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Becoming a parent is the experience of a lifetime. Even though you’re bursting with pride and joy about your new addition to the family, it can be difficult to stay healthy during your baby’s first year of life due to major time and sleep constraints. Here are some tips for new parents to stay healthy.
This tip is especially important for breastfeeding mothers. When you’re running around the house all day caring for your baby, you might forget your own basic needs, like adequate food and water. Your body depends on hydration to perform vital functions, and you might notice symptoms like headaches and sluggishness when you’re low on water. Make sure to drink a glass of water first thing in the morning to rev up your metabolism for the day and provide your cells with the water they need.
Make Time for Exercise
For the first few weeks or even months after your baby is born, exercise probably won’t be possible. However, as soon as you feel ready, it’s important to start back on an exercise routine. Not only is exercise good for your cardiovascular health, but it’s also a great stress reliever. It’s not realistic to expect to exercise for an hour per day when you have a new baby at home, so aim for shorter workouts, like 20 minutes each day. Taking your baby for a brief walk around the neighborhood is a wonderful way to start.
Use Healthy Food Alternatives
After you have a child, family members and friends often chip in with home-cooked meals to save you from having to cook. While this incredibly kind gesture is often a lifesaver, several weeks of eating less than healthy meals can quickly take its toll. When you’re ready to find a normal routine again, opt for healthy alternatives to old favorites like mayonnaise and salad dressing. Try the eggless, plant-based versions from hampton creek. These healthier alternatives to condiments can help you start eating more veggies.
Sleep deprivation can lead to a host of negative side effects, but it’s pretty much unavoidable when you have a new baby. The good news is that one day, the sleepless nights will be a distant memory. For the time being, try to take a nap when the baby naps to log some precious hours of sleep. While you can’t sleep bank, a quick nap can help you feel refreshed. Although it’s tempting to get started on chores while the baby sleeps, sometimes, a nap is the best use of your time.
When you can, try to meal prep as much as possible so you always have healthy food on hand. If both parents are home and one can be with the baby while the other parent preps food, that’s great. If that’s not possible, call in some outside help from friends or family. New parents need to care for themselves as well as their child, and that includes paying attention to their own health. A lack of sleep and poor diet can quickly lead to a weakened immune system, so eating healthy (at least some of the time) is a must.
As mentioned above, healthy eating is vital to a strong immune system. To protect yourself and your baby from getting sick, make sure you’re both up to date on vaccinations. Vaccinations against the flu and whooping cough can go a long way in making sure your family stays healthy. In addition to vaccinations, snack on nutrient dense foods like berries, apples, and leafy greens.
Get Help When Needed
Being a new parent is one of the most exhausting experiences imaginable. It often feels impossible to get everything done: caring for the baby, keeping up with household chores, and eating healthy for yourself. When you’re falling behind and need some help, don’t hesitate to call for help. If you live near family or friends, seek their support. Ask your parents or in-laws to come over for a couple of hours to watch the baby while you get some rest. Don’t feel guilty about asking for help, because everyone needs support from time to time.
New parents often fall victim to illness due to lack of sleep and poor diet. Boost your chances of staying healthy by napping when the baby naps, prepping healthy meals in advance, and asking for help from others when needed. Although it’s overwhelming at first, you’ll adapt to your new role as a parent before you know it, and find ways to stay happy and healthy even through the sleepless nights.