Planning for a baby is a major project and being ready mentally, physically and financially to welcome a new member in the family is crucial. During pregnancy, you will have to bring in certain changes in your lifestyle, from what you eat to how you dress.
Some people may say, you’re eating for two when pregnant. Yet at the same time, you cannot eat big meals because you’ll get very full and very uncomfortable. Eating lighter, smaller portions slowly and frequently is one of the eating habits during pregnancy that will most likely agree with that upset stomach which comes with pregnancy. So, I end up eating smaller meals, which is healthier and I’ll have to eat more frequently.
Eating smaller but frequent meals will mean that you get hungry every three hours, like what has happened to me. I guess it’s also because there’s a baby inside me. There will be days when you graze like a toddler, snacking all day long. Sometimes you’ll satisfy the “always hungry” feeling by eating all the time. Also, you realise that you will try to be a bit more cautious and more aware of what you’re eating, so you don’t eat “rubbish” and reduce eating all those junk food. Start loading up on healthy whole foods, like leafy greens, eggs, and omega-3s if you haven’t!
I also find myself getting tired very easily when pregnant with Baby M. There’re some days that actually I sleep early at 930 pm at night, or by 1030 pm on the average. A lesson that I learnt is that very often, whether pregnant or not, we should always tell ourselves that we need to eat until we feel full before stopping. However, I realised that you have to have the discipline to stop even before you’re full, especially when pregnant. This is because by the time you stop when you’re too full, you’re already too full and it’s (really) very uncomfortable.
When you found out you were pregnant, you needed to know that your life was going to change forever. There’s just so much to look forward to, like bringing your baby home, seeing his first smile, hearing his first coo. Also, the body was in for some changes, gaining weight during pregnancy, bigger breasts, maybe swollen ankles if you stayed on your feet too long.
When the baby is born, it’s a whole new set of lifestyle changes that you need to embrace, especially with new routines. What changes to expect when you have a baby? Perhaps a better question will be, what doesn’t change?
Here are some of the changes that I’ve experienced.
1. A lot less sleep
Looking after a baby can be really tiring, especially in the first few months after the birth when the baby is likely to wake several times during the night. Losing sleep is an obvious lifestyle change that comes about with having a baby. Even if you have help at home, having a baby is still equivalent to having significantly less sleep. However, insufficient sleep leads to lowered breast milk supply. Your body’s immunity will be lower and you tend to fall sick easily. If you don’t have enough sleep, you can get easily frustrated and the overall mood will be poorer too. If you’re feeling low, bad-tempered and unable to cope or enjoy things, you have to find a way of getting more sleep or at least more rest for yourself.
I realised that I need to learn how to manage everything with less sleep. For example, I started by shifting my sleep timing earlier, such that I sleep before 1130pm. I find that even though I may sleep lesser hours, I actually feel more rested. I guess the saying “an hour of sleep before midnight is better than two after midnight” is true after all.
2. Irregular meals and water intake
Taking care of babies is never easy. Sometimes, we get so caught up with the children that we forget to eat on time or even drink water. Yet it’s so crucial for milk supply and our own health that we drink enough and hydrate ourselves. You may also suddenly find that your mealtime gets shorter and shorter as you gobble up the food in less than five minutes, or skip the meal altogether. Therefore, it’s important to be more aware and whenever we can, don’t rush and gobble our food when unnecessary.
3. Wanting to go home more often and earlier because I miss my baby
Some moms might feel mom guilt, and hard as it sounds, try not to. It’s already hard enough being a working mom, so don’t beat yourself up with mom guilt. It’s easy said than done. When I’m at work these days, I do find myself wanting to finish early so I can go back and see Baby M. I was pretty frustrated at first but I figured one way of coping is to be more time efficient and effective when I work. When I work, say from 10am-5pm, I make sure I give my best and all and be productive. As such, I can clear and settle as much as work possible for the day so that when I come back and accompany my baby from 530 to 7 pm (before his bedtime), I can fully concentrate on him and spend quality time with him.
Though these changes might be overwhelming, I’m still enjoying motherhood to the fullest!