Good Routines for Working Moms With Infants
Many mothers juggle caring for an infant and working full- or part-time. According to a 2012 release from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 55.8 percent of mothers with infants either had jobs or searched for work in 2011. Working and performing your duties as a mother can be quite a chore, especially when life is filled with other responsibilities. Reduce the stress that often plagues working moms with infants by establishing a few routines.
Sleep is a hot commodity for most moms, especially those who have infants and work outside of the home. Fortunately, your baby requires much more sleep than you do. Mayo Clinic sleep specialist, Dr. Timothy Morgenthaler, M.D., recommends 14 to 15 hours of sleep for infants and seven to nine hours for adults 3. As a result, it’s a good idea for your infant’s bedtime to be a few hours before yours. Not only is the extra sleep good for your baby, it affords you the time you need to unwind or to finish preparations for the next day, which may include preparing your lunch, laying out your clothes and restocking all of your baby’s daycare essentials.
Mornings are often the most hectic time of day for working moms with infants. Not only do you need to get yourself ready for work, but you also need to get your baby, and possibly other children, ready for the day ahead. An effective morning routine includes waking up before your baby, allowing yourself enough time to take care of your own needs first. If you manage your time wisely, there may even be a few moments available for cuddling your little one before getting him dressed, feeding him and heading out the door.
The Mayo Clinic reports that exercise after pregnancy restores muscle strength, boosts energy levels and relieves stress 12. However, establishing an exercise routine often ends up at the bottom of a working mother’s to-do list. Commit to at least three workout sessions per week. If possible, complete workouts early in the morning before your infant wakes up or prior to picking him up from daycare. Also, consider activities that are easily performed in the presence of your little one. Good options include walking, jogging or participation in an at-home fitness program. You can even hold your baby while you perform certain strength-training exercises, such as squats or lunges.
Healthy Eating Routine
A healthy diet is essential for working mothers with infants. MayoClinic.com recommends stocking up on fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, which can help you shed extra pregnancy pounds and achieve long-term good health. Minimize the urge to eat fast food or order takeout during the workweek by devoting a few weekend hours to grocery shopping and meal planning and preparation. In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, purchase healthy on-the-go snacks, such as:
- protein bars
- trail mix
- whole grain crackers
- string cheese
To increase the likelihood that your entire family munches on the veggies, cut and store them in containers for easy access.
The combination of mothering an infant and working can be mentally taxing. HealthyChildren.org suggests unwinding with brief, quiet moments alone while you are at work and when you get home 5. Simple stretching techniques are also an effective way to reduce muscle tension and relieve stress overall.
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