3 Easy Steps to Being Super Mom!
Life after birth can feel like you are living in a surreal landscape. The anticipation of pregnancy has ended and all your hopes and dreams are wrapped up in your 7lb (ish) bundle of joy. It will, to some extent be like living in a haze. Naturally, some of that is due to sleep deprivation. Some of it is also due to the often-unreasonable expectations new parents place on themselves once baby arrives. Don’t do that.
To help yourself recover from the hard work of pregnancy and birth, help your hormones to settle more gently and make a smooth emotional transition to new motherhood, here are three basic life essentials that you can focus on every day.
* I think it goes without saying that this is in addition to caring for your babe which can feel so all consuming, that YOUR needs can be all but forgotten. And in these early days, some of that is built in; normal and necessary. But, I am not referring to going out to get your hair done, or maintaining a social life. There is lots of time for you to pick all that up later. What I am talking about is the opposite of trying to KEEP UP, doing only those things that aid you in rest, recovery and reassurance.
If you succeed at doing these three things well, at the end of every day, you can call yourself
Ok, here is the secret…… Reduce Life Down to It’s Bare Necessities.
Sounds so simple, eh? Well it is. And it isn’t.
It boils down to this- just do the things you need to stay alive - in the best nourished, best hydrated, best rested kind of way….
To help you figure it out, think about it like this; your job each day is to Eat, Sleep and Poop.
1. Eat- you need to fuel this amazing vessel that housed and then delivered your baby. Now that pregnancy is over, this does not mean you do not need to pay attention to your nutritional needs. It still matters! Especially if you are breastfeeding. Here are some ways to accomplish this:
Have easily accessible food at the ready. Frozen casseroles (preferably prepared by someone else), salads, sandwiches, fruit, yogurt, good quality power bars, left overs in single containers- are all good things to have on hand.
Eat as you like. If it doesn’t feel right to go back to 3 squares a day just yet…that’s ok. Adopt a grazer attitude and have small amounts of food as you go through out the day. Make sure you do this frequently though. If you are breastfeeding your body requires an extra 300-500 cal per day to keep your milk supply sufficient, so that means a decent amount of eating per day. Your baby will be eating around the clock with no clue or care as to what time it is. Do that too. Become a rebel. If you have a hard time remembering to eat as some new moms do, set an alarm. I’m not even kidding. Decide on the frequency with which you want to eat and set your phone to send you a reminder at the times you need to chow down.
While we are at it, don’t forget to drink. Just as hydration was a priority during pregnancy and birth, it remains a priority now. Your body is recovering and healing and possibly lactating. The fluids you ingest will all help in your journey towards wellness after birth. Being well hydrated is good for everyone as it aids our body in performing necessary functions to the best of it’s ability. For postpartum moms, it will also help with eliminating the extra fluids that were built up in your body after pregnancy. This means a faster reduction in any swelling that may have accumulated during pregnancy. Drink all kinds of good stuff - water (fizzy, still, with lemon, lime, cucumbers), fruit juice, broth and herbal teas. Fill up several re-usable bottles and have them at hand through out the house.
2. Sleep- everything is made worse by sleep deprivation and yes, sleep deprivation is an inherent part of new parenthood. This is a challenge for everyone but most especially if you are teetering on the edge of the baby blues. Not sleeping day after day and night after night may just very well push you over the edge.
So, here is what you do - You need to sleep when the baby sleeps.
It sounds like a cliché but that is because it is true. Your newborn will sleep between 6-18 hours a day. Grab some of that for yourself! Believe it or not, if you are savvy, you can get a decent AMOUNT of sleep within a 24-hr period. You just need to be willing to dive in to the widows of opportunity when they show up - and they will show up a lot. Your baby will have no concept of night and day. They will just simply sleep when the urge takes them. This is what you should do . Be a Mommy Copy Cat. As the baby’s eyes slowly shut down, drop everything and join in!
It may be a good idea to consider your sleep environment. Many people find it hard to sleep during the day. Look at your home and think about some things you can implement to make daytime sleeping easier. Consider black out drapes, eye masks, ear plugs, a noise machine or fan, adjusting the temperature in your room, putting on pyjamas and turning off all screened devices. These are things that mimic night time; the time that you are accustomed to going to bed. So, if your biggest and best chunk of sleep happens to land between 2pm and 5pm so be it!! This means that when you have to get up for the 3am feeding, you won’t be such a zombie.
3. Poop- your baby will be pooping like a BOSS. Again…copy that guy. He is the maestro here. During pregnancy, your digestive system may have become a little sluggish due to the re alignment of your organs as your baby grew. Things just didn’t move as smoothly. Well now is the time to pay attention to the end of the digestive process and poop like you wrote the book on that thing.
Consuming enough fibre and staying hydrated will go a long way to help with this. When planning your meals, think veggies, fruit, whole grains or food with lots of roughage. A stool softener is sometimes necessary and a big help. The hospital may send you home with some. Accept it graciously.
Remember, all else in your life is on hold for this precious time of rest, recovery and transition. You can add outside elements back in teeny tiny increments as they come up and as you feel like it. A short walk down the street (and by short, I mean 10 minutes) is a good first outing. Then go home and nap from all that adventure!
EAT! SLEEP! POOP!
These are the 3 items on your daily agenda. Do them. Check them off every day and BAM! You are super mom!