Those first few months after bringing baby home are going to be tough. You may have let a few things slide during your third trimester, but now that the baby is here it’s time to get back on track! Here are six things you shouldn’t give up now that you’re a new mother:
Especially yoga! We’re huge fans of yoga because it helps with almost every aspect of mommyhood – being in the moment, deep breathing, patience, relaxation – and it gets your heart rate moving. If you’ve been doing prenatal yoga, keep your momentum going by signing up for a regular yoga class. You can even incorporate your baby into your workout – we’ve seen studios with Baby Wearing Yoga classes that will get your butt in gear while you bond with baby!
2. Healthy Food
You’re going to think this is a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how easy it is to forget to eat entirely. Between changing diapers, breastfeeding, and trying to snatch an hour or two of sleep whenever you can, meal preparation is the last thing on your mind. If you don’t plan ahead, you’ll find yourself scarfing down whatever’s in the pantry (last year’s Halloween candy? Stale Cheerios?). During your third trimester, make twice as much for dinner and freeze half of it. Then you’ll have healthy, ready-to-go meals you don’t have to worry about. Also, keep lots of nutritious prepared snacks on hand, like nuts, string cheese, and carrot sticks.
You’ve likely heard the advice to ‘sleep when the baby sleeps,’ but if you’ve got work to do or another child to take care of, this isn’t always possible. Still, sleep is something you should definitely not forego. It’s more important than cleaning your house, surfing the Internet, or reading a book. When you have a spare half hour, get some rest! If you’re taking naps, you’ll be more productive and in a better mood when you’re awake.
It can be hard to keep up friendships when you’ve got a newborn, especially if your friends don’t have children. But luckily, you’ve become an automatic member of the New Moms’ Club! Most moms love to talk about their children, and most cities offer plenty of opportunities to socialize with fellow parents. Check out your local library for baby storytime, and grab a cup of coffee with a friend before you go! You can easily find local moms’ groups on Meetup and Facebook. Hike It Baby is a group that coordinates walks, strolls, and hikes for parents with birth to school-age kids. Who knows? Your baby might meet his or her future best friend!
5. You Time
When you’re the only source of milk for your breastfed baby, you can’t steal away for more than two hours unless you’ve pumped. But taking just a half hour or an hour can be the best thing you do for your sanity. Head to a local coffee shop or deli and enjoy your favorite beverage or a tasty sandwich, or you can just take a walk around the block. Remember – if you can hear the baby crying, it doesn’t count as ‘you time’!
6. Your Sense of Humor
When your little one has been crying for three hours straight in the middle of the night, or the poop is flying across the room, or you just can’t quite get the hang of breastfeeding, you’re going to need that sense of humor. It can be hard to see the funny side of certain situations – particularly when you’re exhausted – but that’s where your significant other can help. If you’re getting frustrated, let Dad take over so you can regroup. There’s plenty of humor to be found in taking care of a baby. So take a deep breath, relax, and just shake your head and smile at the crazy, wonderful world you’ve brought your child into.
Becoming a mother is one of the most challenging, exciting, joyful roles you will take on in your lifetime, but it shouldn’t necessarily define you. Don’t let the woman you were before you became a mom – or the woman you’d like to be someday – get lost in the shuffle. Take care of yourself, and you’ll do a better job of taking care of your child.