Bringing home a new baby is always a joyful time of celebration, well-wishes and adorable little gifts for the new arrival.
But it can also usher in a chaotic few months when parents are running short on sleep and self-care. Nighttime baby feedings start to blur together, and some moms and dads would be hard-pressed to remember the last time they sat down for a proper meal.
When new parents have a baby question, they’re quick to turn to friends, pediatricians and the internet for answers. But when it comes to caring for themselves, sometimes adults need a few reminders.
Self-care is key
“Moms and dads should always remember: if they take good care of themselves, they can take better care of their little one,” said Holiday Zanetti, a senior research scientist and clinical investigator for Nutrilite.
In addition, it won’t be long before that newborn is eating table food looking at their parents for examples of what they’re supposed to eat. “So why not set a good example early on with healthy choices?” she said.
Holiday shares some of her best new-parent nutrition tips to make those first few months a little easier—and tastier.
Make a list of food preferences
Think of this as being helpful, not pushy. Relatives and friends want to bring food, and they’d really rather bring something you like. If you prefer chicken and fish to beef, let them know. The same goes for fruits and vegetables.
“Often family and friends want to help provide meals to take the burden off new parents,” Holiday said. “However, these meals might not be preferred, and are not the healthiest choices, thus provide some direction to those who care for you most.”
Give them a rundown of your favorites to make shopping easy. They can bring complete dinners, or just bags of non-perishable foods to help make meals easier to pull together
To make these delicious deliveries even more organized, set up an online calendar to help your family and friends coordinate meal-planning. This will ensure you’re not getting too many meals at once, or seeing big gaps with no meals at all.
“Help them plan,” Holiday said. “It will not only help you, but them, too.”
Stock up before the baby arrives
Use the days before the due date to stock the shelves in your freezer, refrigerator and pantry. Have an abundance of non-perishable food on hand. This will put lots of choices within reach when you are ready to make meals.
And don’t forget the snacks. Planning for snacks in advance means you’ll have something nutritious on hand when you’re reaching for a little something to keep you going on days filled with baby feedings, diaper duty and laundry.
“Being hungry and reaching for a snack can end in a less-than-healthy choice,” Holiday said. “Having a few snack options at least ready in your mind or written down—or better yet, prepared—will make that fast grab a healthy one.”
Think fresh fruit, bags of nuts, or other prepackaged items that will give you a nutrient boost, like BodyKey™ Zesty Protein Snacks, which come in single-serving bags. They can keep you going until your next good meal.
Parents of newborns often feel exhausted. Little ones need a lot of care and require feedings around the clock in those first few months. One way to help fight fatigue is with a healthy diet.
Another option is adding a supplement like Nutrilite™ Vitamin B Dual-Action, which provides up to 8 hours of energy support.†
“Depending on parents’ schedules, it could be recommended in the morning with breakfast, as they are starting the day with a few hours of sleep after newborn feedings every 2-4 hours,” Holiday said. “Or perhaps with lunch, to get through the rest of the day.”
She cautions that pregnant and nursing mothers, or anyone with medical conditions, should consult their physician before using any supplement.
Keep yourself hydrated
Just as parents are focused on nursing or bottle-feeding their little ones, they need to make sure they are staying hydrated as well. Holiday recommends opting for water and staying away from sugary drinks like juice and soda.
“If you need to make your water more exciting to drink it, try a carbonated or flavored water,” Holiday said. One option is Nutrilite™ Twist Tubes 2GO™, which add some vitamins and minerals to your water along with different fruit flavors.
With these tips, and a little help from family and friends, parents can make sure they’re getting the nutrition they need even when they are immersed in feeding, burping, changing and rocking their new little bundle of joy.
†This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.