Becoming a parent is an exciting and challenging time, and with all the needs of a new baby to take care of it is easy for parents to put their own needs on hold. However, to be able to cope with all the demands of parenthood, it is vital that new parents keep their health in peak condition. Here are six ways for new parents to look after themselves.
Maintaining a healthy diet is essential to keep up energy and strength. Babies will disrupt the routine you had in place before – and it becomes a lot easier for meals to be accidentally skipped and cooking rushed. Eat as much fresh fruit and vegetables as possible. Smoothies are packed with nutrition and easy to make and drink, while salads can be prepared in stages if you keep getting interrupted. Both options can be kept in the fridge until you can eat them. Try to eat as close as possible to your normal meal times, and don’t skip breakfast or you’ll run out of steam early in the day.
With a new baby in the house, getting enough sleep can be difficult. Some people manage to catch up on lost night-time rest by catnapping during the day when the baby drops off to sleep, while other couples take turns at night duty. Some parents take shifts during the night, and others swap every day – one gets to sleep all night in a dark, quiet room, while the other stays close on hand to deal with the needs of the baby throughout the night. Getting enough sleep is vital for energy, maintaining good humour, and a positive attitude. Talk with your partner about how to plan your night baby-care routine that you can both get sufficient sleep.
Many couples watch their social life evaporate when they have a baby. Try to join other people who have young children. Sharing experiences and talking with others in similar situations can be positive, helpful, and enjoyable. Make time to get together with other young families for a picnic or lunch and feel the support of being with others in the same boat.
Try to keep to your regular exercise routine but adapt it to suit your needs and energy levels. Finding time to exercise can be tricky, so ease yourself gently back into shape after childbirth. Regular exercise and movement keeps your body functioning correctly, so start your day with a few minutes of stretching or yoga to get your heart pumping and blood flowing.
Make time to relax doing something you really enjoy. This could be a hobby, reading a book, watching a movie, taking a hot bath, getting a massage – whatever relaxes you. Partners should take turns to take on baby duties during set times, so you can have some comforting, restful time to yourself and do something that makes you feel good.
6. Get outside
Get outdoors as much as possible. Put on some hats and sunblock, pop the baby in a stroller and take a walk through the park or make a trip into the country to fill yourselves with new energy. The fresh air, exercise and being surrounded by nature will calm and nourish you both.
If you have a garden, spend as much time out in it as the weather permits. Surrounding yourselves with living greenery lets you enjoy the positive forces of nature. Encourage your child to walk without shoes on the grass as much as possible. Studies show that children who do this have stronger healthier feet which allow them to do more things, like running, biking and exercising. Walking barefoot also strengthens the senses, stimulates the nervous system, and boosts immunity. So, kick off the shoes and go barefoot whenever possible.