Your new baby has become the center of attention. But don't forget to take care of yourself, too! Here are a few tips on staying healthy and happy (and sane!) after the baby arrives.
Sleep whenever you can. As tempting as it may be to use your baby's nap time to catch up on cleaning and laundry, sleep trumps household chores. If you're feeling anxious about that pile of dishes in the sink, ask for some help with the chores. Try to stay as well-rested as you can so it will be easier to deal with unexpected changes to your baby's sleep schedule.
Eat well and get plenty of fluids. Sure, you're trying to lose that baby weight. But you still need nutritious food and fluids to keep your energy up and stay healthy. Plus, losing weight too fast could affect your milk supply if you're breast-feeding. Choose a variety of foods from Canada's Food Guide, and remember that breast-feeding moms need an extra 500 calories each day.
Exercise once you get your doctor's OK. Start with some mild exercise, such as walking, and move on to more ambitious workouts as you feel better. Keep in mind that your joints will still be loose for 3 to 5 months after you give birth.
Get out of the house. Once a day, every day, go outside with your baby. It doesn't have to be a grand outing just do some errands or drop by a friend's place. If the weather is bad, try going to a local mall for an indoor walk.
Connect with other moms. Your local health unit or library may offer a free mom-and-baby group. Use it to meet other mothers and have an outing. You'll share stories and advice and get some much-needed adult conversation. And you may even find a few new friends to stay in touch with after the course. You can also connect with other moms online.
Take some "mommy time" each day. Get your partner, a family member, or friend to watch your baby while you do something that's just for you. Ideally, go somewhere that you can't hear the baby crying. Go to a coffee shop and read a book or magazine, watch an episode of your favourite TV show, or take a long hot shower.
Get help if you feel overwhelmed or depressed. It's normal to have the "baby blues" for a couple of weeks after giving birth. But see your doctor if you still feel depressed after 2 weeks, you're having trouble functioning, you're struggling to take care of yourself or your baby, or you have thoughts of hurting yourself or the baby.
Don't feel guilty about taking some time for yourself. This time will also benefit your baby, by making you a happier, healthier mom.
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