Your body for your baby…here’s my story of how the basics became a priority during my pregnancies.
I am sitting on an airplane – about to take off. I’m managing to tune out the boring safety briefing until the part where the flight attendant says (as they do): “Parents of small children please put on your oxygen mask first, before you help young children and others needing assistance.” I’d heard the phrase dozens of time but that time two thoughts stayed with me:
Firstly, this statement is completely counter-intuitive! Which mother in all honesty is going to help herself before her baby? Not one of us. We will all jump to keep our child safe before we even think of helping ourselves.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding are no different. Your body will prioritise your growing fetus and feeding infant ahead of your own health. Your baby has very specific nutritional needs and the necessary nutrients will be provided from your diet to your baby first (the perfect little parasite).
Secondly, as counter-intuitive as it is to help ourselves before our children, on reflection the statement is actually true. Taking care of a baby is an enormous responsibility. One that requires you to be as healthy as possible. It is hard to parent a young child if you are completely depleted, physically and emotionally.
With this in mind, it is critical to make sure you take care of yourself:
You should get out and exercise for 30 minutes every day. If you do not have childcare, take your baby along. A brisk walk with your baby in sling or pram is an excellent way to get out and exercise with your little one with you.
While you don’t need to eat for two while you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you need to eat with two in mind. You will need extra energy found in healthy, unprocessed carbs. You’ll need extra fibre from fruit and veggies. You also want to include extra protein, fatty acids found in oily fish and healthy fats. Ensure you’re getting extra calcium, folic acid and iron too, found in dairy and dark green veggies.
It’s a good idea to take a folic acid and iron supplement, Omega fatty acids and a good quality nutritional supplement. Look for something which offers the full gambit of micronutrients, such as Bio-Strath.
You have the most important role to fill whilst you’re pregnant and breastfeeding. Prioritise building your energy and stamina to provide nutritionally for your baby. Take care of yourself.
If you’re expecting or a new parent, caring for a baby can feel overwhelming. Download Parent Sense. It’s the all-in-one baby app that guides you through life with an infant from 1 – 12 months.