When you become a Mum, it’s very easy to forget to look after yourself. You become so focused on your little ones, self-care goes out the window. But self-care is more important than ever. Your baby needs you to stay well. It’s hard to give 24x7 care when you are tired and lacking proper nutrition. You need sleep, nutrition, good social interactions, fun and you need to feel good. These are pretty hard to get with a new baby and become harder the more children you have. So how do you do it?
Don’t try to catch up on housework when baby is asleep. When baby goes down, you go down. If baby is a napper, do housework with him or her in a carrier while singing! Lots of Mums say it’s more important for Dad to get his sleep because he has to go to work; but so do you. Your work is 24x7 and lasts for a lifetime. You have to provide sustenance, stimulation and a stress-free environment for growing bodies, minds and spirits. So, share the load. Keep some expressed milk on hand, even easier if bub is on the bottle.
Eat regular healthy meals. This is a physically and emotionally demanding job. You need quality fuel. Poor milk supply in the evening can be the result of skipping lunch or lack of protein early in the day! It’s good to have a supply of frozen meals prepared before bub arrives. Make up fortified muesli (add extra dried fruit and nuts) Go easy on the dairy as babies can be lactose intolerant. But lactose free smoothies are great. Have a cooked chook in the fridge. Chicken, a microwaved potato, a sliced tomato and some salad greens is an easy nutritious lunch. Keep dinners simple. Boiled egg salad, grilled chicken or pork chop, sweet potato and frozen greens or salad. Healthy snacks. Nuts and fruit salad, in the night to keep your blood sugars up.
Go out for “coffee” or take a hot tea or coffee in a thermos to the local park at least once a day. Have coffee dates at least twice a week. Don’t invite people over unless they are the kind of people who don’t care what your house looks like, or you will feel you have to clean up before they come.
Babies bring a huge change in your life. Twenty-four hours a day with a demanding, needy little person. If you don’t deliberately make time for you, you can easily become so focused on baby and you lose touch with yourself which can contribute to post-natal depression. It is really important to make time in your day to do things you enjoy. Keep up your interests and passions. If you don’t you will unconsciously look for, feel good moments that may not be healthy.
What makes you feel good?
Take a five-or ten-minute holiday mid-morning and mid-afternoon, as soon as baby is asleep. Use this time to do something for yourself. As baby gets older take a daily twenty-minute holiday, preferably getting out of the house, or at least in a separate space to baby and kids.
What can you do on a five-minute holiday? Have a hot cup of tea or coffee, milo, drink it slowly. enjoying each mouthful. Water your plants. Pull a few weeds. Moisturize, face hands and feet. Soak your feet. Lie on the floor with a heat pack under you back and on your cheeks.
A ten-minute holiday. Go for a walk as soon as your partner gets home or go for a walk any time of the day with bub in a sling or pram. Read an article. Read a few pages of a favourite book. Play a game on your phone. Lie on the floor and listen to some great music. Dance to music. Have a craft project set up.
Some Mums tell me they can only take two-minute holidays. Do this four times a day. Have a drink of water or tea; sit and breathe. Close your eyes and put a heat pad on your face. Sit and rotate your ankles of neck. Moisturize hands or face or feet.
Look through a magazine and find pictures words and phrases that remind you what you need to do to care for you. Cut them out and create a collage to remind you what you need to do to look after yourself.
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