The new mom months are a crazy time. So many new experiences, hormones raging, pain and soreness mixed with exhilarating love. New motherhood changes you in so many ways, both emotionally and physically.
I love coaching women to develop healthy habits, self-love, and positive self-talk in the postpartum months. Your health (physically and mentally) plays a big role in raising your tiny babe. Here are a few of my tips for feeling your best.
Be gentle. Be gentle with yourself, your body, your baby, your mind. Be nice to yourself. Speak to yourself like you’d speak to your daughter or BFF or sister that you absolutely LOVE. I highly recommend positive mantras or affirmations as a way to develop a positive relationship with your body. Your self talk will truly influence your self-esteem much more than any weight loss could.
First things first. Okay this should go without saying, but seriously. Listen to your body. Think about what your body needs. Are you craving more exercise? Get out for a walk. More sleep? Put down your phone and for the love of god, try and sleep when you can. Dying of thirst all day? Buy a freaking huge water bottle and fill it! (Cute water bottles + water tips here!) When it’s empty, re-fill it! Only YOU can determine what your body needs NOW. Every mom is different. Every pregnancy is different. We all bounce back at different rates and bouncing back has nothing to do with a personality trait aka you are not weaker or less than for taking longer to get into a groove! You do you, babe.
Social support. There is no time like the early postpartum months that social support is more crucial. After the initial wave of visitors and meals and calls are done, you are left with little sleep and a new tiny (and maybe crying) baby to care for. It can definitely be overwhelming. Meet up with other moms at local mom groups, using the Peanut app, or through mom based fitness classes like Stroller Strides. It feels good to be around other women who are going through (or have been through) what you are.
One thing at a time. This is my golden rule when it comes to coaching. One habit at a time. When you are ready to address your health and fitness, adopt one new habit at a time and stick with it for at least a week (maybe 2-3) before adding anything else. You are raising a brand new little baby. There are already a million things on your plate. Don’t try and do a huge diet/exercise overhaul all at once. You’ll end up disappointed which is no good at all. Focus on one habit. I always recommend starting with a prenatal vitamin if you aren’t taking one (yes even postpartum). Other great places to start are a protein shake blended with peanut butter in the morning, 10+ glasses of water per day and even more if breastfeeding, walking 15 minutes per day, etc. One manageable habit at a time will get you much further than going full force and then quitting 100 times.
Eat your Veggies. Vegetables are golden when it comes to the postpartum diet. Why?? You need all the vitamins you can get, they are a source of hydration since they have a high water content, and you get a lot of caloric bang for your buck. What does that mean?? You can snack on a TON of veggies with very few calories, but still feel full thanks to the fiber they contain. That fiber also keeps you regular, which any new mom will tell you is important… #ColaceFTW…. SO. The easiest way for a busy mama to get her veggies in is getting raw carrots, celery, peppers, and/or cucumbers and making sure they are all washed and chopped in the fridge. Bonus points for putting them in individual containers or baggies (you overachiever, you). Then find a dip you like. There are so many amazing flavors of hummus. Find one and buy it! Then snack.
Get moving. After you get the okay to exercise, don’t feel the need to get back into your old gym routine. Just start with whatever feels good. It is definitely possible to get a great workout in at home. There are apps and youtube channels dedicated to this, plus a million body weight workouts you can do at home. And don’t underestimate the power of a good stroller walk!
Routine. Simple routines are everything, especially for a new stay-at-home mom. Even if you aren’t sure what your baby’s schedule will bring you for the day…. Every morning- up, dressed, and make a plan! Managing your time (as possible) makes everyone feel a little better. If you have any specific errands to run, make your list the night before (or during the middle of the night nursing sesh.
Food, fast. Utilize food prepping to avoid being forced to head out for fast food. By cooking a batch of chicken in the crockpot on Monday afternoon, you will at least have protein for sandwiches or salads, with any combo of sauces or dressings will make your life easier. I also recommend coming up with a list of quick snacks that you love. Make sure they include a combination of either protein + carb or fat +carb (or all three!). The point is to avoid carb-filled snacks, because they will only leave you feeling hungry after about an hour. And no mama has time for that.
Intuitive eating. Before you head for the kitchen in search of a meal or snack, think about how you are feeling? Are you hungry? Starving? Bored? If so, eat accordingly, but be aware of how you feel. If you are a new breastfeeding mom, crazy hunger may strike in the middle of the night. And that’s totally fine! Grab one of those quick/healthy snacks we talked about above and eat up. I kept little bars and snacks in my nightstand when I was a brand new mom because I was often starving after nursing in the middle of the night. It’s important to be in tune with your hunger cues because after the nursing munchies subside, you don’t want to continue chowing down strictly out of habit if you aren’t actually hungry. So pay attention!
And a bonus..... Baby blues or ppd? Postpartum depressive disorders can come on at any time up until a year old. Be aware of your moods, how they change, and make sure you contact your doctor if you aren’t feeling like yourself.