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Being a new mama can feel like you’ve been thrown into the deep end of the swimming pool without your floaties, just trying to keep your head above water. Your whole life changes in an instant, and in that instant, self-care becomes extremely important. Here are 10 ways to be sure you enjoy the bliss of being a new mama, and shed your pregnancy pounds with ease.

new baby smiling at mom

Practice extreme self-care. Make your wellbeing and your baby’s wellbeing your number one priorities. This is a time when you have full permission to set everything else aside and focus on your new little bundle of joy and your own health — mental and physical. There is nothing more important right now.

Ask for help, and be willing to receive it. When friends and family ask how they can help, tell them! Don’t try to manage it all on your own. Be super clear with how your partner can help you, for example scheduling two times a week that they’ll stay with baby so you can get to an exercise class. Let a friend or family member watch the baby for a couple hours and treat yourself to a mani-pedi or massage. Ask your mom or mother-in-law to help make dinner and do the laundry. Be straightforward in communicating what you need. Some family members might just want to come over and hold the baby — which can be helpful — but if what you really need is for them to do chores so you can tend to the baby’s needs, let them know!

>> Read more: Stay Strong During Your Pregnancy with Amanda Strong

Outsource. What can be delegated? Hire a cleaning service, use a grocery delivery like Peapod or Fresh Direct. Order (healthy) delivery. Ask your partner to pick up some takeout. Make your life easier in any way possible!

Connect with other new mamas. How are you supposed to know anything about this mommy business if you don’t get the skinny from other moms? Find a local mommy support group or meet-up. If you prefer to connect virtually, search out new mama Facebook groups. Tap into your mama friends’ knowledge and experience. Find a place where you can ask questions and get non-judgmental answers, and where you can vent about the challenges of being a new mom!

Get sleep. However possible. If that means you co-sleep, keep the baby in a bassinet in your room, or have her in the crib, do whatever you need to in order to get some sleep. This requires trial and error to figure out what works for you and your family. There’s no right or wrong, as long as you’re sleeping! Nap when baby naps for as long as you can!

mom baby sleep

Drink TONS of water. Try to get 64 ounces a day. I like to fill up big mason jars multiple times a day at home, and keep a tumbler with me on the go. This is super important if you are breastfeeding, but is always a good idea for overall health.

Make healthy food easy. In the summer, salads can be your go-to. In the winter, you may swear by the slow cooker. Keep it simple to keep it homemade. Smoothies are a great breakfast option, with ice and frozen fruit in the summer, or no ice and fresh fruit in the winter so they aren’t as cold. Overnight oats are fantastic anytime, and can be made in big batches with healthy and tasty add-ins.

>> Read more: Vitamins & Supplements You Need When Pregnant

Walk. A lot. With the stroller. If the weather is good, get out there and walk TONS. As soon as you get the go-ahead from your doc, try to start walking at least 30 minutes to an hour daily. It can melt away the pounds, make for a great core workout with the stroller, and help heal my diastsis recti (separation of abdominals that occurs during pregnancy in some women). Your baby will almost always nap while we you’re both out walking, which makes it a win-win!

interval jogging with stroller

Breastfeed. If you can. Breastfeeding burns up to 500 calories a day, not to mention all the benefits for your new babe, and the amazing connection it creates between the two of you.

Be kind to yourself. It took you 40 weeks to grow your baby; it could take just as long to get back to your pre-pregnancy body. And even then, things might not be where you left them. But take one look at your sweet baby and know that the most important thing is your health and ability to take care of your little one. And know that over time, it’s possible for you to be even stronger than you were before!