Your bundle of joy has arrived to complete your world and the new chapter – mommyhood – will be as overwhelming as the previous one, your pregnancy. The first year for a new mother is especially challenging as she takes baby steps in the new role of being a mum. Every day is a new day, one that brings unforeseen challenges and revelations.
Your baby will be the centre of your and your family’s attention but there’s one other person who deserves and needs as much caring – you.
As Roshini Gilbert, VP Fitness and Services of HealthifyMe, says, “You will need all the physical and mental strength to look after your baby and your home. So, a new mother must not ignore her own needs and health.”
You took proper prenatal care, we know, but it’s now time to adhere to these 10 tips for new moms:
Get as much rest as you can
You will feel exhausted after childbirth. To add to the hardships, your clock will never match the babies! They need to be fed and changed every three to four hours, so you can forget about eight hours of beauty sleep. Sleep when the baby sleeps and try and delegate other household responsibilities.
Don’t hesitate to call the doctor
A new mother’s body is weak for the first couple of weeks. Don’t miss the doctor’s appointment to check stitches and cuts. If you experience fever, shivering, dizziness, pain, or discomfort, consult a doctor immediately. You need to be more careful in case of a C-section.
Focus on diet and nutrition
You will be busy taking care of your baby’s needs but don’t forget your own. It’s a myth that you need to consume lots of ghee and fat to feed your baby better. “Exercise is not going to be your priority immediately, so try to stay in good shape by watching what you eat. Contrary to what your elders tell you, stay away from excessively high caloric foods,” Roshini says.
Find ways to stay active
Apart from helping you lose the weight, you gained during pregnancy, staying active also beats stress. Get some exercise and step out every day even if for just a short walk. Roshini says, “Women think that they shouldn’t be working out for six months after a Caesarean section. But that’s not true. A mum who has had normal delivery can start exercising on the first day itself and someone with a C-section after four days.” You can start with breathing exercises, pelvic floor muscle exercises or low-intensity post-pregnancy exercises. But only after checking with the doctor.
Maintain optimum hygiene
A new mom is prone to infections that can pass on to the baby and also slow down the mother’s healing process. Pay special attention to hygiene – wash hands often, rinse your breasts after breastfeeding, and follow visitor’s hygiene because the mother and baby can pick up infections from visitors.
Drink plenty of water
Don’t stress about baby fat
Baby fat is difficult to lose, especially on the lower abs. Follow a healthy diet and regular exercise regimen to lose weight but don’t obsess about it. Losing baby fat in a jiffy happens only in celeb magazines so be patient.
Get help from outside
It’s true that you are a supermom. Even then, don’t exert yourself unnecessarily. Get help from other family members and hire domestic help for chores such as laundry, cleaning, and washing utensils at least for the first couple of months. “In the case of nuclear families, it becomes difficult for women to handle both the duties. So they must get help,” Roshini says.
Be mindful of ‘baby blues’
Postpartum blues are for real. You will feel emotional, irritable and weepy for the first 10 days. It’s normal because of hormonal changes. But if these feeling persists or intensify long after childbirth and if you have other symptoms such as lose of appetite, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, rapid weight loss or gain, sleep issues or disinterest in the baby, seek help for postpartum depression.
Get expert advice
Starting a random diet or exercise regime will have an adverse effect on your health. Keep in mind that the baby’s well-being depends on you and gets the right advice. “Women end up doing whatever they like due to lack of knowledge. I have seen women doing crunches to get rid of the tummy, which should be the last thing they should be doing because they are straining their already loose muscles. Only a coach or expert can tell you things like lower deepest abdominal muscles need to be targeted first or how training certain muscles can harm your spine and so on,” Roshini says. Get an expert to tell you what advanced post-pregnancy exercises you should be doing.