How to Prioritize Your Physical and Mental Health As a New Parent

Health | Family | Did You Know

How to Prioritize Your Physical and Mental Health As a New Parent

On the day you bring your new baby home, you'll begin an incredible adventure. Whether you've adopted a baby, waited 12 to 13 months for the surrogate process to come to a close, or given birth yourself, your days and nights will be filled with the overwhelming tasks of caring for your new child. Although it may seem impossible at first, you need to make time to care for your own mental and physical health. Here are some tips to guide you.

Choose Nutritious Foods Over Takeout

Having a new baby in the home may mean long nights and tiring days, so ordering takeout and fast food will be tempting. However, to keep your body energized, it's best to stick to lean proteins, whole grains, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. If you're breastfeeding, you'll also need to drink sufficient fluids, especially dairy products. Since keeping up with your baby may keep you too busy to make fancy meals, keep a supply of healthy choices available, including pre-prepared meals, cut-up vegetables, whole grain cereals, and milk.

Keep Active and Spend Time Outside

Although caring for your new baby will keep you busy, your body also needs regular exercise to stay healthy. Exercise will give your mood a positive boost since it increases the level of endorphins in your body. If your baby's needs make it challenging to find time for exercise, strap them into a carrier and get outside for a walk. You may try low-impact forms of exercise, too, such as yoga! This activity can be done in the comfort of your backyard while your baby naps or watches from a covered patio so you both can get some Vitamin D.

Care for Your Teeth and Gums

Your teeth and gums need daily care to keep them healthy. To give your teeth an extra boost of health, you should avoid sugary treats and increase your intake of foods that are rich in Vitamin C. Only 63% of adults have visited a dentist in the past year, so don't let yourself fall behind when it comes to your oral health. It's important to set a good example for your little one!

Get Support for Your Mental Health

The hectic pace of caring for a baby can often leave a new mother feeling anxious or depressed. Statistics show that major depressive disorder affects about 17.3 million adults in the United States. Occasional feelings of depression can be expected, but prolonged feelings of depression mean you'd benefit from seeking out a mental health professional. New mothers may also get assistance with their feelings of depression by talking with other new mothers in Mommy & Me groups in local communities. Many community centers also have support groups for new parents struggling with the adjustment of and new responsibilities that come with parenthood.

Maintain Healthy Relationships

Caring for your new baby will be a wonderful experience for you and your partner, but it will also be very stressful. If you're not careful, that stress can cause issues in your relationship with your partner. Prioritize some special time for the two of you to cherish each other. Ask loved ones to watch your baby every once in a while so you can spend time alone with your partner and enjoy each other's company.

As you begin your life with your new baby, remember that no one expects you to be instantly perfect parents. Eat nutritious meals, keep yourself active, and find some time to cement your relationship with your partner. Be kind to yourselves, and ask for help when you need it. Best wishes to you as you begin your adventure with your bundle of joy!

Head of Content, reality TV watcher and lover of cookies.