The transition to a caregiving role that comes with a newborn can oftentimes be a challenge for working mothers during their maternity leave. Here are 5 tips to create a positive environment for new moms.
There is no time that is filled with as many changes as the months after childbirth. Not only are you transitioning to a whole new normal (although, as it turns out, nothing is truly normal), but you are also recovering emotionally, physically and hormonally. This makes maternity leave an intense time.
While self care often goes to the back burner when you have a baby, here’s how you can survive this wonderfully crazy, beautiful and messy chapter as a first-time mom:
1. Allow for help.
When you’ve spent the majority of your adult life accomplishing both career and personal goals on your own, it can be hard to allow for help. But not only do moms need help, people want to help! Whether it’s asking your partner to take care of the household chores, allowing coworkers to bring meals to your home, or finding an empathetic ear to sob to, get yourself the help you need.
If you need more help than from friends and family, seek out professionals for breastfeeding support, postpartum depression/anxiety or any other issues you are experiencing. Allowing for help doesn’t make you weak; it makes you strong. As the saying goes, “it takes a village”!
2. Get outside.
When you are in the trenches of early motherhood, it’s hard to know up from down, much less day from night. Getting outside, even if it’s just around the block, can do wonders for your psyche. If you can leave the baby with someone to clear your head for a moment, that’s even better. If not, a baby carrier or stroller can allow you to breathe in some fresh air while still caring for your child.
3. Carve out time for sleep.
There’s no more cringe-worthy advice than a well-rested person telling you to “just sleep when the baby sleeps!” While taking naps throughout the day can seem like an impossible task when you have things around the house to take care of, sleep is still very important.
If sleeping at random times throughout the day does not work for you, carve out a designated time to nap. Catching a little sleep during your baby’s morning nap can help you feel better about sleeping during the day. While it may not happen daily, prioritizing a nap at some point of the day can help you cope with the demands of taking care of a newborn.
4. Make mealtime easy!
With marathon nursing sessions, the “witching hour” that lasts way longer than an hour, and a baby that doesn’t want to be put down, there is little time to eat, let alone prepare food. The best recipes are the ones that only required a few ingredients, minimal directions, and little clean-up time, such as pasta dishes, stir-fries and egg scrambles.
And most importantly, let go of eating “healthy.”
The early months are all about survival, so don’t worry if you end up having your fair share of frozen meals and packaged foods during maternity leave. As soon as you find some semblance of a routine, you can begin adding healthier homemade meals back into your life.
5. Give yourself a break.
Of the most important things you can do as a new mom, it is to be kind to yourself. Navigating these uncharted waters can be scary and overwhelming. Just remember: when you’re up in the middle of the night wondering if you’re strong enough for this role, you absolutely are.
And you’re not alone.
Adapted from the original article.
Jessica Spiro, RD, CLC is a registered dietitian nutritionist from Encinitas, CA specializing in pre- and post-natal nutrition, as well as cancer, food allergies, diabetes management, and heart health. Check out more fun recipe ideas and nutrition tips with Jessica!