By Vivian Manning-Schaffel
For many women, pregnancy is all about self-care. Eat healthy, get plenty of sleep, move your body, take your vitamins and keep consistent with doctors' appointments. While all of these things benefit the mom-to-be, they are ultimately for the growing baby, and once that tiny person arrives, many of those healthy priorities shift from inside your body to outside your body.
Keep up the self-care momentum of pregnancy with these realistic—and affordable!—tips for new moms.
Eat for fuel.
After birth, your baby still relies on you for nutrients. Aim to get at least three servings of protein per day (here are 10 ways to up your protein intake); try to get 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams of calcium-rich dairy per day (select from these diary options that are great for weight loss); eat two servings of fruits and four or five servings of vegetables per day; control the carbs by only eating six to nine servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta per day (choosing the right carbs); restrict fats and oils with only four servings per day (here are some healthy fats); and—perhaps most important of all!—stay hydrated and aim for at least 8 to 12 glasses per day. For more detail, check out these nutrition tips for new moms.
Keep taking your prenatal vitamin.
While eating for fuel is crucial, you need a little help. Don't stop taking your prenatal vitamin just because the baby is here. Keep popping it daily at least for your first year postpartum. Some women even use this as their daily vitamin into their menopausal years!
Check in with friends and family.
If you always called your mom daily, try and stick to regular calls. If you isolate yourself, you may feel out of touch with those you love, which can be depressing (learn how to recognize postpartum depression). There's something therapeutic about a good laugh with an old friend. Treat yourself to that call, even if it's a quick one.
Move your body.
You don't need to sweat at the gym or even put in a workout DVD. Just move. Turn on some music and dance with your baby—they will love it! Or lie on the ground during tummy time for some easy yoga moves. Give this calming yoga sequence a try.
Go to bed early.
People will likely tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps, which is a great idea, but not everyone is a napper. There are many benefits to naps, but if they don't work for you, opt for an earlier bedtime. Need some help dozing off? Here is how you can get a deep sleep tonight!