HERE ARE SOME IMPORTANT TIPS AND TOOLS TO HELP NEW MOMS TRANSITION INTO THEIR NEW ROLE AFTER BIRTH. FOLLOWING THESE STEPS WILL HELP KEEP YOU HEALTHY AND STRONG.
Sleep– A lack of sleep increases anxiety and depression. Mothers need a minimum of a 5 hour stretch with naps during the day to function.
Exercise– A little exercise moves your body, even when you don’t want to a little exercise is better than none. It promotes sleep and helps our mind by releasing endorphins (the feel good hormone).
Laugh– It feels good to laugh. It helps our immune system and reduces stress. Look for fun in life, its there. tip: look in the mirror- stretch your lips to a smile. Your facial expressions are hard wired to our brains. Then look in your eyes and say something silly.. you will laugh😉
Food– Always eat healthy. Low carbs, limit sugars and eliminate caffeine. Keep hydrated- 6 glasses of water a day. Increase vegetables and protein for energy. ex: start your day with oatmeal covered in nuts and cranberries.
IF YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR EMOTIONAL HEALTH AND SUSPECT YOU MAY NEED ADDITIONAL HELP, HERE ARE A FEW MORE IMPORTANT SUGGESTIONS:
Journal– Write about your baby’s day, rate your anxiety level with a number and then look back for good days and pinpoint why they were good.
Support Groups– Talking with others eases the burden. New moms share experiences, you bring the baby and can make new friends.
Therapy & Medication– If symptoms are increasing, ask your OBGYN for a referral to a mental health professional. Be open to hear a diagnosis and follow their direction.
Distraction– This interrupts the loop of negative thinking temporarily, because our brains can only perform a limited amount of functions at one time and emotions begin to calm down.
Relaxation techniques- Deep breathing (Relax, close your eyes, breathe in through your nose. Count 1, 2, 3. Exhale through your mouth 1,2,3. Repeat 5-10 times.) Massage therapy can also help you relax.
Mindfulness– Close your eyes, focus on the moment, quiet the words in your head by being still. Do not judge the moment as good or bad just stay still. Take note of your body sensations. Notice your breath but don’t think about it. Stay with this for 5 minutes, but start off with 1 minute, then 2 and work up to 5 and then work to 10. Practice, Practice.
Get out of the house– walk with your baby in your neighborhood, do some shopping or a small errand a day.
Acceptance and acknowledge what is happening- There is power in acknowledging one’s powerlesness. Don’t fight the reality, try to surrender and validate yourself. Its the first step in recovery. ex. “I am feeling very anxious. I don’t really understand why this is happening, but I do know it is common and happens to other mothers.” Write this on a note to carry with you to read. ” I don’t like the way it feels, But I am doing everything I need to do to feel better.” This will not last forever, I will get through this.
THESE STRATEGIES ARE MOST EFFECTIVE WHEN FAMILY, FRIENDS AND HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS ARE COMPASSIONATE AND SUPPORTIVE DURING THIS DIFFICULT TIME.