Self-care tips for new moms
'You'll never get your pre pregnancy body back', is something nearly every mom has heard. Nothing can be further from the truth. 30 mins a day and a...
"You'll never get your pre pregnancy body back", is something nearly every mom has heard. Nothing can be further from the truth. 30 mins a day and a plan is all you need to feel like you again.
A mother has special powers, the power to ignore her own aches and pains for her child. To get up after a surgery and care for another human being while she is need of rest. A mother has indominable will power when it comes to her child.
Here are the top things you can do to care for yourself and in turn the health of your baby. These are not nice to dos, consider then must dos.
Sleep is the key to recovery, balanced hormones and a healthy body. Something new moms are heavily deprived off but in dire need off.
You will hear " sleep when the baby sleeps" realistically this means falling asleep and being woken with a jolt in deep sleep, to feel groggy and cranky later.
Creating a routine for you and your baby is the only solution. Like a hostel schedule where everything from a bath to a feed and lights out is included. Having a nighttime routine that repeats without change daily, communicates to the baby that it's time to wind down.
Asking family for help is essential, see if someone can watch your baby while you take an afternoon nap. Pump in advance and give them the feed to handle. Take turns with your spouse to manage alternate nights.
Remember, this is not a privilege, this is not selfish, this is essential to recovery. Your body just created a tiny human being from scratch. It worked overtime for 9 months, it needs to recover.
Not alcohol, aerated beverages or sweetened beverages. Those are a big NO NO. Avoid the temptation of caffeine too because what you eat and drink is what reaches your baby through your feed.
Focus on drinking lots of water. A glass before and after every feed and more through the day. Increase milk production is directly related to hydration.
Try Boiling ajwain, methi, jeera, saunf and ginger for about 20 mins and diluting it in your days drinking water. This traditional concoction helps with lactation and reduces gas in the little ones.
Eat the rainbow
Local seasonal produce is always the best option, eat as much variety as you can. As many different coloured vegetables and fruits as you can. Opt to eat over juicing to retain the good fiber to help in digestion and constipation.
Aim to eat a variety of green leafy vegetables at leastfour times a week, Add them to your rotis, curries or dals. Palak is a common Indian staple but focus on the other super greens especially moringa and dill leaves if you are lactating.
The more variety you eat the more nutrients you and your baby get. Trying new foods is a great way to get your baby accustomed to new flavours and makes them more open to trying these foods when they start solids.
Ensure you get in a serving of probiotics, like curd, daily. Every meal should have a generous portion of lean protein, vegetables and good fats (like ghee). Even as vegetarians the Indian diet is rich in proteins, just remember to include dairy, lentils or legumes.
Add soaked almonds on waking or a handful of dry fruits and seeds as snacks. Here's a pro tip : use sprouted whole grains to get an additional dose of nutrients. Grains such as wheat, bajra, jowar, ragi are considered much healthier than their dried ones.
Add generous amount of garlic to your food to boost immunity and ginger for digestive health. Keep fry ginger handy to add to foods.
Stay away from foods high in mercury like Swordfish, Shark, King Mackerel, Tilefish, Basa etc. Limits foods high in sodium, this covers all processed and packaged food.
Once cleared by your doctor most mothers are ok to start exercising 12 weeks post-delivery. However, all are allowed to start walking with 2 weeks usually. Aim to get in atleast a 30 minute walk daily, even if it is a slow gentle walk to start with. Take your baby for a stroll in the park as get two birds with one stone.
Post 12 weeks focus on starting some form of exercise daily to help your body reach pre pregnancy state quickly. If you follow the food and hydration guidelines, exercise will not cause any changes in lactation.
Every baby is different and we each one reacts to each food differently.
Once might be colicky from you eating brinjal and another from cauliflower, to make this easier maintain a journal. Write down what you eat and at the end of the day write down how your baby is feeling. Very quickly you will be able to identify patterns that enable you to make decisions on what works for your baby and you.
New moms face postpartum depression due to a cocktail of hormones in circulation. For most new mothers, the change in routine, the thought that their old self and life is gone can be debilitating.
It is essential to take some time out for oneself, to do little things that calm your mind and body. It could be anything you like a long hot shower, a foot massage, a nap, listening to music, going for a class, colouring, reading or meditation. Even if it is just 10 minutes a day it is essential to your emotional wellbeing.
Add a little saffron to your day to help relax you and fight the blues.
If you feel overwhelmed, talk to someone, see a professional if required. If you see a loved one struggling, get them to see a professional or speak to your gynecologist. Postpartum depression is common and overwhelming.
(The writer is a lifestyle and transformation coach)