Thinking about your health with a growing baby

Our goal for this session is to focus on your health as you care for your growing child.

img Reviewing Your Chat With Zuri Zuri taught you to focus on your personal health during early infancy. Taking care of your baby is a good thing, but so is caring for yourself.

Identifying Unhealthy Thoughts

Early infancy is an important period in your baby's development, but also a stressful period for you as you adjust to the baby’s many demands. New moms often focus so much on the baby that they neglect their own health. Some women even feel guilty about taking some time now and then to put their own needs first. Does this sound like you? Remember, when we don't take care of ourselves, we can suffer illness, and so can our children. The good news is that we can identify unhealthy thinking that leads us to neglect our health and change how we feel and act. Here are some examples of unhealthy thinking to look for.

Unhealthy Thought Makes Us Feel/Do Which May Result In
I am too tired to think clearly or do anything productive. Fatigue. We are more likely to give up and not try. Stresses build up leading to even more problems.
I have aches and pains in my body. I must be ill and there is nothing I can do about it. A cycle of stress and inaction leads to actual health problems.
img Writing Prompt What types of negative thoughts have you had about your own health in the past few weeks? What happens when you think these thoughts?

Replacing Unhealthy Thoughts with Healthy Thinking

While it might seem hard to find time at first, setting aside a few minutes each day to focus on your health will build strong habits and help you to be there for your baby when he or she needs you most. When starting new, healthier routines, however, watch out for "all or nothing thinking". This is when we tell ourselves that we have to be perfect from the start. That's just not true. Even adding a few minutes of rest and relaxation a day to start is a big win. Small changes can make big differences to health of the whole family. Here are some examples of healthy thoughts that can replace the negative things we tell ourselves.

Healthy Thought Makes Us Feel/Do Which May Result In
If I look after my health, I will feel less tired. Hopeful. Efforts to improve health, such as better nutrition. Cycle of inactivity broken leading to improved health.
My worries can wait until tomorrow. I can't do anything about them now. Reduced anxiety. Efforts to relax. Relaxation and rest leads to improved health.
img Writing Prompt What are some ways that you have taken care of your health within the past month? How did this make you feel?
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. Tips to Improve Sleep

With a new baby around it can be difficult to get a good night’s rest. Below are some suggestions to help you sleep well throughout the night. Try them over the next few days and circle the ones that worked best for you!

  1. Wait until you are drowsy to go to bed.
  2. Get up at about the same time every morning (if your baby allows).
  3. Avoid taking long naps during the day.
  4. Avoid drinking tea, coffee, or soft drinks within 6 hours before bedtime.
  5. Make the sleep environment comfortable for you! Adjust any pillows and reduce the amount of light.
  6. Spend some time exercising and relaxing every day.
img Writing Prompt How have you been sleeping lately? What helps you to have a good night of sleep?

2. Spending Time with Your Baby

Try the following exercises when you have time and are in a comfortable space.

img Gentle Massage:
  • Give your baby a gentle massage while making soothing sounds or saying loving words.
  • Try to do this once a day.
img Talking or Singing to Baby:
  • Talk or sing to your baby every day after feeding.
  • Listen to the sounds and watch the gesture your baby makes and try to mimic them.
  • Aim to do this 3 - 4 times per day.
img Playing with your Baby:
  • Play with your baby 3 - 4 times a day during different times of the day.
  • Show him/her different multi-colored objects or things that make a sound.
  • Hold the object out so your baby can grasp it but make sure they keep it clear from their mouth.

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

Did you give your baby a gentle massage? Did you sing or talk to your baby? Did you play with your baby?
Day 1 Yes / No Yes / No Yes / No
Day 2 Yes / No Yes / No Yes / No

3. Eating a Healthy Diet

img Writing Prompt Review your previous diet chart. One trick to finding time to focus on your health and wellbeing is to turn ordinary moments into opportunities for relaxation and joy. What are some moments in your normal day that you could use to feed your soul?

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

4. 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
  • It's not easy to find time for sleep with a newborn, especially when there are other young kids at home, but a rested mom is a healthy mom. Lean on your support system to help you 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

5. 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 do you feel when you spend a small amount of time on your health everyday?
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