22 Nov 7 Simple and effective ways to feel good as a new mother
Amid the joy, love and excitement of becoming a new mother many women feel overwhelmed, exhausted and sad at the loss of their ‘old’ life. This article is for new mums to help you find your way to feeling good at this time.
Acknowledge where you are up to
You’ve got a lot going on. There are many things conspiring to make you feel less than great. Sleep deprivation, discomfort, recovery from birth and the responsibility for a baby, to name a few. Acknowledging this huge life-leap and being kind to yourself is a good first step. Notice your inner voice – what are you saying to yourself? Is it kind? If it isn’t, take the time to notice the little things you do every day and congratulate yourself for doing them. Acknowledge.
Exercise will boost your mood
Getting out for a good walk or engaging in a moderate physical exercise for 20-30mins at least 3 times a week is an effective mood-boosting activity with anti-depressant effects. Choose 3 days when you are going to make this happen. Put a post-it note on the fridge door as a reminder.
Have you noticed that you generally feel better when you get out into nature? Its provably good for us – daylight and a natural environment enable your body to produce more feel-good hormones and deal with stress more effectively. Find your local green spaces, investigate local parent groups who meet for walks such as NCT prams in the park.
A good experience of breast-feeding reduces stress in mothers
Women’s bodies really are quite clever. When a woman breastfeeds, her body produces hormones which lower stress levels and boost a feel-good sensation. If breastfeeding is not going so well, this can have the opposite effect. Get help immediately, don’t struggle on your own. A supportive partner helps. Find local feeding support – Add phone numbers for breastfeeding support to your phone for easy access.
Diet – Omega 3 fatty acids help prevent depression
Did you know that in late pregnancy and after birth women’s bodies have an increase in inflammatory response? Inflammation, our body’s response to stress, is linked with depression in both men and women. Interestingly most antidepressants are also anti-inflammatory. Omega 3 fatty acids, specifically the long-chain EPA & DHA found in fish are effective at reducing inflammation, it is safe for breastfeeding mothers. Speak to your local pharmacist for advice on which Omega 3 supplements to try.
Create a supportive team
Connecting with your loved ones, friends and key professionals is vital in ensuring you are feeling supported and looked after as a new mother. Make a list of the supportive people in your life: who can be there for you and how? – Let them know, tell them how important they are and how they can help. Have their numbers on speed dial. Link up with other new parents through NCT Bumps & Babies, coffee groups or breastfeeding drop-ins.
Looking after your relationships
Having a baby changes your relationships – with your lover, your friends, your parents and importantly the relationship you have with yourself. It is the quality of these relationships that makes a difference to your happiness & wellbeing. Honesty, commitment and communication are key. Consider how you show each other affection, a smile or a hug can go a long way.
These are just a few of the things that can make a positive difference to life as a new mother. If you’d like to find out more and have the opportunity to chat through your experiences with other new mums then you will find an NCT Early Days Postnatal Course useful. I facilitate these courses in Cardiff, they are bookable from the main NCT website www.nct.org.uk . This discussion is also an important element of my baby massage classes bookable on www.mirandawebb.co.uk