Natural Tips on Fighting New Mommy Stress—for You and Baby

We all suffer from a certain amount of stress in our daily lives. And to a certain extent, stress is a part of normal life. However, if you’re a mom or a caregiver, children can be a handful, especially for new parents and nannies that care for a child the majority of the day.  Stress is actually the body’s physical, mental or emotional reaction to any situational change that requires a response.

Events like these all qualify as stressors:

• A stressful event—i.e., like a crying, fussy child
• Continuous mental or physical strain without relief—i.e., if a sole caregiver never gets a break)
• A muscle stress that you’ve put on your body—i.e., muscle pain from picking up a child without supporting your lower back
• A pressing stress that constantly dominates your thoughts—i.e., worry over a child’s wellbeing
• A stressful reaction due to a dangerous or frightening situation—i.e., having a child involved in a violent relationship
• A tense atmosphere—i.e., concern over a financial situation on top of caring for your child

It’s the effects of long-term, ongoing stress (which is called distress) in situations like those listed above that can seriously affect your health, as well as the health of the child you’re caring for. If you don’t have effective ways of managing stress in a healthy way, it can manifest itself in our bodies and minds in several ways.

How Stress Affects the Health of New Moms & Nannies:

• Tight chest or chest pains
• Migraine headaches
• Stomach upset
• Digestive upset/gas or bloating
• Diarrhea or constipation
• High blood pressure
• Sleeplessness
• Post-partum depression
• Muscle soreness
• Fatigue
• Loss of drive (to have sex, social withdrawal)
• Anxiety attacks
• Mood swings
• Over-eating or under-eating/weight gain or loss

Natural stress relief tips for moms and nannies:

1. Walk it off – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends taking 10 minutes after any stressful situation to clear your head and calm down. A brisk walk reduces repetitive stress to the body as it gets a fresh dose of blood pumping to sore muscles. A walk also encourages you to breathe properly, calms down nerves, burns off excess anxiety, and actually increases productivity for once you return to caring for your child. If you can’t get out of your home, you can also do home-based exercises to beat stress—like yoga, run on a treadmill, use a stationary bike, or just close your eyes and take in a few rounds of deep breathing to slow your heart rate and stress level considerably.

2. Learn to ask for help – Taking on more and more responsibilities—on top of childcare—adds to your stress levels. Everyone needs a break so get in the habit of asking for help when you’re feeling stress. New moms shouldn’t be expected to take on all childcare responsibilities by themselves. Instead, book a babysitter or count on your spouse to look after baby a few nights a week so you can get some exercise or social time. Caregivers should also learn to say no if employers expect too much from them. If you feel too much obligation between childcare and housekeeping, suggest delegating responsibilities by hiring an assistant. This will lessen the pressure on you and let you focus doing the best job you can do.

3. Look at the bright side – Don’t dwell on the negative; instead adopt a positive attitude. Turn your focus to the positive things in your life, such as how lucky you are to have a family that loves you or how fortunate you are to work with children. Positive thinking helps you stay motivated and confident.

4. Eat a healthy, balanced diet – Many people with ongoing stress literally feel it in their digestive tract first. When the brain experiences stress, it interacts with the rest of the body through the nervous system, which regulates the digestion of food. A healthy balanced diet, rich in the following essential nutrients, will keep your digestion and your health on track:

• Magnesium—that essential nutrient for muscle health, keeps your heartbeat and sleep patterns regular with foods like milk and cheese; meat and veggie proteins like eggs, fish, seafood and tofu; as well as whole grains, leafy greens and nuts.
• Amino Acids—regulate mood and brain function as well as fight off stress and mood swings with foods like eggs, meat, fish and beans.
• B Vitamins—support adrenal function, your nervous system and are your essential nutrients in your fight against stress with foods like salmon, beef liver, broccoli, legumes, lentils, corn, soy, citrus fruits, nuts, sunflower seeds and eggs.
• Vitamin C—improves immunity, reduces cortisol (the stress hormone) levels, lowers blood pressure and diminishes the negative symptoms of stress on the body due with its antioxidant properties with foods in the citrus family, melon, mangoes, tomatoes, broccoli, red and green bell peppers, and other green leafy vegetables.

If the stress is already too much—your digestion system may be slow or already compromised. Make an appointment with your doctor to ask about taking prescription medication to treat irritable bowel syndrome or other digestive-related ailments. Often you can use an online Canadian pharmacy buy prescription medications at a cheaper price.

5. Celebrate the small things – Take time to reward yourself for a job well done—as a parent or a caregiver. When you have a good day or you complete a job well done, reward yourself and junior with ice cream, a new book or a massage. Acts in self-caring will keep you motivated and positive.

Guest post by Bernice Spradlin, an avid hiker and runner. She works at a gym in Brooklyn, New York, where she gets great inspiration for her freelance health-related articles and blogs. In her off time, you can often find Bernice jogging the East River path along the waterfront and enjoying the cool breeze. Bernice is currently looking for freelance writing work, and can be contacted at


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