New Moms: Are You Taking Care of Yourself?

Angela Jenkins

| 4 min read

Tired, overwhelmed, excited, nervous, happy, elated and did I mention tired? All of these are common emotions of being a new mother. With a new member of the family in the home to care for, it can be easy to put yourself and your health on the back burner.
Most women who are pregnant usually try to make healthier lifestyle changes during these months but after the baby is born, the old habits kick back in. In fact, new parents — especially moms — tend to let their health slip due to committing time and energy to their children, a new study in the journal Pediatrics finds.
The study also found:
  • Mothers (unlike fathers) tended to have a higher Body Mass Index and less healthy diets than women their same age without children.
  • New moms usually ate 400 calories more a day than other women.
  • New mothers to eat more saturated fat and fewer green vegetables and drink twice the amount of soda than other women without children their age.
  • Mothers were eating as much fruit, whole grains, calcium and fiber as their childless counterparts, but weren’t able to do so consistently.
  • There were no similar differences found among men in this study.

Bouncing Back After Baby

It can be difficult and overwhelming to adjust to your having your new little one. It is so important to really try and make an effort to stay healthy after your baby is born. Mothers often neglect themselves due to a lack of time and stress and often lack energy (a lot of it due to an unhealthy diet). I’m sure the majority of mothers want to be healthy; here are some tips to keep your healthy pregnancy habits after the baby is born:
  • Plan your meals a head of time: It may take a little more time initially, but will save you time during the week. When planning the grocery list for the week, look at what ingredients you currently have and what you need for 7 breakfast, lunch and dinner meals. You will multitask when you write out the grocery list and have your healthy meals planned for the week.
  • Delegate: What can other family members help you with? Can your husband run some errands? Can your older children help with some chores? Really take a look at all that you do and try to figure out where you can use some help. It will help alleviate stress and give you more time to make healthy meals.
  • Slice up fruits and veggies after buying them at the store: I got this idea from watching Rachel Ray one day. She suggests cutting and bagging the produce right when you get home from the store. This saves time throughout the week and will help with making healthy meals for yourself and your family.
  • Drink that water: Water is a great way to keep you feeling full throughout the day. Drinking enough water tends to decrease snacking and eating empty calories as well. Drinking one 8-ounce glass of water before meals helps with overeating. Hunger pangs are often mistaken for being thirsty, so drink that water!
  • Cut out a little here and there: A nibble here, a bite there — all of those calories add up to unwanted pounds. If you are pressed for time like a lot of moms, really be conscious of what you are eating and make every calorie count. Here are 25 Ways to Cut 500 Calories a Day.
  • Alcohol: I enjoy having an occasional beverage (when I’m not pregnant of course), but it is really important to consume alcohol in moderation. Not only can the empty calories add up, there can also be health and social problems associated with drinking too much alcohol. If choosing to have a beverage, opt for some low calorie options.
  • Nicotine replacement: Did you kick the habit while pregnant and now have the urge? Try your hardest to fight it off. Remember how difficult it may have been to quit, even though you had the best motivation to do so? Try some nicotine replacement therapy before lighting up. Your body, health and most of all baby will thank you.
  • Exercise: We have heard it before: Exercising gives us energy. I am here to tell you it is true. Even if you start out and don’t feel like you have energy, you will by the time you are finished. More than likely, you will have a clearer head and just feel better overall. Time is usually a challenge with new moms or moms in general. Really make the time to schedule your workout, even if it is just 10 minutes at a time. Research shows that three 10-minute sessions of moderate-intensity exercise have the same benefits as one 30-minute session. Do yourself and your family a favor and make time to exercise!
What health habits did you kick during pregnancy that may or may not have come back to you?
Photo credit: ailatan

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