1. Permission to disengage. If you are like most women, once you have a baby you are likely eager to go back to having your life and body back to the way it was before you became pregnant in a snap. One important key to getting there, or somewhere close is giving yourself permission to disengage from your former responsibilities, goals and nonessential wants for a period of time. Press pause; let life stand still while you adjust to your new life with your new precious baby. This period of time is one that we can truly say will be once in a lifetime. Letting go of the things that bring a level of pressure to your being can be a tremendous relief when you willingly make the conscious choice to do so. Say yes to any offered help, meals and hugs and ignore unnecessary comments, nudges judgments.
2. Sleep when baby sleeps…. not so much. Newborn babies sleep 16-20 hours per day in 2 – 4 hour increments in the beginning. While you will have to sleep some of that time, forcing yourself to try to sleep all of that time could be a little overkill making you feel zombified. There is no way to predict how your baby will sleep and this tip could get washed away depending on your baby’s sleep cycle, but I recommend trying to sleep as many chunks as you can over night and in the morning leaving yourself the second half of the day and evening to feel like a real human being, napping as your body calls for. Get up, shower and get dressed as many days as possible and even step outside.
3. Eat Clean. Nothing can make you feel so good yet so bad at the same time as eating junk when you get home from the hospital. You don’t recognize your body to begin with and though you might want to comfort yourself with brownies and easy meals like take out pizza, say no to junk. Be sure to let your friends and family know this ahead of time, that way when people pop over to see the baby or bring you food, they don’t come with cookies in hand. You may even consider using a site like mealbaby.com to ease the transition. Keep well fueled, continue your prenatal vitamins and drink drink drink, water that is.
4. Get the gear and get moving – Everyone knows to get a baby stroller to keep that baby on the go, but I can’t say enough about baby wearing to add a sense of normalcy to your day and get your blood pumping. Freeing up your hands and becoming mobile means you are not held hostage to the couch or your rocker where Groundhog Day never seems to end. Clean up the house, prep your meals, go for hike or do some slow squats. Don’t forget, hubby can strap that baby on too giving you a much-needed break. Be sure to have a plan ready to workout in home when your body is ready and out when your baby is ready. Workout DVD’s, virtual programs and inspirational messages are must haves.
5. Own your new body at every stage. You have earned your stripes and just co created a true miracle. Cut yourself some slack and love yourself with your new markings and new size. You may drop back down to your regular size quickly, but that is not the norm so don’t be discouraged if it takes some time. All you can do is your best. Buy some new outfits that you will feel confident in and strut your stuff while you are on your way to your old favorite pair of jeans.