GREAT HEALTH: Self-Care For New Mothers Part 2 - Great Health Guide
GREAT HEALTH: Self-Care For New Mothers Part 2

GREAT HEALTH: Self-Care For New Mothers Part 2

‘Self-Care For New Mothers Part 2’ by Alison Mitchell published in Great Health Guide (June 2016). In Alison’s previous article, she shared some key ways to care for yourself after having a baby. In her follow-up article, she shares even more great tips for new mothers.
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GREAT HEALTH: Self-care For New Mothers Part 2

written by Alison Mitchell

Being a new mother can be a wonderful experience, but if you are feeling poorly then it can be difficult to enjoy this time to the fullest. Taking care of your mind and body will allow you to cope with the stresses, such as sleep deprivation, placed on you during this time and it will also have a flow on effect to improve the health of your baby.

Part 1 of Self-Care for New Mothers was covered in the April issue of Great Health GuideTM . I shared some key ways to care for yourself after having a baby including taking time for yourself, practicing mental stillness and ensuring that you were obtaining adequate nutrition. 

Below are some more ways to care for yourself after having a baby.

1. Meal prep:

It’s not uncommon for new mums to sacrifice their good eating habits due to lack of time to cook, often resorting to take away food or to meals that are quickly thrown together and don’t contain the variety of nutrients that a new mother needs. If possible start making and freezing some healthy meals while you are pregnant, but if you haven’t been able to do this you can start meal prepping now. 

In addition to freezing meals in advance, you can also try the following ways of building up your meal reserves. 

  • Make extra servings for dinner and set them aside for lunch the next day.

  • Take an hour or two a week to make a big meal that you can separate into portions and freeze.

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  • Prepare your breakfast the night before so that it is ready to go in the morning.

  • Organise groceries to be delivered either by ordering from companies which ship variety boxes or order online from the supermarket. Ideally start this before you’ve given birth so that you don’t have to stress about it now.

  • Ask some friends or family members to bring you some meals.

When deciding what to cook, I have found it best to have a meal which could be eaten with one hand and wasn’t too hot as I often held my baby on my lap while eating – a newborn’s schedule is rather unpredictable. 

2. Move and stretch:

Every day for 5-10 minutes, perhaps while you’re in the shower or before you go to bed, stretch your neck, arms, back and sides. You can find plenty of short yoga routines that you could follow on YouTube. Try to make this a daily ritual. 

Lifting, holding and feeding baby can take its toll on your body and muscle tension can lead to low moods, poor sleep and reduced milk supply. If possible get a monthly massage to aid in the reduction of muscle tension as well.

After the first 6 weeks aim to go for a walk outside with your baby, every couple days for about 30 minutes. It’s a great way to get some fresh air and a change of scenery but walking is also an excellent way to keep fit without placing strain on damaged and tired muscles from pregnancy, childbirth or C-section. 

3. Talk to other grownups:

It’s so easy to lock yourself away with baby and forego spending time with other friends and family. When the excitement of new baby wears away visitors start to dwindle, so it comes back to you to reach out for interaction with your adult friends. I consider this to be important for a few reasons: it helps you to maintain relationships which so easily can dissolve during this period of life, it keeps you mentally active and it gives you an opportunity to talk about how you are feeling and coping.

In addition to keeping in contact with your existing friends, I recommend making connections with other mothers by joining local mothers’ groups or perhaps attend Australian Breastfeeding Association meetings or access information from their website. 

4. Follow your intuition:

There was a time when we used to have a network, or village of people surrounding us that provided guidance when we had doubts about child-rearing. But now we are not surrounded by this small intimate group of trusted people, instead we now have the Internet. 

This can be both a blessing and a curse since while we can usually find an answer within minutes to questions such as ‘Why does my newborn squeak/snort/poo green’ etc., it’s easy to come across comments or articles that make you feel inadequate or judged. 

There are likely to be plenty of friends, family or acquaintances that will tell you what worked for them as well but remember that this may not always be the best thing for you. It’s great to get information but there is rarely one right way to do things so trust your own intuition and do what’s right for you and your baby. 

Taking care of yourself as a new mother is just as important as taking care of your baby. Look after your body by eating well and keeping active and look after your mind by practicing mental stillness and maintaining contact with friends and family.

Author of this article:
Alison Mitchell is a Naturopath based in Windsor and Bella Vista, NSW, Australia. She is passionate about helping people reclaim their health and vitality by blending traditional healing methods with the latest research. She has an interest in women’s health and digestive issues. She believes that life is meant to be enjoyed and that good health is one of the best ways to do this. Connect with Alison on Facebook or through her website. 

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