New year goals for new moms and some thoughts on taking better care of our pregnant, post partum, & moms of young children.
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I was not originally planning on doing a New Year’s resolution post – I really just wanted to jump back into nourishing family meals at the start of the year since that is just more my style.
But over the last week or so it has already started…
My social media feeds are filling up with diet plans, exercise regimens, and images of what we should and should not be looking like, eating, doing, and wearing.
And while I am a big goal setter, “do-er”, and health advocate, I want to give my newly pregnant and post partum mommas, as well as mommas with young children a little “time out” to give a few things some thought before you jump into all of the “I should be doing ________” thoughts.
Our society flat out stinks at taking care of young moms.
From an American stand point at least (I can’t speak for other cultures as I have not experienced them), we don’t take care of our pregnant and post partum moms. Period.
We grow and carry a whole brand new human for 9+ months, marathon labor and deliver them with our amazing bodies, in many cases feed a human being with our very own bodies for months and even years…
It takes literally years to recover from this season of life.
Did you hear that?
In many cultures 2-3 years to be exact is considered “post partum” because that is how long it takes our bodies to recover and replenish from having babies! I know I don’t have to convince my new mommas of this because I know you are feeling it.
Our bodies are created to give every mineral from our body that it needs to nurture that growing baby in your womb. Many (I would even venture to say most) post partum moms are in an adrenal fatigued state by the time they have their babies (if they aren’t already before!) because their bodies are so sapped for minerals, rest, and sleep.
Because our society has embraced this “I can do it all” mentality, we don’t look after pregnant moms the way we used to. We have lost community – we don’t care for that new momma with the newborn as we should. We expect her to be back off to work in 6 weeks as if nothing happened. We don’t bring meals anymore because we hardly have time to feed our own family.
New momma, I’m writing this to tell you that focusing on the very delicate balance that is your post partum hormones, adrenals, and body is a great New Year goal.
The latest crash diet, over exercising, and over planned schedule is only going to make your recovery last longer.
Listen…you have the rest of your entire life to exercise as hard as you want – taking a year or two to recover from having a baby is so small in the big scheme of things. If your adrenals are screwed up you will most likely never get there even if you do start those lofty goals now because at some point your body will just say enough already.
So whether you are newly pregnant, are in the foggy daze of newborn-hood, or the exhaustion of the toddler years, (or some sort of combination of these phases), here are some goals for the new year. Find a friend and keep each other accountable. I hope these feel relatable, and do-able to you. Even if you just add one goal per month to really nail them down you will be further ahead than most.
I also want to make a note that if you have older children but you never let yourself recover from those young momma years, there is no better time to heal your body than this year! These ideas are for you too!
Make feeding yourself just as important as feeding the kids.
You are just as important as them. When a firefighter goes into a fire to save people he puts the oxygen mask to himself first doesn’t he? He isn’t any good to the people inside if he falls over from exhaustion. Your kids are better off with a momma that has been fueled. And fueled well.
So here is how we can get that done with busy schedules and newborns in the house. Keep meals simple. Eating real food doesn’t mean elegant 5 course meals every day. Scrambled eggs take just minutes to make for breakfast – and the other little ones running around the house can have them too. When you make a pot of soup, double it so you can eat off of it all week. When you make that casserole, double it and stick one in the freezer for another time.
I am pretty sure that after I had baby #3 our dinner was simple stir frys every night for the first year. Strap baby in a carrier and make yourself a simple meal. If you have toddlers running around get a stack of paper and crayons out and let them have at it. It is also not beneath me to flip on a little Daniel Tiger for 15 minutes while I get a little dinner made – do it up. Lay baby down on a blanket to look out the window so you can eat. I promise they will be ok. (And getting them used to laying down to look at in a floor mirror, at an interesting toy, or out the window early only makes this process easier as they get to be older babies – you deserve to have 5 minutes to eat baby free!)
A final thought here….Ask. For. Help. I can’t tell you how many times I asked my husband to make me a bowl of oatmeal before he left for work while I nursed the baby – in fact there were many times he actually fed me while my hands were busy with nursing the newborn. Friends, neighbors, family…ask them to help you.
If you are reading this and have a new momma in your life – don’t make them ask for help. Just do it. Text them to let them know you are bringing lunch over, or will come hold the baby while they have some breakfast.
Have a nettles infusion daily.
This is the single most efficient and simple way to replenish your mineral supply. This herb is packed with minerals and it is very simple to make a part of your day. I keep a quart or 2 sitting on the counter to drink throughout the day. As I pass by the counter I take a few sips and many days it is my water for the day. While water and hydration is very important for everyone, it is even more important for those with adrenal fatigue to be sure that the water they are drinking is balanced with some minerals – whether that be a pinch of sea salt, a squeeze of lemon, or some ConcenTrace. Drinking your water in herbal tea form like this works to hydrate the body without drowning the mineral supply as well.
Here is how to make a simple quart infusion. I add a pleasant tasting herb such as hibiscus or rosehips to off-set the bitter nettles. You can leave them out if you want. I also like a squeeze of lemon in mine.
- Put the dried herbs at the bottom of an empty quart jar or French press.
- Pour the hot water over the herbs and cover the top with a lid or with a towel and let it steep at least 2 hours. I like to make mine before I go to bed at night and strain it in the morning to drink for the day.
- After the infusion steeps, strain off the herbs and it is ready to drink. You can squeeze some lemon or add a pinch of sea salt if you want.
A quick note on making this even easier is using a French press 🙂 I have a French press that I use just for my herbal infusions – it makes straining the herbs off so much faster. I just pour off what I want as I pass by.
Take a detox bath or foot bath 2-3 times per week.
Let me just start off with this. You are allowed 20 minutes for yourself even if you have a baby. I know when you have little ones getting a 20 minute bath in a couple times a week seems like quite a feat…but this is do-able – and important.
And not just important for our mental health – which is very important! Having a salty detox bath will help your body replenish minerals and let you sleep better. It’s that simple!
Get a hot bath going and add a couple cups of magnesium flakes or epsom salt, some baking soda to help the magnesium absorb, and even better add in some dead sea salt. Sit with a big glass of lemon water or tea for 20 minutes in the bath – and don’t feel guilty about it! Enjoy it. Let yourself just sit in silence, or play your favorite music, or scroll through your favorite social media (or…ahem…favorite blog!) – whatever! YES you are allowed to do this and not feel guilty!
Add an extra few minutes to your bath routine and dry brush before you get into your bath – it will help your lymph move along more efficiently which will flush out toxins better (and make your skin feel awesome!).
If you are not a bath person or don’t have a bath at home, a salty foot bath will do the trick too!
Sleep. And don’t feel guilty about it.
The world will keep spinning if you choose to go to bed early instead of finish cleaning up the kitchen. And taking a nap while the baby naps instead of folding laundry is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.
Did you know that?
That took me about 3 kids to truly understand and it has made all the difference in the world. There is just absolutely no way the house will ever be completely caught up all the time when you have little kids around. Period. So for your mental health and sanity just accept it and go to bed.
If you are tired, your body is trying to tell you something. Don’t cover it up with another cup of coffee, or your adrenals will never recover. Sleep is the single most important thing for recovering adrenals.
Exercise based on your adrenal status, not what everyone else is doing.
Listen to your body. It’s that simple. You may tolerate that run or that class in the moment…but if your body is crashing a day or two later that is a huge sign that that your adrenals were not ready to tolerate that activity.
Just back up a little and you can always work back up to where you were before. Coming from someone that ignored the signs and “pushed through”…it takes longer to recover the adrenals when they have already been in a fatigued state and you go back to your running schedule and push the adrenals into exhaustion. It isn’t worth it.
Stretching, yoga, and a walk around the block with the kids is exercise. Chasing after a 2 year old all day is exercise. Walking the hallway with a fussy newborn in the middle of the night is exercise.
I am definitely not saying don’t move. There just needs to be some balance. Sleep is probably more important in that first year or 2 after having a baby anyway, but it is also important to get out in the sun and take a walk. Get down in the grass with the toddlers and do some stretching or yoga. There just needs to be some balance.
Figure out your outlet – and make time for it.
If you are not careful, a year or so into this motherhood thing head on will make you completely forget who you are and what you have a passion for. And yes it is ok to like doing things that don’t revolve around your baby! I adore my kids. I literally think about them most of the day. But when I don’t make time to do things that are separate from motherhood I lose myself.
Whether it is painting, writing, taking a jog, shopping, playing a sport, sewing, or reading…keep it up. It will be on a different time table than before, but taking 15 minutes to read a favorite book is serious therapy! It is worth finding the time.