If you thought that taking care of yourself was difficult when you were pregnant, managing self-care while you’re also taking care of a newborn can be an exciting challenge all of its own making. Today, let’s hash through three tips that will help you stay happy, healthy, and sane during the first few weeks after your baby comes home.
Prepare, prepare, prepare
If you’re reading this before your baby arrives, know that the single best gift you can give future you is the gift of prepared and ready to cook meals. Things like frozen burritos that you can grab and microwave, single servings of your favorite foods, and cups of dips like hummus, bean spreads, or others that can make vegetables and fruits more interesting are key.
If you have a grill, foil packs of marinated meat and veggies ready to go can be the difference between a healthy, balanced meal and another night of delivery pizza. If you have a crock pot or an instant cooker, you can adapt a lot of grill recipes for steamed preparation.
Normally, I avoid the section of the produce aisle where they have all the precut fruits and vegetables; I resent paying more for something I can do perfectly well on my own. However, with three small children my pride quickly goes out the door on this one!! This sometimes is the only way I can even come close to getting the fruits and veggies my family and I need to stay healthy. I have a freezer full of frozen meals on stand-by for those nights when a fully prepared meal from scratch just ain’t gonna happen!! Having premade meals saves me during the time when my youngest just isn’t willing to be put down, even long enough for mommy to get some carrot sticks.
I know I say this a lot, but truthfullyâ€”get some backup if there’s any way you can. All parents need different support, and that’s okay. You may want someone to come over and hold the baby so you can clean up and prep dinner; you may want someone to come over and prep dinner so you can hold the baby. The key here is to understand what you need, and communicate it to the people around you.
If you’re having trouble enlisting family and friends, look around for a younger teen, the kind of kid who isn’t old enough to reliably baby-sit yet, but who can still be trusted to help around the house and entertain the baby for a while. They’re often called mother’s helpers.
Let go of perfection
I know this sounds silly, but it’s so incredibly true.
You can’t be perfect. There are times when aiming for perfection can help you challenge yourself and improve yourself, but the early weeks of parenthood are not that time. Let as much go as you can. Strive for survival. If there aren’t bugs in the kitchen, you can go another day before you run the dishwasher, and no one is going to notice that the carpet is just a little bit crunchy because you’re a day behind on the vacuuming. Set your sights on getting through, taking care of yourself, and staying healthy, and finding what enjoyment you can in the busy days of early babyhood. It’s a hard time, and is often only great in retrospect.
Do your best, and the rest will follow. It will be okay.
What’s been your biggest struggle as a new parent trying to stay healthy? Let me know -I’d love to hear from you!