It’s no surprise many mums tend to put their children first and themselves last, but new research from Bellamy’s Organic reveals how mounting parenting pressures can hurt the health of Aussie mums.
The research polled over 1,000 Australian mums, revealing more than nine in 10 forsake their health and nutrition due to the pressures of being a good mum. And to make matters worse – many mums are then made to feel bad for not looking or feeling their best.
Two-thirds (66%) of Aussie mums say they feel unfairly judged if they do not lose baby weight quickly enough after giving birth and just over half (53%) say they feel judged about their appearance when they step out in public. Over half (54%) of the respondents said that comments and advice from family and friends affect their feelings the most – whether the comments were well meaning or not.
Commenting on the research, paediatric nutritionist, dietitian and mum to five-month-old twins Susie Burrell says new mums need to ignore pressures and judgements, and instead prioritise their own health and nutrition to avoid longer lasting health challenges.
“It’s time for mums to put both their kids and themselves first because no one should lose when it comes to parenting,” Burrell comments. “While it’s important not to pressure new mums the data is clear. Good nutrition is important and retaining excessive weight beyond 12 months predicts weight retention long-term. We must look to practical strategies to ensure mums prioritise their health and nutrition – which is essential in the first 12 months of having a baby.”
Burrell believes that many mothers often neglect their health due to the ongoing pressures facing the modern day mum. Research findings revealed the majority (83%) of mothers reported they feel judged by strangers when their children misbehave in public and two-thirds (68%) feel bad judged for having ‘me time’ away from their children. About three-quarters (72%) of respondents reported feeling judged if they return to work shortly after birth and about half (46%) say they feel judged if they drink alcohol while breastfeeding.
To help empower mums to put themselves first when it comes to parenting and nutrition, Susie Burrell has worked with Bellamy’s Organic on the tips below for a healthy mum and bub:
- Eat breakfast as soon as you get up ensuring you maintain optimum nutrition and energy levels
- Don’t skip lunch in favour of coffee
- Breastfeeding means you will need to increase your overall calorie intake – look to high protein foods like lean meat and fish and calcium rich foods like yoghurt and milk
- Reduce snacking by cutting out kid’s leftovers and second dinners from the diet
Further findings from the research showed that the majority (86%) of Australian mums have been made to feel like they are a bad mum. Over one-third (38%) of mums polled reported being made to feel like a bad mum from comments made by strangers in public. The research shows that comments from people closest to mum have the biggest affect on her.
Mums’ perceptions are also affected by things they have seen or read on social media (49%), followed closely by things seen on TV, the radio or online (42%). Just under half (42%) of mums polled ranked stares from people in the street and comments made by health care professionals (36%) as having a negative impact on their perception of themselves as a parent.
Burrell says, “Interestingly, the research shows new mums are far less concerned with comments made by strangers outside their inner circle – noting friends and family, and social media as the top influencers.
“In the past couple of decades parenting has changed. While traditionally we relied on advice and support from family, parenting experts and health care professionals – new mums now turn to social media sites and online mother’s forums which have opened up an entirely new world of criticism for millennial mothers – leaving them often overwhelmed by the sheer volume of opinion and conflicting advice available.”
About the Expert
Bellamy’s is an Australian-made organic foods company. We provide a pure start to life for babies and young children everywhere and are passionate about promoting healthy eating practices. Certified by NASAA, Bellamy’s are proud to be making a positive contribution to the wellbeing of this and future generations by helping people on a path to Mindful Eating.
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