Postnatal advisor Sharlene Poole has been helping parents to care for their babies for more than 20 years, and last year became a first-time mum herself. Here, she gives advice on how to look after yourself so that you have enough energy to look after your little one.
- I've always encouraged parents to eat well, consume less sugar and eat healthy food that fuels energy, especially breastfeeding mums. I liken new mothers to race horses or athletes – they need good protein and slow-releasing carbs alongside plenty of fruit and vegetables.
- Get out in the fresh air and take daily walks where possible. Morning walks are great but I find that in the afternoon, when you are starting to feel shattered, instead of filling up on sugar or caffeine, a 10-30 minute walk or a nap can help.
- Routine for you, your baby and family is a great tool for coping and providing mental energy.
- Ask for help, especially if you have babies or children not sleeping. Thinking that "it will get better soon" is not proactive – often things won't get better in time for you to be rested and energised enough to enjoy parenting and be the best parent you can be.
- I find a cup of miso or a vege juice is a brilliant and easy energy booster alongside a 10-minute cat nap, if possible. I also like to use a naturopath for advice on what I need personally.