This year for many of us has been a bit of a strange and tough one, let alone for all us new mummas out there. We have missed out on so many activities and interactions that we would have normally jumped right on to in order to keep us sane and active and most importantly, know that we aren’t alone on this journey. My name is Polly and I am mumma to Toby – who is now 11 months old… I have literally no idea where the time has gone yet I have learnt so much.
As a new mum, your whole focus and energy shifts onto your new little bundle and you are both learning to adjust to each other. The sound of the phrase ‘being healthy’ at the start of your motherhood journey may seem like the most distant and unimaginable thought as you are sleep deprived, emotional and mentally adjusting, let alone the fact that your body has just been through one of the most amazing yet physically traumatic events in your life of growing and getting your baby out (by whatever means possible…pushing or section – either way your body is phenomenal!). To stay ‘healthy’ as a new mum does not only encompasses the physical side of health but also mental health, for some this may be more important to recognise, manage and sustain.
I have compiled a few tips I have found have helped me to stay both mentally and physically healthy through this first year of motherhood, some may seem so obvious but our focus changes from ourselves to our new baby – pandemic aside, it’s a whole different world.
- Diet - It will be mentioned at some point in the list so why not out it up as number one. Cake, chocolate and takeaways or fast food are the easy options when we are sleep deprived and lacking energy, they are also the foods that lead to further fatigue and low energy. Ensuring a balanced diet makes such a big difference to energy levels and stamina, especially to those breast feeding mummas out there. Get all the whole grains, beans, nuts, high protein foods, fruit and veg (especially the darker green leafy numbers) involved in all your meals and snacks. I am definitely not saying don’t eat these scrummy treats or restrict yourself as that’s just not fun but making some simple changes …
- Batch cooking – The classic Sunday night batch cook off! We learnt early on that prep makes life so much easier and healthier. One shopping trip + one evening of cooking two or three things = a weeks’ worth of happy, healthy stress free meals.
- Daily dose of nature – I make sure I get myself (and Toby) outside everyday; even if it was to sit on a bench in the park and feel the sun on my face. This simple and free activity helped improve my mental health greatly whilst also being a it of low impact walking exercise (2 birds with one stone). The feeling the elements on my face and breathing in fresh air with my little koala bear in the carrier or in the pram was so refreshing even after a sleepless night. Also once partners go back to work it can be pretty isolating and daunting being at home alone with a new baby, so by getting out you will see people, this helps feel less isolating than being sat on the sofa.
- Hydrate – I forgot to drink so I purchased a 2 litre jug and made it an aim everyday day to finish at least one of these, as a minimum (even more important if you are breast feeding to drink more).
- Vitamins – I took daily pregnancy specific vitamins throughout pregnancy and then breast feeding, postnatal specific vitamins after to ensure we were both getting enough of all the right minerals and vitamins.
- Take your time, don’t rush – Mother nature designed your body to give priority to your baby’s needs over your own. I know we all want to try to get back into those fave jeans again or get back out there running or dancing, but the quicker you try any strenuous exercise or put too much stress on your body the more likely you are to cause injury and set yourself back, as ligaments and joints are still soft. I waited for that 6 week check up then made a start on some postnatal yoga and gentle exercising. 11 months down the line and I am running about after toby like there is no tomorrow – cherish the early days.
- Headspace – I have made sure I get a little time to myself each week, whether it is through exercise, reading, painting, playing the piano, having a bath (when you are allowed of course)… whatever is your thing and for you getting in your zone – I think it is so important to remember you are still you after having a baby, your life changes in so many ways but don’t lose focus on you or lose your sparkle.
Words by @simply.wellbeing