• By guest contributor Larissa McBride •
I threw myself whole-heartedly into motherhood. I wanted to be the absolute best mother for my baby. I was all in with absolute devotion.
My desire to be the perfect mum left me feeling overwhelmed, anxious and thoroughly exhausted.
I couldn’t understand why my baby didn’t fit the exact feed-play-sleep mould! My baby wanted to feed all the time, craved intense physical contact and didn’t like sleeping much at all.
I felt out of control, confused and alone.
I knew something needed to change. A dear fellow-mum friend told me that mumma self care is the most valuable gift you can give to yourself AND your family.
Embracing this advice was life changing. It didn’t take long to turn my whole motherhood experience around.
My life as a mother is now filled with so much joy and love. Sure there is chaos and days that bring me to tears. However I hold the strong belief that I can only ever do my best.
Mumma self care for me is being exceptionally meticulous and motivated about my health. Health is wholistic for me. It means taking care of my mind, body and spirit.
My health gives me freedom in my day. It allows me to wake up and make the most out of life.
I want all mothers to wake-up every single day and think I can do this. I have the resilience, motivation, courage and energy to face this day.
10 life-changing practical tips and strategies that work!
1. Eat real wholesome food
Real food is fresh vegetables and fruits, eggs, meat, fish, dairy, whole-grains and legumes. Eating well is a non-negotiable for me. When I eat the foods I know are right for me I feel satisfied, nourished, calm and clear.
Stick to the perimeter of your grocery store. The middle aisles are filled with poor quality packaged food. For superior produce support the local farmers markets.
2. Prioritise food preparation
- Order groceries online and arrange delivery
- Stock your fridge and cupboard with nutritious foods
- Cook meals in bulk and freeze portions
- Pre-chop vegetables and meats for dinners later in the week
- Order healthy take-away for a treat
Aim for 2-3 litres of purified/filtered water. Keep a glass of water next to you while feeding your baby. Herbal teas are useful for encouraging lactation, calming the mind and settling digestion (for you and baby). My favourite blend is lemon grass, fennel and chamomile.
4. Daily movement
Find activities that you enjoy. Movement/exercise boosts your serotonin levels. Make it fun and use your baby as a weight and encourage your children to join in. Yoga is fantastic to improve strength and flexibility, and invigorates the mind. YouTube is great for a spare of the moment work-out.
Training groups are fantastic for motivation and connection with other mothers.
5. Outdoor activity
Rejuvenate your body and soul with sunshine. Vitamin D is known as the happy hormone for good reason! Sun gazing for a few minutes at sunrise is great for lifting your mood and balancing your circadian rhythm (awake-sleep cycle).
6. TOFU (Time Out For You)
Even just 10 minutes is enough to change your whole day. Lift your spirits and feel amazing! Find something that you love to do. Whether it is reading, singing, meditating, dancing, exercising, walking, swimming, having a bath or just breathing in the shower. Carve out this time each day and you will reap the wonderful rewards.
7. Practice gratitude
Gratitude is the magic for a life of abundant joy, love and peace. The magic is in the practice. When you write, think and feel your reasons for gratitude, you will naturally embrace even more joy in your day.
8. Find your tribe
Social connection is one of the most important things you can do for your health and wellbeing. Find like-minded mothers and treasure their love and support. Mothers who lift each other up thrive!
9. Super charge your breast milk
The nutritional needs of a breastfeeding mum are high. Eat superior quality food often (every 3 hours… even during the night!). Every meal and snack should contain some protein (meat, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds, whole-grains, legumes).
Breast milk is laden with nourishing fats for your baby. Your baby’s brain development and immunity will benefit from consumption of healthy fats such as fish, eggs, coconut, avocado, nuts, seeds and olive oil. Particular strains of probiotics improve immunity, digestive health and prevent allergies. Probiotics may be taken by the mother, sprinkled on the nipple or given to your baby in their bottle.
10. Enhance your health with the correct nutritional supplements and herbal medicine
The relentless and heavy demand on mothers takes it toll. Iron deficiency anaemia and thyroid dysfunction is very common in post-partum women and contributes to fatigue and hair loss. Thankfully both of these conditions can be identified by blood test and respond well to nutritional and herbal medicines. Breastfeeding mums need to mindful of protecting their bone health, as the calcium, magnesium and vitamin D requirements are very difficult to meet via diet alone. Magnesium is excreted under stress. Signs of magnesium deficiency include muscle spasms, eye twitches, fatigue, irritability, poor memory and reduced motivation and concentration.
Larissa provides advice & support, and massage therapy specialising in fertility and pregnancy. Larissa is a degree qualified and registered naturopath, clinical nutritionist, herbalist and pregnancy massage therapist.
She is also a very proud mumma and wife, adventure seeker and health nut. Larissa was born, raised, and now resides and works in the Sutherland Shire with her husband and baby girl. Larissa believes that all women on their fertility, pregnancy and motherhood journey need to be made to feel like they are the most important person in the world.