorite TV show uninterrupted, taking a quiet walk, journaling your feelings, or even reading a book in an undisturbed part of the house.
Be sure to take advantage of quality adult time when the opportunity arises. Many new parents lock themselves away with their baby and don’t realize that they truly miss adult conversation and mental stimulation.
It’s easy to get completely consumed by your role as a parent when there’s a new baby in the house. But you must nurture yourself, mentally, physically, and spiritually so you can continue to be the best parent possible, and set an early positive example for your kids.