How Mothers Can Stay Fit & Healthy in Winters? Challenges, Foods & Hygiene Tips
Created by Tasneem Sariya Updated on Jan 08, 2020
How can mothers stay fit and healthy during winter? The winters are a wonderful time of the year. But if you are a mom to a little child, the winters can quite literally give you the chills. The low temperatures coupled with lessened immunity mean that both you and your child are prone to catching a cold or infection. This is more a matter of worry if you are breastfeeding the child. So, here active mom, Tasneem, is to help you stay fit and healthy during the winter season. [Know More: How to Manage Gestational Diabetes in Winter & Responsible Factors, Impact?]
Winter Health Challenges for Lactating Mothers?
Lactating mothers need to be more cautious during winters. Mother’s milk is the largest source of antibodies for babies. But if the health of the mother is affected, the health of the baby can be altered too. Thus lactating or breastfeeding mothers have to take care of their health and fitness levels, especially in the first year of the child’s birth.
Why Is Winter Health Awareness Important for Mothers?
In general, everyone should try and follow a health guide for winters. However, for mothers with young children staying healthy and fit is more important. Sadly, mothers get so caught up worrying and taking care of their infants, that they often ignore their own health and fitness. But, it has to be remembered that a healthy and fit mother can raise a healthy child.
Winter Health Guide for Mothers
The ideal winter health guide for mothers includes:
Fitness plans that include exercising, remaining active and sleeping well.
Basic sanitation rules
Winter Healthy Foods for Mothers
Nutritious and energy building foods are ideal for winter. For mothers of infants who are wondering where to get the energy to look after the baby and themselves, see below the best healthy foods to consume during the winters.
1. Dairy Products – Calcium is the most important nutrient that is required by mothers because it helps in the strengthening of bones. Breastfeeding mothers are also encouraged to add dairy products in their diet to help the baby gain calcium, protein, and vitamins. So add cheese, yogurt, paneer in your diet this winter.
2. Legumes and cereals– Kidney beans and black beans are high in iron content and important to consume by mothers.
3. Seasonal fruits and vegetables – Undoubtedly, winter is the best time when fresh vegetables and fruits find a way in our diet. Enjoy oranges and apples. Add the leafy cabbage, spinach, lettuce, and carrot in your meals. But don’t forget the root vegetables, such as beetroot, radish and sweet potato too.
4. Dry fruits – Packed with high nutrition value and very easy to munch on dry fruits are a quick and effective addition to a mother’s diet. Snack a few almonds, cashews and raisins in the evening. Dry fruits generate heat in the body and are hence ideal for winter.
5. Eggs and chicken – Eggs are often also called a superfood. In winter eggs provide high energy and are rich in protein and vitamins, plus help to keep the body warm. On the other hand, chicken too is good food for mothers and can be consumed in various forms, including soup broth.
6. Garlic, ginger, and honey – Ginger keeps the body warm during winters and increases the rate of metabolism and blood flow. Garlic is said to increase mother’s milk. So don’t forget to add these in your curries or brew a hot cup of tea with ginger for some extra warmth. And honey is one of the best moisturizers and antioxidants.
Some other healthy winter food options are salmon, blueberries, brown rice, whole-grain cereal and more.
Winter Healthy Drinks for Mothers
Water – It might seem a no brainer but it is equally essential to remain hydrated during the winters as it is in the summers. Keeping your body hydrated keeps the immunity system strong. The mucous membrane in the nose is kept sticky and moist by consuming enough water during the day. The mucus helps to trap bacteria and viruses and avoiding infections.
Fresh juices and soups – Sip on a juice or opt for a warmer soup, either provide nutrition to especially lactating mothers.
Milk – Again an important drink for breastfeeding mothers, milk is also high on calcium and hence an essential drink that must be included by mothers in their daily diet.
Aerated drinks and alcohol – It is best to avoid aerated drinks and alcohol for both the mother’s and baby’s health. Opt for fresh juices or milkshakes instead of canned or bottled aerated drinks.
What Should Be Sanitation & Hygiene for Healthy Mothers
Basic hygiene and sanitation can help avoid contact with germs that can eventually lead to illnesses. Winters are especially the time when mothers and infants can catch a cold or cough quite easily. The cold air traps the bacteria and infections are more accessible to children and mothers. Hence following a simple sanitation checklist can help in the long run.
Wash your hands before eating anything
Carry tissue or sanitizer wherever you go out with your baby.
Try to keep the ventilation open in your room. Due to the cold, we tend to close doors and windows, but in the process, a constantly closed room is also the breeding ground for microbes. Allow some kind of air circulation in your and the baby’s room to avoid this.
Allow sunshine whenever possible because the sun is the best source of Vitamin D. Though at times the sun may not shine for long during winters, make use of whatever you can. Open your windows or go for a quick walk with your child when it is sunny.
Wash your woolen wears regularly. Woolens attract more dust than normal cotton clothes. Washing them at regular intervals ensures that they are clean and free of dust and microbes.
Change your mattress and quilts regularly. When you sleep on the mattress, skin flakes collect on it. Besides, there can be saliva, mucus, etc. too.
Have a bath! Yes, it is cold and you might be tempted to skip the bathing ritual every day. In fact, even during winters, you do sweat and keeping your body clean helps avoid infections.
Fitness Tips for Mothers During Winters
So, you are eating healthy, drinking healthy and taking care of your hygiene. The next step is to mind your fitness. For mothers, this is generally a big task at hand. For busy moms, working moms or stay-at-home moms, finding time to maintain their fitness can be very daunting. Add to that trying to lose all the extra weight gained during pregnancy and the first year of your child’s birth. Here are a few fitness tips to help mothers during the winter:
Workouts are not always about going to the gym. It could mean Zumba dancing, taking a brisk 20-minute walk or even just letting your body loosen up by listening to your favorite songs. This way you will be able to give yourself the much needed ‘me’ time along with trying to burn the calories.
Simple fitness tricks, such as using the stairs instead of the lift can go a long way in helping the overall fitness and health of your body.
Try to find time to do yoga or watch and do simple exercise videos for 15-20 minutes each day. Involve your child if required to make it a fun activity for both of you.
Don’t make the baby or the cold outside an excuse for not going out. Try and head out whenever you can to keep yourself on the move and active at all times.
Try to set for yourself fitness goals. But keep them real. Fitness goals are the first step to mentally get you orientated towards a fit and healthy lifestyle. But of course, do not set drastic goals because your baby is still relatively young and on many days things may not go as planned.
Be happy! This may sound naïve, but studies have shown that mothers of babies and infants are prone to higher levels of depression and stress. On the other hand, winters are often deemed as gloomy, dark and cold all adding to the sense of unhappiness. So enjoy your time with your baby, ask for help and give yourself some alone time to rejuvenate and refresh yourself.
Winter Safety Tips for Mothers
Infections can be caught easily during the winters. Try to keep a distance from those already suffering from cold and cough. But, if the infection bug hits you too, be sure to seek medical health as soon as you can. Finally, here is taking a look at some quick tips to help all mothers be healthy and fit:
Try and drink warm water often. You can also squeeze a lemon in it to increase immunity. Similarly, have a bath with lukewarm water during winters.
Apply moisturizing agents to avoid skin irritation and dryness
Dress yourself and your baby in winter outfits, especially when you step outside the home. Catching a cold can be avoided by dressing warmly.
Eat the right foods in the right proportions. One can tend to feel hungrier during winters and hence it is better to have smaller meals at regular time intervals.
Give yourself enough rest and sleep.
Avoid eating straight out of the refrigerator. Cold food intake increases the chances of cough and cold.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Should mothers include lots of ghee in their diet when their child is young?
A: The common perception over generations has been that ghee helps in building immunity and is good for lactating mothers. Though ghee is a good addition in the mother’s diet, too much of it is not advised. Also, some experts believe that juices and soups can supplement the nutrition of ghee too.
Q: Is it safe for mothers and babies to be outdoors during winter?
A: Yes, just make sure that you and your little one are well covered. Ears, throat, and feet are important body points that can facilitate catching infections. Make sure to cover these before stepping out.
Q: If the mother catches an infection can she still feed and handle the baby?
A: It was believed that the infection from the mother can immediately affect the baby. However, scientific studies have not been able to prove so conclusively. Of course, if the mother is healthy she will be in a better position to take care of her baby, but being sick doesn’t necessarily mean that the infant will also be ill.
Q: Can mothers have ice cream or cold drinks during winters?
A: Avoid aerated drinks and cold food items. You can instead have soups or freshly made juices. But having ice cream once in a while should be alright.
Q: What if the mother has no time in the mornings to exercise?
A: Mothers are busy throughout the day and especially in the mornings when the child just gets up. If you are unable to find time in the morning, you can choose to exercise at any time during the day. Try to take out 20 minutes for yourself, in which you can do simple cardio and stretching exercises.