As a new mom, it can be hard to think of anything other than protecting your baby’s health and safety. But your baby isn’t the only vulnerable one. In the midst of shifting hormones, sleep deprivation, stress, and postpartum depression, a lot is working against your body’s ability to stay healthy and fight infection. And any illness you get may pass along to your baby. That’s why finding ways to boost your immune system as a new mom is so necessary.
Prioritize Your Health
When you’re taking care of someone else, it’s easy to forget to care for yourself. But the moment you let things like sleep, proper diet, sufficient hydration, and exercise go by the wayside, you leave your immune system at a disadvantage. Try these tips for taking care of your body’s needs:
- Develop a network of people to help with childcare, such as your partner, relatives, and friends. Allowing a friend to watch the baby for an hour or so a few times a week can give you time to nap or practice self-care.
- Try meal planning or using a meal prep service to make sure you’re getting balanced meals regularly.
- Buy a sizable water bottle, and keep it next to you. The proximity may help motivate you to drink more water.
- If a workout is too much to handle, start with light stretching and exercises a few times throughout the day.
Mental health does have an impact on physical health. When we’re stressed, our bodies release the hormone cortisol, which suppresses immune functions. If you’re feeling stressed, acknowledge it and get to the root of it. Talk about it with those around you, join support groups, journal, meditate, or just take time to step away and do something you enjoy like a hobby.
Incorporate Essential Oils
Aromatherapy with essential oils is another natural stress-relief strategy for you and everyone in the house. But stress relief isn’t the only way essential oils can boost a new mom’s immune system. Some essential oils have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that help detoxify the air and reduce congestion. A few of these include:
- Tea tree
Not all essential oils are of the same quality, though. Be sure you research your brand before buying it. Otherwise, you can always invest in the machinery to make your own oils.
In Japan, there is a practice known as shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing.” The idea behind it is to spend intentional, mindful time in a forest. Although simple, forest bathing can improve blood pressure, sleep, energy, focus, mood, and immune system functionality. See if there are any nature preserves near where you live. If not, find time to take a simple walk or sit on the back porch.