With a newborn in the house, sometimes it can feel like a hurculean effort to even get dressed before noon, much less, shower, go grocery shopping, cook dinner and fix your hair. If you're a working Mom - the stress increases along with the workload. Goodbye sleep, hello anxiety!
Many new Moms worry about figuring out how to look and feel their best as they adjust to the 'new normal' that parenthood brings. I remember being shocked to realize, about 6 months after my son was born, that I wouldn't be getting a "break" or "vacation" any time soon. There was no fairy godmother coming to help me return to those luxurious mornings of sleeping in, hours on the computer reading emails and chatting with friends, or the ability to sit down and read a whole book on my own.
So, I decided to make a few adjustments in my life I'd like to - I hope you'll find them helpful as well as you cope with life with a new baby, and wanting to feel GREAT in your body again...
To motivate you I was about 150 lbs before I got pregnant (I am 5' 10"). I gained about 40 lbs with the pregnancy. I eventually went down to 128 lbs using the tips mentioned below.
How To Regain Your Sanity and Health After Having A Baby
1) Eating Well - I realized that my son was benefitting (or not) from everything I ate since I was breastfeeding (similar to when I was pregnant). I decided to really make an effort to eat for nutrition rather than weight loss. I didn't work on excluding any foods from my diet. I just worked on INCLUDING good foods - especially fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats (fax seed meal, walnuts, etc.) rather than excluding anything.
2) Exercise - I started getting outdoors every day. I didn't put any pressure on myself to "workout." My goal was to spend 30 minutes a day walking every day. Accomplishing something like this gives you that "I got something done" feeling that I often lacked staying at home with the baby. To start off with, I carried my son in a sling, but when he got old enough to sit up, I switched over to a BOB jogging stroller. The BOB stroller is a top of the line jogging stroller, it works great if you're running, but I usually walked. It has a 3-wheel design so it can lock in place if you're jogging, and unlock and pivot very easily. This is a great indoor-outdoor stroller that I use all the time for shopping, and hiking, not just for jogging/walking.
3) Sleep - The untold secret is that once your baby starts sleeping through the night at 2-3 months, you're not good-to-go. My son continued to have months where he would get up in the night almost every night well after he was 12-months old. (We used attachment parenting - not the cry it out method - but he did sleep in a different room from us. I found that having him sleep in the same room was VERY distracting to me when he would make noises and be fussy. Even if he was asleep, I would wake up with my heart racing when I heard these noises. I strongly recommend finding a good night time sleep solution that works for you and DON'T BE AFRAID OR EMBARRASSED TO TAKE NAPS. When you are well-rested, you are happier, and that makes you a better wife and mother.
4) Disposable Diapers - This may sound crazy, but I had the "fun" of using cloth diapers when I was at a retreat center and I was amazed at how they would get wet and stay wet every time my son peed! We'd been using disposables at home and they worked so much better for us because when your baby pees, the moisture is absorbed and he can sleep through the night again without noticing it. This is good for everyone!
5) Appreciation - It can be easy to get cranky as you bemoan loneliness, boredom, and lack of conversation as you hang out with your little one. We've all been there and it's okay to admit it. That being said... use some effort to focus on the positive. You have a happy, healthy baby who will relish his time with his mother and even though he can't talk yet, your baby is absorbing the love in his environment that you are providing. My sister - the psychology major - has told me all about the emotional imprinting that happens to very young children. Rejoice in the fact that you are there to take care of him and love him every day!