Maintaining your health with a newborn baby

Our goal for this session is to teach you ways you can stay healthy while adjusting to life with a new baby.

img Reviewing Your Chat With Zuri Zuri taught you the importance of making time for yourself even with a busy schedule. Your health is just as important as your baby’s!

Identifying Unhealthy Thoughts

When you have to take care of a newborn baby, it can start to feel like your health does not matter. These types of negative thoughts can affect your lifestyle. If your health gets worse it can also have a negative impact on your baby’s health.

Here are a couple examples of thoughts that women have about their own health and how they can affect more than just your life:

Unhealthy Thought Makes Us Feel/Do Which May Result In
I have too much to do already. I can’t be bothered by my own health. Not getting enough rest or enough time for self-care. Difficulty for caring for baby due to tiredness and weakness.
I am not good enough to be a mother. Feelings of guilt and low self-esteem. Thinking that I don’t deserve to feel happy. Poor personal health and harder to make sure baby’s health is strong.
img Writing Prompt Describe times when you have felt like you don’t care or don’t have time to care about your own health. What makes you feel this way?

Replacing Unhealthy Thoughts with Healthy Thinking

Though it is normal to experience unhealthy thoughts, you must learn to identify when it happens. In these moments, try to think about how you can approach the particular situation with a positive mind. Remind yourself that there are little things you can do to be happy and healthy.

Healthy Thought Makes Us Feel/Do Which May Result In
Doing a little everyday (just as much as I can) is better than just sitting and worrying. Pick one task that will improve my health and make it a habit to do it. Breaking the cycle of feeling like my health is out of my control.
Under my circumstances, I try to do the best I can for my children. Part of being a good mother is looking after my personal health. A healthier mother means healthier children.
img Writing Prompt Write down some changes that you can make to your daily routine to focus more on your own health.
img Let's Practice Practice is a big part of the Healthy Moms program. We must learn how to Think Healthy, and practice is an essential part of learning.

1. Post Delivery Exercises

Try these out in a comfortable and safe space in your home. Always check with your doctor before starting new exercise routines, especially if you had a complicated delivery or cesarean section (c-section).

img Back Presses:
  • Lie your legs flat. Bend and stretch your toes. Roll your feet in one direction and then switch to the other side.
  • Bend your knees again and press your back against the floor, pulling your abdomen.
  • Hold this position while you count to 6, then relax. Exhale and start again.
img Abdomen Pulls:
  • Stay seated on the ground
  • Exhale and pull up through the muscles which your baby was born. It is just like as you contract muscles when trying to stop the flow of urine.
  • Hold the contraction while you count to 6 and then relax.
  • Exhale and then repeat 5 times.
img Leg Pulls:
  • Lie flat on the ground with your right knee bent and left leg straight.
  • Slide the heel of your left leg down the bed as far as possible, and then slide the whole leg up the bed. Only your waist muscles must work.
  • Repeat with the other leg, and do it 4 times with each leg.

Create this chart in your notebook and track how often you try these exercises.

Did you complete the back presses? Did you complete the abdomen pulls? Did you complete the leg pulls?
Day 1 Yes / No Yes / No Yes / No
Day 2 Yes / No Yes / No Yes / No

Writing Prompt What did you enjoy about the physical exercises? What did you find challenging?

2. Eating a Healthy Diet

img Writing Prompt Review your previous diet chart. What changes in your diet have you noticed since you gave birth?

Create a chart like this in your notebook and use it to monitor your diet.

Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner
Ex. Tea, porridge, banana Chips and sausage Mandazi Ugali, beef stew, sukuma wiki
Day 1

Day 2

3. Making Time for Rest and Relaxation

img Slow Breathing:
  • Relax your body. Inhale for 3 seconds and exhale for 3 seconds.
  • Do this 2 to 3 times per day for 10 to 15 minutes each time.
img Walking:
  • Follow a gentle walking pace.
  • Do this 1 time per day for 15 to 20 minutes.
img Sleep:
  • Let your mind relax
  • New moms struggle to get a full night's rest, but it's important to try. Ask for help so you can get some sleep.

Create this chart in your notebook and track how often you try the rest and relaxation activities.

Did you practice slow breathing today? Did you go for a walk today? Did you get a full night’s sleep?
Day 1 Yes / No Yes / No Yes / No
Day 2 Yes / No Yes / No Yes / No

4. Keeping Track of Your Mood

Remember, keeping track of your thoughts and feelings is a great way to see how you change and grow over time. So at least once a day, imagine the 10-step emotion ladder from Session 1 and rate how you are feeling. On the bottom step (1) are women who feel very sad and blue. On the top step (10) are women who feel great with no sadness. Which step best shows how you are feeling?

Create the following chart in your journal. If you are feeling very happy—as happy as you have ever been—you might tick the box for a 9 or 10. If you are having a really tough day, you might tick the box for step 1 or 2. Tick whatever box is right for you. Just remember that low numbers mean more sadness, and high numbers mean more happiness.


img Writing Prompt How does your baby change the way that you feel on a daily basis?
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