Story by CRYSTAL BREAUX // May/June 2017
In the March/April issue of IN Magazine, I shared strategies on how women can maintain a healthy diet and regularly exercise during pregnancy. It is even a greater challenge for women to do this after the baby arrives.
It is amazing that a tiny baby take so much of mom’s time and energy. Taking care of a baby is fun and rewarding but it is also exhausting. Finding time to exercise, eat healthy and tend to one’s personal health seems impossible when there are so many things to do.
When I had a baby, the increased amount of work at times left me exhausted. As a woman who always has loved to exercise and prepare healthy food for my family, I had to change my mindset when the baby arrived. I had to look at things differently in order to also take care of my own health.
SET A ROUTINE
Getting the baby on a regular schedule of eating, sleeping and napping is important. It allows new moms to count on having at least small pockets of time each day to exercise, prepare meals and relax.
Many resources provide strategies that help mothers put their baby on a regular schedule of sleeping and feeding.
When babies sleep and eat regularly, mom is more rested and better able to focus on her health and in return is better able to take care of her baby, spouse and other children.
MAKE GOOD CHOICES
To prevent from becoming overwhelmed, frustrated and unorganized, a new mom should delegate some of her responsibilities to others and put some of her usual commitments and chores on hold for a while.
Many times a new mom will try to continue doing all of the things — such as special projects and volunteer work — that she was doing before she had the baby.
Trying to do too many things will leave a mom feeling completely un-nurtured and zapped.
TAKE TIME TO EXERCISE
Once the baby’s routine is slightly established (it is never perfectly set with a baby) and new priorities are in place, a new mom often can find 20 to 30 minutes each day to exercise or enjoy personal time.
She likely will have to use her exercise and personal time differently than she did before the baby was born. A new mom likely will not be able to go to a gym for an hour. She must adjust to a new schedule and may not be able to do as much exercise as she did before the baby arrived.
After I had a baby, there were days I only was able to work out for about 20 minutes at home using weights and a resist-a-ball. However, the exercise not only was good for my body, but my mind and attitude as well.
If 15 minutes is all the free time a new mom has while the baby naps, she should take advantage of it. I am a big believer in exercising at home. I love creating exercise plans that women can do at home. The plans are easy and the exercises can be done while baby is resting.
EAT HEALTY MEALS
A new mom also should avoid the temptation of only eating meals that are convenient but unhealthy and she should never skip a meal because she is too busy taking care of everyone else.
A meal doesn’t have to be “gourmet” or time consuming to be healthy. Preparing quick and healthy meals is important.
It is easy for a new mom and her family to get and stay in the rut of eating out every night. Make eating out a fun and a special occasion and not the norm.
When a new mom takes care herself she is not being selfish. She is ensuring that she is physically and mentally healthy so she can be the best she can be for the new life in her home.
New moms, take a deep breath and make sure all of you are taking care of yourselves. Your babies deserve it.
Crystal Breaux is a licensed wellness and Christian life purpose coach. To learn more about her, go to yourfitnessdesigner.com.