Becoming a mother is an experience that is unique and life-changing. As you give birth to your child, you soon realise that you’re responsible for everything in their small, precious life, especially healthy growth and development. When you become a mum, you join a very special group of people, as you instantly put someone’s needs before your own.
If you’re a mum, you can most certainly relate – between your child’s wants and needs, you can often feel overwhelmed, forgetting to care for yourself. It’s important to create healthy habits from day one, ensuring that you do not make some of the most common health-destroying mistakes.
3 Common Mistakes Young Mothers Make That Destroy Their Health
As soon as your baby is delivered, you enter the postpartum period, which, depending on the mother, generally lasts around six to eight weeks. During this time, you will be faced with a number of changes that will likely challenge your physical and emotional well-being. It’s important to adjust, making positive health decisions – unlike these common mistakes.
- Not sleeping enough
Whether you’re the proud mum or dad (like me), you know that every new parent suffers from some level of sleep deprivation. This is because babies have a different time clock than adults, waking up at all hours of the night. Of course, without being able to verbally communicate, you need to figure out why your baby is upset, so you can give them what they need.
Every baby is different and for some parents, they luck out – but in most cases, babies tend to awaken every three hours or so. Whether they want to be changed, fed or simply hugged, you’ll hear them crying out for you as you try and get some much-needed rest. Sure, you may not get a solid eight hours for a few months, but there are ways to ensure you get enough rest.
First of all, you need to take care of yourself so that you can properly care for your baby. The first couple of weeks, ask your partner and family members to help out as much as possible. During this time, you should be focused on feeding your baby and taking care of yourself – after all, you’ve been through a lot the past nine months.
Next, move your baby’s crib into your room so that during the night, you’re only a couple of steps away. When you put your baby down for a nap, get a little shut eye yourself. Even if you can’t fall asleep, laying down can be restorative, helping you reduce stress levels.
Lastly, begin pumping your breast milk so that way, you can delegate feeding time to your partner or even a family member staying over. At this time, focus on what matters – you and your baby. Don’t worry about having people over or making sure that the house is immaculate, and remember, this cycle will not last forever.
- Not eating properly
This is by far one of the most important aspects of both you and your baby’s health – especially as you breastfeed. During your pregnancy, your body will have gone through a number of changes and in order to heal and recover, you need to give your body and mind the tools it needs.
While lactating, it’s recommended that when you feel hungry, you eat. Since new mothers are often feeling exhausted, it’s important to have quick and easy options ready. Make a big batch of nutrient-rich trail mix or quinoa salad – it’s all about planning. Focus on a colourful diet, full of vegetables, fruit, fish, nuts, seeds, grass-fed dairy and whole grains.
Also, in the years to come, when you personally consume a balanced diet, your child will grow up eating these foods as well. Not only will nutrient-dense foods support their development, but also encourage healthy eating habits long-term. At the end of the day, you need fuel – so, choose the right foods and avoid sugar, artificial sweeteners, trans fats and all processed foods.
- Not addressing your mental health
There is no greater joy than a child, but for as many as one in seven Australian women, postpartum depression and anxiety are an unfortunate reality. As you can imagine, your body has been through a roller coaster in terms of hormonal changes which in turn, affect key brain chemicals.
When depressed, women do not generally eat right, do not sleep, lose interest in activities, feel hopeless, and lack the energy they need to care for their child. Although you may feel like there’s no way out, depression is a treatable condition. You can speak to a qualified health professional, seek education and community services, all while focusing on a more balanced lifestyle.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, speak up and ask for help – you need to practice positive self-care. Although challenging at first, this is an incredible experience, so it’s important to enjoy it. Practicing self-care doesn’t need to be over-the-top, it’s all about making small, beneficial decisions throughout the day.
As mentioned above, when your baby is sleeping, you can take a nap as well or eat a balanced lunch – instead of running around trying to finish all the household chores. When your partner gets home, take a hot bath with Epsom salts and essential oils, helping you relax. Hey, you may even have time to read one or two pages out of a new book you’ve been dying to read.
Your friends and family will help, so if you are beginning to feel anxious and drained, ask them to assist you. It could be as simple as asking your mum to pick up some groceries so that you can have a little down time here and there; or asking a friend to watch your child so that you can go for a much-needed walk.
At the end of the day, you’re a new mum and that’s pretty special. Be sure to enjoy these magic moments, no matter how stressful they may be. Before you know it, your baby will be crawling, walking and then going to school. Don’t ever wish time away and in order to feel your best, make sure you eat right, get adequate amounts of sleep and never avoid diminishing mental health.
If you would like individual health or post-natal advice, contact us today and one of our experts will help you.