You’ll enjoy this time more if you look after yourself so you feel in good shape and well as you take on your new role as a mother.
Food and Drink: During the months you breastfeed you need to eat more than usual (an extra 400-600 calories a day). You also need a highly nutritious diet to replace the nutrients that go into your milk. Making milk also uses up a lot fluid, so try not to let yourself get thirsty. Many women keep drinks by them as they breastfeed. As for alcohol, it’s best to drink only in moderation; babies tend to take less milk if it tastes of alcohol and some are fussy afterward.
Exercise: Start doing postpartum exercises (recommended by the doctor or hospital) when your doctor gives you the all clear. Exercise will tone your stomach muscles and make you feel good. Build your stamina and strength slowly and when the time is right, see how you can fit a daily half-hour of aerobic exercise into your everyday life. Ideas include walking briskly with your baby in a baby carriage or stroller, or swimming or joining an exercise class (leaving the baby safely nearby, in a nursery or with a sister)
Daylight and Fresh Air: Get some direct daylight on your skin each day to help keep your bones strong. This is especially important if you’re dark-skinned or live in northerly latitudes where the sun’s rays are weaker.
Be a Non-smoker: if you and your partner are non-smokers, both your baby and you will be healthier. If you stopped smoking before or during pregnancy, don’t restart now but continue to use alternative pleasures or stress-relieving strategies.
Your Figure: As long as you look after your breasts, breastfeeding itself won’t make them droopy. Wear a well-fitting bra by day and do the same at night too, because your breasts are heavier than usual then.
Relaxation and Play: Make time each day to relax, recuperate and restore your energy. Mothers need play just as much as their babies do! Problems can arise if the ways you used to relax before your baby are hard to fit in now that you’re a mom. If this happens, do some creative thinking to find new ways of getting enough fun and pleasure.
Sleep: It’s a fact of life that babies wake up at night. They aren’t being undisciplined or naughty, just doing what they need to do to nourish their rapidly growing bodies. It’s also a fact of life that mothers need sleep. So you will need to find ways of catching up with lost sleep. You might, for example, go to bed earlier, or catnap or have a siesta during the day.