Pregnancy and new motherhood are magical times. Many new moms feel that there’s no way they could forget their baby’s firsts—first smile, first word, first step…first tantrum. As many moms will tell you, though, the sleep deprivation and the busy-ness of motherhood don’t always lend themselves well to keeping your memory sharp. Here are 5 ways to track your baby’s best moments and milestones to ensure that you don’t forget them.
- Keep a Line-a-Day Journal
One easy way to preserve memories and create an amazing, lasting gift for your children when they’re older is to keep a line-a-day journal. Pick out a journal (even a simple spiral notebook works fine), and write down one memory, event, or milestone each day. You and your family will appreciate all the little moments you thought you forgot later and you’ll keep track of the biggies!
- Make Memory Jars
Label a jar or can with the year and cut a hole in the top. Keep a pen and some squares of paper next to your jar. Each time your baby hits a new milestone or does something you want to remember, jot it down on a square of paper and stick the memory into your jar. At the end of the year, you can more formally record each memory, stick the squares in a scrap-book or album, or simply collect your memory jars, compiling a gallery of memories for your family to go through.
- Use a Calendar
If you know that the only way you’ll keep track of milestones is by putting forth the least amount of effort possible to do so, simply use a calendar. If you’re a paper person, write milestones down on the calendar on the day they occur. If you’re a digital gal, keep track of memories in your Google or Outlook calendar.
- Take Photos and Videos
Even though you think you’ll remember your baby’s chubby cheeks, tiny voice, or the way she sneezed, chances are you won’t! Take a lot of photos and videos, you will be so happy you did in the future.
- Save Tidbits
In addition to writing down milestones, it’s fun to save some visual reminders of special events. Save scraps of wrapping paper, family Christmas cards, etc. to compile in a scrap-book along with your memories and milestones for a beautiful family keepsake!
What’s your favorite way to preserve the special moments in your family’s life?
So you’re a new mom who’s made the decision to breastfeed—congratulations! Breastfeeding offers many long-term benefits to mom and baby, including reduced incidence of postpartum depression, reduced rate of infant mortality and illness, higher IQ scores later in childhood, greater attachment bond between mother and baby, and reduced risk of ovarian and breast cancer in mom.
While we hope you and your baby reap only the rewards of breastfeeding, we know how challenging it can be too. From latching and supply issues to mastitis and food sensitivities, you may encounter a few road-blocks on your breastfeeding journey. If you’re facing breastfeeding challenges, contacting your local La Leche League or the lactation consultants at your delivering hospital or midwifery center are great places to start getting support. In the mean time, here are 5 nutrition tips for breastfeeding moms to help set you—and your baby—up for nursing success!
- Eat Enough Calories
Believe it or not, breastfeeding moms need even more calories than pregnant women. On average, breastfeeding can burn anywhere between 400 and 1000 calories per day, depending on how much your little one eats. To ensure that your supply stays up and that you, the mama, are getting enough nutrients and calories for yourself, make sure you eat at least 500 extra calories per day.
- Make Your Calories Count
Many breastfeeding new moms find that the major hormone shift that occurs after birth leaves them queasy and kills their appetite, much like in early pregnancy. Additionally, a lot of new moms find that they barely have time to eat, and it’s easy to forget to feed yourself when caring for an newborn. Because you may not be on top of snacking and meals, when you do eat make sure your calories count. Healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables are great choices. Think mashed avocado on toast, “green” smoothies with an added scoop of almond butter or coconut oil, and a handful of almonds with a piece of fruit. One avocado alone contains around 250 calories, most of which come from good fats!
- Drink A LOT
As we said, it can be easy to forget that mom needs taking care of, too, when there’s a new baby in the house. Enlist the support of your spouse, parent, postpartum doula, or whoever is around to help you remember to drink lots and lots of water. Those giant water cups hospitals give out in the maternity ward come in handy when you don’t have time to get up and down from the couch between nursing sessions to refill a measly 8 oz glass.
- Choose Foods Rich in Iron, Vitamin D, and Calcium
These three nutrients are essential for the health of new mom and baby, and they also help stabilize your mood and hormones. Go for foods like beans, leafy green veggies, and yogurt. Because many babies are born with milk-protein allergies (and because you may need a little help getting your gut health back to normal, depending on how your delivery went), yogurt is a better choice than milk or cheese because it contains less of the irritating sugars and proteins that give babies gas, reflux, and colic. (Please note: before starting any kind of supplement while breastfeeding, ALWAYS check with your health care provider as well as your child’s).
- Avoid Highly Allergenic Foods
In the first weeks and months of motherhood, it can be helpful to avoid some of the most common allergens in food—fish, eggs, dairy, wheat, soy, and peanuts. Many babies have sensitivities to these allergenic foods, and these sensitivities can cause painful gas, reflux, rashes, and a host of other issues if they are not identified. By starting with a clean slate, you can add these foods into your own diet one by one to ensure that your baby doesn’t react to them.
Breastfeeding can be challenging, but with the help of these tips you’ll be off to a great start and will feel happier, more rested, and more energetic. Happy nursing!
If you’re a new mom in the new year, you have plenty of excuses NOT to exercise. You’re sleep deprived and exhausted, outdoor activities with a newborn or small child aren’t always safe or fun in winter weather, you hardly have time to comb your hair let alone exercise, your baby goes everywhere you go…the list goes on! While exercise is typically the last thing on a new mom’s to do list, if you can manage to work some movement into your day you might actually find that you have more energy, are in a happier mood, and sleep better—when baby lets you. The following are 4 ways to get moving as a new mom in 2015.
- Mommy Exercise Classes
From Stroller Strides to Mommy and Me Yoga to Baby Boot Camp, the list of classes for new moms with a baby in tow gets longer each year. Performing a simple internet search for “mom and baby classes” or “mom and baby exercise” in your area will likely bring up way more options than you ever knew existed for classes you can take your baby to. You’ll usually get about an hour’s worth of exercise (don’t worry if you have to take a nursing break!), an opportunity to connect with other new moms, and a chance to model healthy habits right from the start.
- Dance Your Baby
One of the best ways to lift your mood and energy in the morning or during the mid-afternoon slump is with a mini dance party. Turn on some kid-friendly tunes or anything that puts a smile on your face and bounce baby around the living room. Your baby will love it and you’ll get a great workout, even if you only spend 10 minutes dancing.
Taking a walk with your baby is the perfect way to get exercise as a new mom for a few reasons. First, you probably aren’t getting out of the house nearly as much as you did before parenthood and probably could use a change of scenery. Second, outside offers a whole new world of colors, shapes, smells, and sounds for your baby to enjoy. If it’s too cold or snowy where you live to walk outside, walk around a big mall! Finally, walking is gentle enough for post c-section and super sleep deprived moms but still effectively burns calories and gets your blood pumping.
- Music & Movement Classes
If your baby is old enough to enjoy an infant class (most are usually recommended for children six months and older), sign up for a few. Music and baby “dance” classes (which end up being simple, fun movements) invite parents and babies to get moving in new, creative ways that are catered to children’s development and learning.