My Top 5 Recommendations for the Expecting Mother
*Warning* Long post ahead!
The first baby was a complete whirlwind. Although welcoming baby #2 will come with its own growing pains, there are several things that I have learned the first time around. With the birth of my daughter, we were prepared in the sense of diapers, burp cloths, nursing pillows, etc. However, I was not prepared for taking care of the most important thing for our child- me. Here are my top five recommendations for expecting mothers.
- Frozen Meals. I made a couple frozen meals with the birth of my daughter; I made two pans of lasagna and figured that should last me…I was wrong. Those two pans of lasagna were devoured in the first week. I recommend having at least one month’s worth of frozen meals in your freezer for when baby comes. We fell into the hole of fast food and delivery because we were too exhausted to shower, let alone make breakfast, lunch, AND dinner. You need proper nutrition, especially if you plan to nurse your baby. Some ideas include veggie egg bake, protein pancakes, lasagna, black bean enchiladas, and slow cooker chicken. I will do a complete post along with recipes regarding meal planning for the new parents- stay tuned!
- Snacks. Although related to frozen meals, I cannot stress enough the importance of having healthy snacks on hand. As stated earlier, when you are tired, it will be easier to grab a handful of chips than to actually make a balanced meal. Again, if you are nursing, it will be critical to have healthy snacks on hand for post-nursing sessions. Here are a couple snack ideas to have in your fridge or pantry.
- Whole grain crackers with low-fat mozzarella cheese sticks and/or hummus. Fiber plus protein!
- Unsalted nuts with dried fruit- easy to grab a handful when you cannot put baby down.
- Frozen fruit- keep plenty on hand! These will be great for smoothies, in yogurt, etc.
- Canned fruit and vegetables. Yes, I said it! Keep unsweetened canned fruit and unsalted canned veggies on hand for those weeks you just can’t quite make it to the grocery store.
- Oats! It is said that oatmeal increases milk production. So nursing moms, put oats in everything! Cooked oatmeal, in pancakes, on top of yogurt, dried with yogurt (my favorite breakfast), etc.
- Get a walk in every single day. Start your day with a walk; even when you were up every hour! Most doctors recommend that you get a walk in immediately after birth and it is critical to continue to keep your body moving. You will not regret even a 15 minute walk. If you can enjoy a solo walk, great! Otherwise, whip out the carrier or pram and take your baby with you. Both of you will enjoy the fresh air.
- Ask for help. Not sure which is more important, my number 4 or number 5 points. As a new mother that is naturally a little stubborn (right, Andrew?), I was determined to do everything myself. I didn’t ask my husband or my own mother for help even when I felt like was drowning. Your mother and mother-in-law know what they are doing; ask them for help- they are dying to! Husbands also know what they are doing; trust them.
- Start scheduling me time. This is something that my husband and I have discussed at great lengths already. Because I did not ask for help, I did not take care of myself. I am not saying you need to schedule a weekend away a couple weeks after baby is born. However, I am saying that you NEED to find time every single day to take a break. It may be hard to get out of the house every day so simply taking an uninterrupted shower or a 15 minute walk is enough. My Tuesday evening Pilates class is already in the books and my mom and I are looking into community ed. painting course. I even scheduled a hair appointment during my maternity leave to make sure I continue to fill my cup. Yes, you are a mother, but you cannot survive parenthood when you are running on empty.