Whether it’s your first time being a new mum, or you’ve experienced it before, it can always be challenging. A new bundle of joy and happiness comes into your life, however, with it comes a huge shift in life as you know it.
As a new mum there’s pressure to snap back into shape, be a great parent and still maintain working and a relationship or marriage. We’re bombarded with information on how to ‘keep the plates spinning’ and be ‘the best mum’. But, with all of this at play, this leaves very little or no time to focus on readjusting to this huge change in your life both mentally and physically.
So, we asked three of our top experts at isoshealth for their tips for new mums – encompassing mind body and nutrition to really take care of yourself.
“Ditch the diet” – Ruth Kander, Dietitian
Embarking on a new diet plan not only takes up extra energy and money but most crucially time. Revamping your cupboards with new foods, ridding of all ‘bad foods’ and learning a new way to eat puts extra pressure on new mums that is simply not necessary. Ruth put’s success down to preparation, “Being a parent means you might have little time to yourself, let alone to cook. The key is preparation and tricks to save time.” Here’s how Ruth advises you can really make the most of your time when cooking and key ways to stay on track.
1) Meal plan so you know exactly what you need. Scope out your dinners and breakfasts first. Stick to one or two breakfast options you can alternate throughout the week. Bircher muesli or a simple banana bread are great options. Your dinners double up for the next day. Simply make double and send off your partner and kids with yummy stews, soups and leftovers – way better than soggy sandwiches!
2) Online shop to resist the urge for a bargain. This way you can avoid busy shopping with your kids in tow but also, you’ll only get what’s on your list.
3) Batch cook when you can. If you’re making one meal, simply double up on the recipe to save for later. A healthy root vegetable tagine with sweet potatoes, parsnips and celeriac is a great option. Add honey, cinnamon, cumin, garlic and turmeric for flavour. Finish with diced dried apricots and sultanas for sweetness and toasted almond flakes for texture. You can even save a little before adding any spice and puree or serve whole for your little one.
4) Share cooking and meal planning. Get your other-half, a friend or family to help. Feeding a family is a full-on job in itself!
“Fit in fitness” – Stephen Parkus, Physiotherapist
Having time to just relax can be a squeeze when you’re a new mum. That’s why Physio Stephen suggests engaging in some classic multitasking to help your body ease into motherhood. If fitness isn’t your thing, we’re not talking ‘baby yoga’ or sprints with the pram, more little bits of movement you can fit into your day. So here are his key areas of focus for new mums.
1. Pelvic floor weakness after pregnancy and delivery is very common, so it’s good to start pelvic floor squeezes, as advised by your midwife or physio. You can fit them in while sitting feeding or standing and washing up or even waiting for the kettle to boil!
2. Have a good feeding pillow to help with posture and reduce upper thoracic/back pain. Bring the baby up to you, rather than leaning over them. This can also be helped by a feeding chair which encourages a good posture.
3. When you’re ready to return to fitness, you can fit it in during spare moments of your day. Body weight squats, marching on the spot and rising on your tiptoes are all great exercises to get the blood pumping whenever you have a spare minute. You can also perform these exercises while holding your baby, as gentle body movement is soothing and helps baby get to sleep.
“Don’t compare yourself to others” – Tania Foad, CBT Therapist
Being a new mum regardless of whether it’s your first of sixth poses a challenge to the mind. It fundamentally will change life as you know it which can be unnerving for some mothers. What’s more post-natal depression is a commonly experienced condition leading to mothers feeling inadequate and unsuccessful as a new parent. Tania has worked with several mothers at different stages of their lives and so understands the complexities being a mother can bring. Her three pointers below reach out to any mums having a hard time or that are anxious at what is to come.
1. Don’t compare yourself to other mums or parents. This is more difficult now more than ever with social media but even the school run can be a place where comparison runs rife. Be confident in yourself and your parenting abilities – no two parents are the same and neither should they be!
2. Get socialising. Having a baby can be isolating at times but this is something you can manage. Reach out to your partner, family or friends if you are feeling lonely or simply need some ‘me time’. It’s not selfish but an important part of being a happy and healthy parent.
3. Ask for Help. Post-natal depression is one of the most misunderstood mental illnesses I come across. Post-natal depression is very common in both Mothers and Fathers. It is not a sign the parent is not doing a good job. Remember that help is out there all you need to do is ask for it – it is not a bad reflection on your parenting but a sign of strength and self-awareness. In my experience recovery from most cases of post-natal depression is achievable with the right support.
We hope you’ve found the views and expertise of one of our teams helpful. Focusing on our whole selves is so important when going through such a profound experience and having an expert’s words guide you can make the process a little smoother. If you’d like to try a free session with one of our experts, click here to book your session.