No sleep? Achy back? Little time to eat, let alone eat healthy. Exercise? What's that? Relationships? Who has time to spend on those?
If this sounds like you, you may be the proud new owner of a little human being. Congratulations on being a new mom! As wonderful as motherhood can be, keeping yourself healthy and balanced may not be a priority with all of the many other things you have to do to take care of baby such as changing diapers, feedings around the clock and cuddling with your new one.
Here's a few things to keep in mind to keep your health, and your sanity, while getting used to taking care of another person who depends on you for his/her every need.
Sleep! Ok, please don't laugh. As hard as this seems, try to sleep when baby is sleeping. Newborns sleep on average 16-17 hours out of 24. Seems like a lot, sure, but they do it in increments of typically 1-3 hours at a time. Your pre-baby 7-9 hours of straight sleep may now be more like 6-8 hours of intermittent sleep. If you just can't nap during the day, try to at least rest your feet and relax while baby is napping.
Eat. You have to stay fueled to take care of baby, so remember to eat throughout the day. If you are breastfeeding, remember your body needs additional calories and fluids to sustain milk production. Opt for healthy meals and snacks. Snacks like fruit, vegetables and hummus are healthy and quick when you do not have time to prepare a full meal. Just no time to cook? Try healthier take out options.
Exercise. When you get your doc's OK, try incorporating at least 30 minutes of exercise into your daily routine. Walks with the new baby in the new baby stroller or sling count! Not good weather- head to a mall or other location you can safely walk indoors. Or take up the offer to have someone babysit while you go to the gym for an hour. Check out http://www.activitytree.com/kids-classes-lessons-and-camps/baby/new-york... for a list of local classes for you and baby!
Ask for help. This can be hard for moms who have the notion that they can do it all. Please, save your sanity and ask for help when you need it- and you will need it! Rally support from your partner, family, friends, neighbors, especially in the beginning when you are getting used to being a mom if this is your first baby and when you are recovering from a vaginal or c-section delivery.
Prioritize. Some days the laundry will just not get done, and that's OK. Taking care of baby takes up a lot of time, plus if you have other children or a partner, they need some of your time as well. Regular housework and cooking may need to be pushed aside or delegated to others some days (or weeks, or months).
Have fun! As sleep deprived as you may be, this time with your newborn will go by quickly. Take the time to have fun, take pictures and make memories with your baby.
Get support. There are plenty of support groups, play groups, etc., with other new moms that you can join to have some adult conversation. See below for a list of local ones.
Check out these websites and groups in the Buffalo area:
Mothers & More 716-706-1509
Parents without Partners 716-684-0123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org