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8 New Mom Essentials: A Guide to the First Year

The birth of a child is a significant milestone in every parent’s life. Many aspects of your life may change during motherhood, from your daily routine and food intake to your mindset and relationship with your body.

To help you sail through the first year with ease, Greater Than has compiled a list of the eight essentials that can equip you for any new-mom scenario. The following items can allow you to enjoy this particular time with your newborn and family by giving you the tools and support to care for your mind and body and triumph over any obstacle.

With proper preparation and a good attitude, the joy of this first year is what may stay with you forever. Check out these eight new mom essentials to use for the first year.

1. Nutrition

During pregnancy, nutrition is an essential part of your life. After all, what you eat contributes directly to the well-being of your newborn! However, this doesn’t end at childbirth.

If you are breastfeeding, the food you eat is also the food that can help nourish your little one. In addition, producing enough breast milk to support a quickly growing baby can be taxing on your body.

Breastfeeding women must consume excess calories to have enough energy to produce milk. Everyone is different, but talking to your doctor can help you create a meal plan that suits your health!

Even if you’ve decided not to breastfeed, nutrition is still of the utmost importance, especially during the first year of motherhood.

As a new mom, you’re juggling so much that you may be feeling exhausted…all the time.

Giving your body a sufficient amount of calories per day may help ensure that you get all of the vitamins and minerals your body craves to help combat fatigue. This may also help your body recover from childbirth while helping you return to feeling like yourself again.

To ensure that your body is getting maximal benefit from the foods you eat, take a mindful approach to your diet and ensure that you’re eating various food groups, including many different types of veggies and fruits. Eating whole, unprocessed food is a great place to start as you consider how to craft a healthy postpartum diet.

After you find the combination of foods that work for your body, you’ll be amazed at how much difference your diet can make. Have fun at the grocery store by trying new, healthy combinations, and your body will thank you.

2. Hydration

Fluid intake is another essential factor for pregnant women and new moms alike. Did you know that nursing mothers should double their water intake, consuming about 16 cups of water per day on average?

This may seem like a lot, but as a new mother, your body may quickly use this water to function properly. Being adequately hydrated helps ensure that you can produce enough breast milk for your little one and recuperate from delivery as promptly as possible.

Upping your water intake is a great first step to staying hydrated, but water alone is not always enough to fully hydrate your body. Try a hydration drink that can deliver electrolytes, vitamins, and energy in one package to enhance your hydration levels and bring more fun to your beverages.

Greater Than’s electrolyte drinks are specifically designed for nursing moms and made naturally with a coconut water base.

3. Support Network

Motherhood is exciting, but it can also be a surprisingly isolating experience, especially in the early years when you and your little one spend a lot of time at home. The first year is essential bonding time, and you’ll want to soak up all the special moments you can get with your baby.

However, it’s also important to find a support network you can rely on in times of need.

Our friends and family members are a major source of support. If you have a partner or live with other family members, communicate your needs to them.

Another great source of emotional support can be a new mothers’ group. Check social media, your local library, or community center to find playgroups or mothers’ support groups.

These are great opportunities for your little one to make friends with other women who know what you’re going through! After all, nobody understands what you’re experiencing like other new moms.

4. Alone Time

As a new mother, it can be challenging to find time for yourself. Caring for a baby is a full-time job and one that may leave you exhausted. Carving out some alone time in your schedule can make a difference in your mental well-being during the first year of motherhood.

Taking time for self-care allows your brain to relax, reset, and focus on yourself. A mother’s brain is rewired to feel extreme empathy for her little one during pregnancy. This change makes new moms feel superhuman as empathy and increased awareness can help them care for their babies by understanding their needs and feelings.

However, a newfound hyper-awareness of your baby may also detract from your awareness of your own well-being. There’s nothing wrong with stepping away to take time for yourself. Mothers who take time for themselves are more likely to feel like they have an identity outside of motherhood and less likely to experience burnout or negative feelings like resentment or anger.

The ability to take alone time as a new mother is related to another new-mom essential: the support network.

Your support network of friends and family can help you find time for yourself by taking tasks off your hands and giving you the freedom to care for yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and a break when you need it!

5. Postpartum Journalling

Postpartum journaling is a fantastic way to check in on your mental well-being as a new mother. It will also provide you with a meaningful artifact to look back on in the future and remember the ups and downs and the special moments of new motherhood!

Postpartum journaling looks different for everybody. Maybe you are interested in a journal with prompts designed for new mamas, or perhaps a daily thirty-minute session of brain dumping is what works for you. Either way, journaling can be a great self-care activity to help you reset and recharge.

6. Maternity-Friendly Outfits

The changes your body experiences during pregnancy don’t end with delivery! Growing and supporting a baby is a fantastic feat that requires your entire body. This beautiful process will likely affect your body in ways that can initially make it feel unfamiliar. This is where maternity-friendly outfits come in.

If you’re nursing or carrying a baby around all day, you’ll want clothing that supports you and makes your day easier, not harder! Dress to feel your best in clothes that are new-mama friendly.

7. Hobbies

Hobbies take many forms, such as recreational sports, walking or running, crafting, music, and more! Whether you revisit activities you’ve enjoyed in the past or take up a new hobby, finding activities that will bring you joy is essential, especially for the first year of motherhood.

Parenting requires a lot of mental energy. Participating in activities that are neither work-related nor parenting-related is revitalizing and hugely beneficial for your mental well-being. In fact, people who participate in hobbies are less likely to suffer from stress, low mood, or tension.

Many community colleges offer low-cost classes on cooking, languages, and other interesting topics to keep your mind sharp. You may choose an activity that can be done in the comfort of your home or find one that challenges you to leave your comfort zone.

8. Movement

After pregnancy, your body is in an unfamiliar state. Recovering from pregnancy and childbirth is a long process. It’s essential to be patient and go at your own pace.

Most women must wait six to eight weeks after delivery before beginning exercise, but talk to your doctor to see what’s right for you. Once it’s safe to do so, incorporate exercise into your safe and enjoyable routine.

Postpartum exercise is an essential aspect of the first year of motherhood.

Exercise helps improve physical and mental well-being and speed up healing and recovery after birth. Moving your body will help you feel like yourself, physically and mentally.

However, if workouts aren’t your thing, there are many options to help you get moving.

Consider swimming at your local gym or public pool. If you want to get your little one involved, water baby classes can be suitable for both of you! If swimming isn’t your thing, simply walking around your neighborhood has immense benefits for your health.

However you choose to do it, getting moving is an important activity during the first year of motherhood to help you feel like your best self.

Identify and Commit to Your New Mom Essentials

Every woman and their postpartum experience is different. In addition to these new mom essentials, you’ll likely find that you have your own set of conditions that make your life simpler, healthier, and more enjoyable.

Fueling your body, finding support, taking time alone, moving your body, and engaging in hobbies that bring you joy are excellent practices that can help you make the most of this first year with your little one.

As you navigate life with a new baby, make time to reflect and take stock of your surroundings to ensure that you have the support and tools you need to be the best you – and the best mom you can be.

Sources:

Postpartum Diet and Exercise - After Pregnancy | Parent Help 123

Journaling for Mental Health - Health Encyclopedia | University of Rochester Medical Center

Postpartum Journal Prompts | Journaling for Mental and Physical Health

Purposeful activity - hobbies | Head to Health

Walking: Trim your waistline, improve your health | Mayo Clinic

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