KEEP FIT: Yoga or pilates classes will help to ease tension and will restore your flexibility, through stretching.
MCT photo
KEEP FIT: Yoga or pilates classes will help to ease tension and will restore your flexibility, through stretching. MCT photo

As a new mother with a baby to care for, it’s easy to forget about looking after yourself, but your own wellness will help you to be the best parent you can be.

If you are stressed, hungry or unhappy, your baby will sense this and feel unsettled and insecure.

This can also affect their sleeping habits. Then you may find yourself in a vicious circle where you are left feeling even more tired and worn-out.

Finding a balance is vital to your own health and your baby’s.

Breakfast

Good nutrition is especially important when you have a newborn, to keep your energy up, even though you may be sleep-deprived.

Breakfast remains the most important meal of the day because it kick-starts your metabolism and sets you up for the busy day ahead.

Porridge with berries or muesli, and yoghurt, are excellent options to help you avoid ‘baby brain’ (how motherhood can affect your mental ability and memory).

Limiting the amount of sugar and caffeine you consume during the day will help you to wind down at bedtime, and therefore maintain a regular sleep pattern.

Make sure you include lots of vitamin C, iron, zinc and antioxidant rich foods in your diet, such as citrus fruits, fresh and lean red meat and chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and green vegetables. Also ensure you drinks lots of water to stay hydrated.

Ensuring adequate rest and recuperation will help you to maintain your coping mechanisms.

Lots of women feel the pressure to be constantly responding to their baby’s needs and then neglect their own, so make it a priority to have some relaxation time for yourself.

Taking a nap when your baby sleeps will help restore your energy.

Do not overlook the importance of putting in place a support system to get you through the tough times.

Sometimes new mothers find it difficult to accept help as they feel like they are failing their babies by not doing everything themselves.

Taking and even asking for help when you need it is central to maintaining your well-being.

Let your partner do occasional night feeds, and look to your friends and family for support with the housework.

Connect with other new mothers in your community so you can help each other out.

The Meet-A-Mum Association (www.mama.bm) is a good place to start.

Make sure you find time to exercise too, as it will help you to feel revitalised and will restore balance in your life. 

Be careful not to overdo it though. Don’t give yourself the added stress of trying to squeeze back into your skinny jeans at breakneck speed.

Start small and strong, with a 20-minute walk with your baby, and pelvic lifts in your home.

Relaxation

Your baby now dictates your time so fitness DVDs are a great way to fit in a workout when you unexpectedly get some time in your schedule. 

If you can get out of the house for an hour or so alone, try yoga or pilates classes. These combine exercise with relaxation techniques and you can set your own pace.

Many of the poses are designed to ease tension from your body and will help you to regain flexibility, through stretching.

If not, then don’t panic; many gyms and leisure centres provide childminding facilities. For example, Bermuda Salsa offers tango classes with childcare. See www.bermudasalsa.com for more information.

Don’t underestimate the power of a few deep breaths, a splash of cold water on your face, or a blast of your favourite music to make you feel normal again.

Having a baby can create a lot of change in your life, not just your hormones, and it’s natural to feel overwhelmed at times.

Take it day by day and talk through your challenges with those around you — after all, a problem shared is a problem halved.

Gwyneth Rawlins is a customer relations specialist at the Argus Group. She has worked in the insurance industry for more than 18 years, both locally and overseas. She is knowledgeable in medical and financial underwriting and has a wealth of experience in customer service and staff training. See www.argus.bm