As a new mom, you’ll no doubt hear a lot of rhetoric about how rewarding motherhood is. And while there are certainly moments of abounding joy related to the miracle of childbirth and the act of raising a person from infancy to adulthood, you’ll also find that the learning curve on childcare is pretty steep. In fact, you could say that all of the “What to Expect” books in the world can’t prepare you for the realities of trying to function on just a couple hours of uninterrupted sleep at a time, especially when you’re trying to figure out whether your crying child is hungry, tired, in need of a diaper changes, seriously injured in some way, or merely uncomfortable. The truth is that being a new mom can be extremely stressful, confusing, and frustrating, leaving you more than a little fatigued. So if you’re looking for a few good ways to recharge and amp up your energy level, here are some tips to get you feeling like your sane and competent self once again so that you can enjoy your newborn.
- Diet. You’ve no doubt heard the saying “you are what you eat”, and in a way it’s true. When you scarf down nothing but junk food (which is what your body is bound to crave when you’re not getting enough sleep) you’re going to feel even more slovenly and sluggish. But when you opt for a balanced and nutritious diet you’ll not only pass along healthy byproducts to your baby; you’ll also start to feel better yourself. So skip the chips and soda and reach for lean meats, low-fat dairy, whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, and healthy fats (in the correct portions). You’ll start noticing more energy before you know it.
- Exercise. There is a common misconception that exercise will wear you out, which is not something you can bear to contemplate when you’re already exhausted. But the truth is that exercise can help to boost your mood thanks to the serotonin created by moderate-to-intense activity, and it can actually make you feel more energized throughout the day. In addition, it can contribute to deeper sleep, a must for any new mom. And if you’re looking to lose your baby weight, there’s no better way than by strapping your infant in the stroller each day for a walk or jog.
- Naptime. Most new moms are likely to snort in derision at the prospect of naptime, considering the remote possibility of extended rest. But it is an essential part of retaining your sanity and your ability to function when you have an infant in the home. Think about hiring a breastfeeding coach to teach you the proper way to lie down with your baby so that you can sneak in a few zees while he feeds and puts himself to sleep. You’ll not only get some great bonding time with baby, but you’ll squeeze in some much-needed rest in the process.
- Division of labor. You already went through the labor that brought your little bundle of joy into the world, but your job is far from done. Luckily, you can split the duties with your partner from here on out. Just because you provide the food doesn’t mean your spouse can’t complete nighttime feedings; all you have to do is express milk ahead of time (with a breast pump, for example) and you can get a few straight hours of sleep while your partner gets up for a feeding.
- Spa day. Scheduling a day of pampering with your gal pals at a day spa in Brookline Massachusetts or Los Angeles California can certainly help to improve your mood and leave you feeling rejuvenated. This can lead to increased energy and an overall relaxation that permeates the entire household, so don’t deny yourself this treat every once in a while.