If you are a new mom, it is normal for you to feel stressed as you have to get used to living a completely different life from the one you were used to. In this article let us explore how you can manage your stress.
What is stress?
Stress is the body’s way of equipping you to cope with change.
Any change good or bad – invariably cause stress.
Stress is not a bad thing. In fact, short term stress helps us to overcome challenges. This is called eustress.
But when stress is excessive or when stress persists for long periods – it starts affecting us adversely. This is called distress.
It is important to avoid distress when you are a new mom because your distress can create various problems.
Why are new moms stressed?
The most common reasons for new mom stress are –
- Physical exhaustion from birthing.
- Too much work because of being completely responsible for a baby.
- Fatigue from not getting enough sleep.
- Anxiety about being able to produce enough breast milk.
- Not being able to calm their crying babies.
- Feeling judged by relatives and friends.
- Low self-esteem because of not looking the way they used to.
- Unreal expectations from consuming content on social media.
How does the mom’s stress affect babies?
Babies are severely impacted by the stress that their mothers experience.
- Babies absorb their mother’s stress and cry excessively.
- Maternal stress makes babies clingy, and they insist on being carried all the time.
- Stress decreases breastmilk supply and affects the baby’s physical growth. It also results in the baby crying more and falling sick more often.
- When mothers are stressed, they interact less with their baby, and this affects the baby’s brain development and ability to learn.
How can you manage stress as a new mom?
- Eat a balanced diet.
A nutrient deficient body cannot withstand stress. Make sure you are eating enough complex carbohydrates so that your blood sugar does not fluctuate.
- Move your body.
Stretch your joints in between feeds. Go for 10-minute walks in fresh air.
- Prioritize relaxing baths.
When you are a new mom, you may need to plan meticulously to find the 30 minutes you need to take a relaxing bath. However, you must make the effort to do that because water is intensely relaxing.
- Try box breathing.
Sit with your eyes closed.
Breathe in through your nose while counting to 4.
Hold your breath with your lungs full and count to 4.
Breathe out through your mouth while counting to 4.
Hold your breath with your lungs empty and count to 4.
Repeat these steps for 4 minutes at a time.
- Get a massage.
Even if a full-fledged massage is not possible because of your busy nursing schedule, get a shoulder and head massage as you breastfeed.
It is impossible not to feel stressed when you are a new mom. However, with a little bit of effort, it is possible to manage the stress you are experiencing and sail through this period with ease.
Dr. Debmita Dutta MBBS, MD
Dr. Debmita Dutta MBBS, MD is a doctor, a parenting consultant, and the founder of WPA whatparentsask.com She conducts online and offline workshops on parenting for schools and corporate organisations. She also conducts online and offline prenatal and infant care classes. She is a well-known thought-leader in parenting and an expert on play, learning and eating habits. She is the author of 7 books on parenting published by Juggernaut Books and her books are among their most read books. She is frequently quoted in national and international publications of repute for her empathetic and compassionate approach and her application of physiology and neuroscience to parenting.