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Delicious And Nutritious Pregnancy Diet Plan

Delicious And Nutritious Pregnancy Diet Plan

Let’s start with what you can’t eat for your pregnancy diet plan. If before you got pregnant you couldn’t eat like a glutton you still can’t. But now the list of things you can’t eat has grown considerably. You can’t eat deli meat or some types of fish (that would contain mercury). Of course at some point, usually in the early stages, you won’t be able to keep any food down. Morning sickness is common for most pregnancies, and will eventually subside.

Iron rich diet

pregnancy diet plan

    Any red meat will work, and you can take prenatal vitamins but the best source of iron is cooked animal flesh. Certain vegetables are good as well and chicken is a great source of iron if you prefer something with less fat. Steak is a perfect carnivorous treat for your growing baby. Make sure to order a side of broccoli because that too is iron rich.

    Crab Salad Sandwhich

    Got crabs? You should get crabs, I’m telling you they are the best. Seafood is full Omega-3 and this recipe for crab sandwiches is the best lunchtime snack for you and your baby. Catfish is not allowed.

    NUTRIENT TOTALS

    Calories: 564.4
    Protein: 33.2 g
    Carbohydrate: 69.6 g
    Dietary Fiber: 11.9 g
    Total Sugars: 9.441 g
    Total Fat: 20.8 g
    Saturated Fat: 2.286 g
    Cholesterol: 110.5 mg
    Total Omega-3 FA: 1.186 g
    Calcium: 183.2 mg
    Iron: 6.462 mg
    Sodium: 1103 mg
    Vitamin D: 0 mcg
    Folate: 87.6 mcg
    Folic Acid: 0 mcg

    Parmesan Chicken Tenders with Marinara dipping Sauce

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      Who says you can’t go out and still eat healthy? These nutrition facts are a great guide for eating right at any restaurant, where you’re sure to find chicken of a similar fashion.

      NUTRIENT TOTALS

      Calories: 649.2
      Protein: 50.9 g
      Carbohydrate: 69.6 g
      Dietary Fiber: 10.7 g
      Total Sugars: 19.7 g
      Total Fat: 22.8 g
      Saturated Fat: 4.002 g
      Cholesterol: 92.5 mg
      Total Omega-3 FA: .222 g
      Calcium: 231.4 mg
      Iron: 3.678 mg
      Sodium: 1171 mg
      Vitamin C: 68.1 mg
      Folate: 86.5 mcg
      Folic Acid: 11.1 mcg
      Food Folate: 75.4 mcg

      Pork and Pineapple Kebabs

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        Dads are sure to love this one, men have always prided themselves as being the steward of the grill, whether it’s steak or these healthy kebobs you can bet your man will grill them to a perfection that will satisfy your pregnancy cravings and then some.

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        NUTRIENT TOTALS

        Calories: 640.6
        Protein: 35.6 g
        Carbohydrate: 86.8 g
        Dietary Fiber: 15.2 g
        Total Sugars: 28.6 g
        Total Fat: 19.2 g
        Saturated Fat: 3.429 g
        Cholesterol: 71.4 mg
        Total Omega-3 FA: .187 g
        Calcium: 75.1 mg
        Iron: 4.212 mg
        Sodium: 366.8 mg
        Vitamin C: 103.2 mg
        Folate: 101.5 mcg
        Folic Acid: 0 mcg
        Food Folate: 101.5 mcg

        Nachos

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          Being pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t have a party! Nachos are the best party treat that you can provide, and if you already have a little one they will love them as well.

          NUTRIENT TOTALS

          Calories: 656.8
          Protein: 36.9 g
          Carbohydrate: 70.4 g
          Dietary Fiber: 11.9 g
          Total Sugars: 9.806 g
          Total Fat: 29 g
          Saturated Fat: 7.082 g
          Cholesterol: 30 mg
          Total Omega-3 FA: .44 g
          Calcium: 712.1 mg
          Iron: 4.461 mg
          Sodium: 1517 mg
          Vitamin C: 9.557 mg
          Folate: 140.6 mcg
          Folic Acid: 0 mcg
          Food Folate: 140.6 mcg

          Soup and Bread

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            The comfort of a warm soup will melt away the stress that carrying a baby will bring. Add some bread and your taste bud and baby will thank you. They might give you a little kick after but don’t worry that just means they like it. This recipe for one of my favorite comfort foods is healthy and delicious.

            NUTRIENT TOTALS

            Calories: 200.7
            Protein: 7.689 g
            Carbohydrate: 33.7 g
            Dietary Fiber: 3.416 g
            Total Sugars: 2.67 g
            Total Fat: 4.44 g
            Saturated Fat: 1.277 g
            Cholesterol: 3.283 mg
            Total Omega-3 FA: .892 g
            Calcium: 126.4 mg
            Iron: 2.498 mg
            Sodium: 625.9 mg
            Vitamin C: .723 mg
            Folate: 76.5 mcg
            Folic Acid: 4.82 mcg
            Food Folate: 71.6 mcg

            Vegetarian alternative

            pregnancy diet plan
              A dish of delicious hummus

              Chickpeas, lentils, and tofu are natural sources of iron that won’t offend your ethics. If you don’t eat meat there are more ways than one to make substitutions for a carnivorous craving of meat. This means that your pregnancy diet plan doesn’t need to include meat, so you can stay healthy if you don’t eat it. The Vegetarian Society recommends vitamin C; a small dose of this will help your body absorb iron better.

              Hummus

              Here’s a great homemade recipe for hummus,

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              NUTRIENT TOTALS

              Calories: 210
              Protein: 6 g
              Carbohydrate: 32 g
              Fiber: 3 g
              Fat: 7 g
              Saturated fat: 1 g
              Sugars: 2 g
              Calcium: 24 mg
              Sodium: 597 mg

               Frozen Yogurt Pops

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                Frozen yogurt pops anyone? It’s as easy as buying some yogurt and adding a stick. Just make sure to get a cute tray for your frozen treat and store it in your freezer. Great for any hot summer day, especially if you’re pregnant and wanting to cool off, it’s also full of nutrients, and more so than a flavored ice pop.

                NUTRIENT TOTALS

                Calories: 100
                Protein: 6 g
                Carbohydrate: 18 g
                Fiber: 0 g
                Fat: 0 g
                Saturated fat: 0 g
                Sugars: 16 g
                Sodium: 130 mg

                Creamy Strawberry Mousse

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                  This treat needs no introduction, I’m practically salivating myself and don’t have the extra amount of hunger of a pregnant woman. If you’re planning on making this treat it does make enough for two. Sharing is caring they say, who better to share it with than your baby’s father?

                  NUTRIENT TOTALS (with non-fat yogurt)

                  Calories: 132
                  Protein: 8 g
                  Carbohydrate: 25 g
                  Fiber: 2 g
                  Fat: 0 g
                  Saturated fat: 0 g
                  Sugar: 20 g
                  Calcium: 105 mg
                  Sodium: 29 mg

                  Prep: 20 mins
                  Total Time: 30 mins 

                  Fiesta Salad

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                    Salads are low calorie meals that won’t send your gastrointestinal system into a bind. They also have, with the right ingredients the variety of nutrition that you and your growing baby need.

                    NUTRIENT TOTALS

                    Calories: 542.7
                    Protein: 27.4 g
                    Carbohydrate: 66.9 g
                    Dietary Fiber: 20.7 g
                    Total Sugars: 7.892 g
                    Total Fat: 21.4 g
                    Saturated Fat: 5.26 g
                    Cholesterol: 20 mg
                    Total Omega-3 FA: .401 g
                    Calcium: 360 mg
                    Iron: 5.411 mg
                    Sodium: 394.3 mg
                    Vitamin D: 0 mcg
                    Folate: 415.8 mcg
                    Folic Acid: 0 mcg

                    Loaded Pesto Veggie Burger

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                      Portabella mushrooms are the steak of vegetarians, and if you’ve never eaten a veggie burger you are missing out on a delicious and rather nutritious meal. Meat eaters and vegetarians alike will enjoy this recipe.

                      NUTRIENT TOTALS

                      Calories: 549.1
                      Protein: 33.2 g
                      Carbohydrate: 55.4 g
                      Dietary Fiber: 11.8 g
                      Total Sugars: 13.3 g
                      Total Fat: 22.2 g
                      Saturated Fat: 7.257 g
                      Cholesterol: 30.1 mg
                      Total Omega-3 FA: .356 g
                      Calcium: 413.5 mg
                      Iron: 3.905 mg
                      Sodium: 867.8 mg
                      Vitamin D: .312 mcg
                      Folate: 125.3 mcg
                      Folic Acid: 0 mcg

                      Stuffed Acorn Squash

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                        Stuffed acorn squash has tons of nutrients that all pregnant women need. Cut 1 medium acorn squash in half and remove those pesky seeds. Place it on a baking sheet or pan and slide it in the oven. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. You can throw whatever you like on it but here’s a great recipe.

                        NUTRIENT TOTALS

                        Calories: 641.7
                        Protein: 23.6 g
                        Carbohydrate: 110.2 g
                        Dietary Fiber: 16.2 g
                        Total Sugars: 6.101 g
                        Total Fat: 16.5 g
                        Saturated Fat: 3.59 g
                        Cholesterol: 6.8 mg
                        Total Omega-3 FA: .438 g
                        Calcium: 362.5 mg
                        Iron: 7.457 mg
                        Sodium: 763.8 mg
                        Vitamin C: 55.4 mg
                        Folate: 198.2 mcg
                        Folic Acid: 0 mcg
                        Food Folate: 198.2 mcg

                        Natural sources of DHA

                        DHA is found in most pregnancy supplemental pills, and can be found naturally in fish. Some fish however, are not okay to eat. Levels of mercury will hurt your baby so any fish that would be exposed to it is not healthy to eat. Your baby shares your blood and mercury never gets filtered out of your blood by any of your organs. It stays there, and adding any additional mercury to your blood is unwise during your pregnancy. With that said, DHA is great for your diet and halibut or mackerel is safe for you to eat.

                        Energy drinks

                        Careful — not too much! One of them would be okay, and many have things like niacin and B12 in them. You’re safe to have caffeine in small amounts, but some energy drinks would exceed the recommended amount for a pregnant woman. You can find natural sources for any of the supplements found in prenatal multi-vitamins.

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                        pregnancy diet plan

                          Folic acid

                          Any of the vegetarian examples I gave for sources of iron can also be great sources for folic acid. Other natural sources include beets, and the before mentioned broccoli. One cup of beets is about 35% of your recommended daily intake of folic acid. They also happen to be a good source of antioxidants. Your pregnancy diet plan is not complete without a varied diet of vegetables.

                          Egg Wrap: Full of Folates

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                            Wraps are quick and simple to make. Just scramble some eggs and throw in some vegetables and seasoning, and wrap it up!

                            NUTRIENT TOTALS

                            Calories: 453.4
                            Protein: 26.2 g
                            Carbohydrate: 44 g
                            Dietary Fiber: 6.86 g
                            Total Sugars: .941 g
                            Total Fat: 21.2 g
                            Saturated Fat: 5.989 g
                            Cholesterol: 231.5 mg
                            Total Omega-3 FA: .164 g
                            Calcium: 353.8 mg
                            Iron: 4.448 mg
                            Sodium: 856.6 mg
                            Vitamin D: .438 mcg
                            Folate: 123.6 mcg
                            Folic Acid: 16.8 mcg

                            You’re hungry right?

                            Things that are high in fat might be the perfect junk food, or a nice way to ease your anxiety, but too much of things like lipids and glucose will harm your baby. It’s, obviously, not as bad as doing drugs, but your diet is important for your baby’s development in the womb. I really don’t think I should have to say that your diet should not include alcohol.

                            You will need to eat more than you have been eating, but not too much. Most people don’t eat the right things; many of us eat at fast food restaurants or other places that serve food that isn’t healthy. The recipes here will help you fulfill the specific diet needs that your baby will require. All that is missing is someone to come to your house and cook it for you.

                            The Pregnancy Diet Plan Regimen

                            You may have a busy schedule, and need a tightly regimented pregnancy diet plan that’s convenient for you. Here are some easy meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack:

                            Breakfast

                            Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, or if you just enjoy the taste of the sort of meals people usually eat at breakfast have them at midnight.

                            1. Spinach Smoothie – Mix 1/2 cup of plain, non-fat greek yogurt, a handful of spinach, 1 cup of frozen fruit (the fruit covers the flavor of the spinach), 2 tablespoons of chia seed, and a little water in a blender. This one is fast and easy, covers every essential nutrient, and is ideal for mamas with morning sickness because it’s easy on the tummy.
                            2. PB&J Oatmeal – Make 1/2 cup of organic old fashioned rolled oats as directed with 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries. Add 1 tablespoon of peanut butter (peanuts only, no sugar, salt, or oils added) and mix.
                            3. Egg Muffins – Add chopped veggies and lean meat of your choice to a non-stick muffin pan, pour whisked egg over the top, bake at 350 until browned, about 20 minutes. You can prepare a large batch of these and refrigerate, then reheat and eat each morning.
                            4. Sweet Potato Hash – cook scrambled eggs, turkey sausage or leftover lean meat, chopped veggies of your choice (I like spinach and onion), and diced sweet potato together in a skillet.
                            5. Breakfast Tacos – scramble eggs, add lean meat like turkey sausage, sprinkle a little organic shredded cheese on top and serve in a warm corn tortilla (make sure the only ingredient in your tortilla is corn, available at Whole Foods). I eat this with a side of sliced bell peppers. Make a big batch of these, freeze and reheat.
                            6. Cookie Dough Cereal – 1/2 cup organic old fashioned rolled oats, 2T nut butter, 1t organic raw honey, and a sprinkle of unsweetened cocoa powder mixed together until crumbly. Add 1/2 cup milk and enjoy.
                            7. Blueberry Waffles or Pancakesrecipe here
                            8. Veggie Omelet – make an omelet with any chopped veggies you like, I prefer spinach, tomatoes, onion, with a sprinkle of pasteurized goat cheese, or go with broccoli, sun dried tomatoes, bell peppers, kale, asparagus – the possibilities are endless. Add fresh herbs like basil, oregano and chives for more flavor.
                            9. Southwestern Scramble – 2 eggs, hatch chiles, onion, shredded chicken, and avocado scrambled together
                            10. Greek Yogurt and Berries – use organic, plain greek yogurt, mix in fresh berries, cinnamon, and vanilla. For some crunch add sliced almonds. Quick and easy.

                            Lunch

                            silasfount568

                              Lunch is one my favorite meals, in fact instead of the “second breakfast” that hobbits tend to enjoy, I prefer second lunch.

                              1. Whole Wheat Pita Sandwich – stuff it with greens like baby spinach, chopped veggies, and lean meat. Add a little pasteurized goat cheese or spicy mustard.
                              2. Super Food Salad – start with a leafy green like spinach or kale, add a chopped veggie of every color (red/yellow/orange bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, celery, carrots, etc.), add high omega-3 nuts or seeds for crunch (walnuts, pumpkin seeds) and a super fruit like pomegranate seeds or berries. Dress with a little extra virgin olive oil and vinegar, like balsamic or apple cider. Top with grilled chicken, hardboiled eggs, smoked turkey breast, or another lean meat. Prep all your veggies and meat on the day you buy them, so all you have to do is assemble the salad at mealtime.
                              3. Healthy Chicken Salad – instead of mayo, use a combination of avocado and plain, non-fat organic greek yogurt to make a chicken salad (I like to add celery, green and red onions, cilantro, lime juice). Serve on a bed of leafy greens, lettuce cups, or use a collard green leaf as a wrap.
                              4. Quinoa Salad – Prepare quinoa (you can do this ahead of time and store in the fridge), season with your favorite spices and fresh herbs, add chopped veggies (asparagus, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, or artichokes for example), lean meat, and avocado for a healthy fat, mix together. You could also add garbanzo beans for extra protein and fiber, or sub for the lean meat. Here’s a recipe.
                              5. Chili or Soup – Make a large batch of turkey chili or vegetable soup, store in the fridge to reheat and eat. Here’s my favorite Turkey Chili recipe and my favorite stew recipe.
                              6. Burrito Bowl – Heat up cooked brown rice (or you can make a batch of cauliflower riceto to get in an extra veggie), add roasted red peppers, black beans, lean meat (I like shrimp), and mix with a little salsa or fire roasted tomatoes. Top with avocado and a splash of lime juice.
                              7. Turkey Burger – mix together ground turkey breast with hatch chiles and seasoning, form into a patty and grill. Serve in a collard green wrap or on a bed of spinach. Top with tomato, onion, and sliced avocado. If you’re craving fries with your burger, cut up a sweet potato into fries, coat with a teaspoon of grapeseed oil, season and bake until crispy. You can also make these ahead of time, freeze and reheat.
                              8. Veggie Pizza – Layer wilted spinach, fresh basil, minced garlic, carmelized onions, thin-sliced roma tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes, fire roasted red peppers, and cubed chicken on a piece of whole wheat naan. Optional – sprinkle with skim mozzarella or parmesan. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
                              9. Beef and Broccoli – Take leftover or prepared beef (I like flank steak, grass-fed if you can find it), toss with baked spaghetti squash (or wilted bean sprouts), steamed broccoli, sesame seeds, sesame oil, white wine vinegar, fish sauce, chopped green onion and chopped peanuts. You could also add shredded carrots.
                              10. Taco Salad – make your own taco shells by rubbing whole wheat tortillas with a little olive oil and sea salt, press into an oven safe bowl, and bake at 400 degrees (tortilla side up) for 10 minutes or until crispy. Add shredded greens like romaine, chopped veggies of your choice and/or pico de gallo, sliced avocado, mexican-seasoned cooked ground beef (grass-fed and lean), and a sprinkle of colby-jack cheese if desired. Top with a dollop of plain greek yogurt mixed with fresh salsa.

                              Dinner

                              1. Baked Salmon and Veggies – an easy meal, place a wild-caught salmon filet in a foil packet, top with sliced tomatoes and onions, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Bake in the oven or grill until fish is tender and flaky, and serve with a side of roasted broccoli and garlic
                              2. Grilled Chicken Tenders – marinate chicken tenderloin all day in the fridge with Worcestershire, olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt/pepper and minced garlic. Grill and serve with a side of baked sweet potato fries (see above) and cucumber salad (sliced cucumber, diced red onion, apple cider vinegar, plain greek yogurt)
                              3. Spinach, Strawberry, and Chicken Salad – Baby spinach, sliced strawberries, sliced almonds, diced cucumber, grilled chicken tossed with homemade vinaigrette dressing (olive oil, touch of raw organic honey, lemon juice, white wine vinegar whisked together)
                              4. Spaghetti and Spinach Meatballs – prepare whole wheat spaghetti or spaghetti squash, toss with tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, pepper flakes, basil, and a pinch of salt. Make meatballs with ground turkey breast or grass-fed lean ground beef by mixing with chopped spinach, kale, or broccoli, minced garlic, onion, and egg, and baking in the oven. Serve with a small side salad.
                              5. Stuffed Butternut or Acorn Squash – Stuff a roasted squash with cooked lean meat of your choice (seasoned lean grass-fed beef or ground turkey is my fave), black beans, chopped veggies, spinach. Bake in the oven until hot, sprinkle with cheese.
                              6. Zucchini Boats – We love this recipe
                              7. Salmon and Veggie Kabobs – Marinate Salmon, zucchini and/or summer squash, onion and bell peppers in the fridge (I use a marinade of hummus mixed with olive oil) for a few hours. Layer fish and veggies on skewer and grill until salmon is firm but flaky. Great with a giant slice of watermelon in the summertime!
                              8. Greek Chicken Salad – chopped romaine, grilled chicken (marinated in lemon juice and olive oil), grape tomatoes, chopped cucumber, a sprinkle of crumbled (pasteurized) feta, olives, red onion, and homemade dressing with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garlic.
                              9. Thai Meatballs, Broccoli and Noodles – Make a peanut thai sauce by whisking coconut milk (canned), peanut butter, curry paste, a touch of honey, soy sauce, fish sauce, and sesame oil. Make meatballs by combining lean grass-fed beef with soy sauce, egg, chopped spinach, and chopped green onion, bake or brown in skillet. Add broccoli and serve over baked spaghetti squash or wilted bean sprouts, add sauce and toss. Garnish with chopped peanuts and green onion.
                              10. Roasted Shrimp and Veggies – Toss peeled and de-veined shrimp with cauliflower, broccoli, onion, minced garlic, chopped tomatoes and a little olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and pepper. Roast until shrimp is pink and veggies are tender.

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                                Snacks

                                Snacks are going to be a big part of your pregnancy. No one has the time or energy to cook full meals constantly. So be prepared to snack often and not regret one bit of it.

                                1. Apple slices and almond butter
                                2. Steamed edamame (make sure any soy product you buy is organic, non-GMO)
                                3. Baked Sweet Potato with cinnamon
                                4. Toasted pumpkin seeds and sea salt
                                5. Raw veggies (bell peppers, carrots, celery, cucumber) dipped in hummus or greek yogurt
                                6. Baked Kale “chips” – toss kale leaves with a touch of olive oil and sea salt, bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until crispy
                                7. Texas Caviar – pinto beans, lime juice, cilantro, and pico de gallo
                                8. Frozen Blueberries or Grapes
                                9. Celery Sticks and Almond Butter
                                10. Endive Spears stuffed with chopped pear, (pasteurized) goat cheese, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
                                11. Greek yogurt with Strawberry slices, vanilla and cinnamon
                                12. Watermelon Popsicle – puree watermelon, greek yogurt or coconut milk, raw organic honey, pour into popsicle molds and freeze
                                13. Sugar Snap Peas dipped in warm goat cheese
                                14. Crab Stuffed Avocado – slice an avocado in half and stuff with a mixture of seasoned wild-caught crab meat, cucumber, carrot, and a little plain greek yogurt. Tastes like a california roll
                                15. Banana “Ice Cream” – Puree Bananas and walnuts with a splash of coconut milk (or your choice of milk) in a food processor. Put in freezer until it has consistency of ice cream.
                                16. Cherry Tomatoes (sliced) topped with pasteurized goat cheese
                                17. A handful of roasted almonds sprinkled with sea salt with 2 squares of dark chocolate
                                18. Whole wheat bagel, scooped out, with ricotta cheese and berries
                                19. Clementine sprinkled with cinnamon
                                20. Cucumber Salad – mix cucumber slices, greek yogurt, apple cider vinegar, chopped red onion, dill, and a sprinkle of turbinado sugar

                                Featured photo credit: Photo credit: JefferyW Title: Rib eye steak and fries via flickr.com

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                                Published on November 20, 2020

                                13 Practical Pieces of Advice for New Parents

                                13 Practical Pieces of Advice for New Parents

                                I have given birth to four babies (in the span of five years, all full term babies too). I have been a foster parent to several babies as well. Our first born only lived 8 weeks. He was diagnosed with a fatal genetic disorder several weeks after birth. Our second baby was actually a foster baby we had for 15 months. She was placed with us when she was seven weeks old. When she was eight months old, I gave birth to a baby girl. It was like having twins.

                                  And then we actually had twins. I learned quickly that twins are hard. Really hard. But they are fun too. Our twins are no longer babies. They are six years old. I do remember that first year clearly, even though much of it felt like a sleep deprived hazy existence.

                                  The first six months with my twins was sheer survival mode. They would both sleep for two hours and then wake for feeding. I would bottle feed them, while pumping milk (they were not good at nursing). After I fed them in the wee morning hours and middle of the night, I then changed them, swaddled both, and placed them in their bassinets close to my bed. Then it would start all over again. They would sleep for two hours and then wake to be fed once again. This routine went on for six months.

                                  Sleeping in two hour increments is not easy. I learned to go to bed at 8:00 pm, so that the two hour increments would add up to enough sleep to function by 7:00 am when our two year old daughter would wake and be ready to start the day.

                                  It was not easy to have three little ones at the same time, especially with twins who had reflux and colic to top things off. The non-stop crying every evening for hours is something I don’t wish on any parent. It is possible to survive this, in fact, I have friends who have quadruplets. They survived too.

                                  Our twin boys as newborns was a completely opposite experience than we had with both our foster daughter and our biological daughter when they were babies. The girls were easy babies. They required no “sleep training”, as both were sleeping through the night by three or four months of age on their own. They were happy, easily contented babies. I could take them to lunch with my girlfriends and they cooed happily and entertained nearby strangers with their smiles and baby talk. When I was caring for both baby girls, it made me wonder why so many mothers complained about lack of sleep, fussy babies, and the hardships involved in caring for a newborn. Having very difficult twin baby boys showed me that not all babies are alike.

                                  What I learned from all these babies I have cared for is that each baby is different. There is no one set formula that works for all babies. Each situation is unique, because every baby is unique. You can have an easy-going baby and it may make you think that all babies are that easy. They are not.

                                  If you are like most of us who have been blessed to become parents, you will experience ups and downs on a daily basis when you bring a newborn into your home. It will not be sheer bliss to have a baby. They are a great deal of work and take tremendous energy out of moms and dads. However, they can provide you with an overflowing heart filled with love and joy you didn’t know was possible.

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                                  Even though not all babies are alike, I can provide some tips to help you navigate the world of parenthood. Below are 13 practical tips I have for all new parents.

                                  1. Recognize That the First Year Is Usually Challenging

                                  I have heard people say that when they have kids it won’t change their life. They will simply take the baby along with them wherever they go. It’s a nice thought, but it doesn’t work out that way in reality.

                                  If you want to attend a concert, a newborn baby will likely not be able to be brought along. They will cry and interrupt others at the concert. Babies can’t go everywhere we go and do everything we are doing. They cry a great deal during that first year. They also require feeding every few hours. It puts a crimp in any lifestyle.

                                  The first year is challenging because having a baby will turn anyone’s world upside down. If you are the primary caregiver for a newborn, your life and schedule are no longer your own. You have a tiny human counting on you for feedings, changings, comforting, holding, rocking, swinging, being sung to, and whatever else it is that your baby will need from you.

                                  We like to think that our own baby will be an easy baby, especially if that is our own personality. The reality is that most babies are high maintenance. They require round the clock care and that it itself makes that first year challenging.

                                  2. Sleep When Baby Sleeps

                                  Because babies are so much work while they are awake, take the opportunity to sleep when they sleep. You can’t take a nap while they are awake. Therefore, don’t miss the opportunity to catch up on sleep while they are sleeping.

                                  It can be tempting to stay up late to binge watch your favorite show. However, the reality of struggling to care for a baby during the day when you are sleep deprived because you stayed up late and then they woke you up four times in six hours will make your day quite miserable. Avoid the misery and try to get enough sleep.

                                  Often, the only way this is feasible is to sleep when your baby is sleeping. It is exactly why I started going to bed at 8pm when my twins would go to bed. I knew that I would be woken up every two to three hours, so going to bed early was the only way I was able to get enough hours of sleep.

                                  3. Allow for Normal Household Noise

                                  My brother and his wife came to visit us a few years ago. Actually it was a 10-day extended stay because they had a hurricane in their area. They had a newborn baby who was two months old. I also had three small kids who were very loud and energetic all day long. We tried to keep the kids quiet so the baby could nap. Like most babies, their son was napping once in the morning and again in the afternoon.

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                                  At first their son would wake up with every tiny noise we made in the home. There was only so much that I could do. I wasn’t go to vacate our house for the majority of the day, just so their newborn could sleep. I knew one thing about babies that my brother and sister-in-law hadn’t learned yet. They learned this after a few days in our noisy home. I told them that if they didn’t rush to get him every time he wakes because of a small noise he will learn to sleep through the noise. By the end of the week, he was napping just fine through our chaos filled noisy household activities.

                                  I have done the same with my own children. We allow for normal household noise, including talking, cooking, and everyday activities to commence. The baby is often asleep in a nearby bedroom, but they certainly aren’t cut off from the noise.

                                  When you whisper while baby sleeps and insist on silence in your home for your sleeping baby, then your baby becomes a sleeper who is easily woken by any sound. If you condition your baby to sleep through normal household noises they will learn to be good sleepers in spite of the noise.

                                  4. Don’t Get Hung Up on Advice From Others

                                  New parents get a lot of unsolicited advice, especially from family and friends. Keep in mind that they are giving advice because they love you and they are trying to help. However, you don’t have to follow the advice of others just because they offer it. You do what is best for your own baby.

                                  Just because your sister tells you that you must use organic cloth diapers because it worked well for her children doesn’t mean that you have to take the advice. You can say “thank you” and then do whatever is best for your own family.

                                  5. Accept Help When Offered

                                  Babies and small children are a lot of work. I hope that if you can learn anything from me it is that no baby is really “easy”. They all require lots of time, energy, effort, and love.

                                  When you have trusted people in your life offer to help, then accept their help. My mother-in-law flew in to help us after the twins were born. She was going to stay a week. She offered to stay longer and ended up extending her stay twice, for a total of three weeks.

                                  If she would have offered to stay longer, I would have accepted the help. It was a blessing to have her there to help us, as we were in survival mode those first few months.

                                  6. Breastfeed or Formula: Do What Works Best for Your Situation

                                  The benefits of breastmilk have been proven by science to be better than formula. However, how much better? And at what cost? There are too many women who beat themselves up emotionally because they are unable to breastfeed for one reason or another.

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                                  If your baby is being fed, you are doing a good job. Our foster daughter only had formula as an infant. Many children only have formula because it is the only option available. Our foster daughter is now a healthy and smart girl. Formula did not negatively affect her development. What was most important was that she was fed. This is true of all babies.

                                  So do what is best for your own situation. If you end up giving your baby formula, remind yourself that millions, if not billions, of babies have grown up on formula and end up being healthy, intelligent, well adjusted people.

                                  7. Don’t Compare Your Baby to Other Babies

                                  All babies are different. It is not good or bad. Some babies have colic. It doesn’t mean that they will have issues later. My twins both had reflux and colic and they are healthy and happy six year old’s now.

                                  Babies all develop at different rates. You can have one baby who walks at nine months and another that doesn’t until 14 months and they are both healthy and happy.

                                  Don’t compare your baby to other babies. The range of “normal” for development is quite wide. If you legitimately have a concern about their development then ask your pediatrician.

                                  8. Take a Shower, It Will Make You Feel Better

                                  We often don’t take care of ourselves as new moms or dads. Many parents spend their life caring for their children to the extent that their own self care goes by the wayside.

                                  As a new parent, one way to care for yourself is by showering daily. It will help you feel refreshed. Even if it is a five minute quick shower it will help you feel better.

                                  9. Get Out of the House and Meet Fellow Moms/Dads

                                  Don’t think you have to parent alone! There are so many parent groups to join. As a new mom, I joined MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and developed some wonderful mom friendships that have lasted for years.

                                  Look for local mom groups in your particular area. Connection is something that is helpful to all of us; especially connections with others who are going through the same phase of life and have similar experiences.

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                                  10. Get Outside and Walk

                                  If you are the one who gave birth, then getting up and becoming active can be hard at first. Birth is really hard on our bodies. A simple way to get active that will help with your mood as well is to get outside and go on walks.

                                  Put the baby in the stroller and get yourself walking outside, even if it is just around the block to get started. You will find that the fresh air and blood pumping through your body will help brighten your mood and spirit.

                                  11. Find the Humor in Your New Life

                                  Don’t take your life too seriously. Be willing to laugh at the humorous things when they happen. For example, the blow out diaper that happens immediately after you have bathed and dressed your baby. Your little one is happily cooing and smiling at you when it happens, while you are literally covered in….poop.

                                  These things are bound to happen. Be willing to laugh and find the humor in life.

                                  12. Take Photos Because Time Flies

                                  The days may seem long but the years are short. Time goes by quicker than you will realize.

                                  Take photos and videos, even when nothing special is happening, because they grow up fast. You will blink and they are no longer babies, blink again and they are no longer toddlers.

                                  Capture life as it is happening, because tomorrow they are another day older and you can’t get that day back.

                                  13. Bond with Your Baby and Enjoy the Present

                                  Enjoy life with your baby and cherish the small moments as they happen. Take the time to breathe in the baby smell that comes from the top of their head, gaze at them as they sleep peacefully in your arms, and soak up the baby giggles. These are the precious moments and memories that will keep you fueled through the many days and nights that will be a struggle.

                                  They are only babies once, so be sure to take mental snapshots of those precious moments that you want to capture for a lifetime.

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                                  Featured photo credit: Sharon McCutcheon via unsplash.com

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