TV personality and new mum Jennifer Maguire admits she was “a basket case” in the early weeks after bringing home now six-month-old baby Florence.
“I had unbelievable mood swings and chronic fatigue. I was crying for no reason,” says the Breakfast Republic radio host, who recently launched research commissioned by pregnancy supplement brand Pregnacare.
This found only 25% of new mums look after their health/wellbeing post-pregnancy.
Some 92% reported differences in energy levels since baby’s arrival, with two-thirds getting four to six hours nightly shut eye.
“Florence isn’t a bad sleeper – I was keeping myself awake with anxieties. I became obsessed with temperature in the room. I put so much pressure on myself.
"You’re running on empty. You’re so busy with a newborn. Nobody tells you to look after yourself,” says Jennifer.
“In this happiest moment of your life you want to enjoy your bundle of joy. You don’t want stupid things like hormonal acne – which I got – and hair loss getting in the way.”
Jennifer has lost the baby weight but says this wasn’t “a conscious thing”. Exercising for 40 minutes is as much about “decompressing” and maintaining energy and mental wellness as it is about keeping trim.
“I’d be quite a slim build anyway and breastfeeding helped too.
“Before, it was all about going out to clubs, having late nights, meeting for drinks. Now, I go out for an early bird [meal] and bring baby with me. I go out at 5pm instead of 9pm.
"My husband’s a great cook so we’re all for having people over. Having a baby doesn’t have to disrupt your life. If you think it will, don’t have a baby – if you’re not ready for it.”
Can women have it all – baby and career? “I have a career and a baby. I manage fine.
"I’m self-employed and manage my own time. Apart from my radio show, I get to race home and be with her for most of the day.
"Lau’s an actor – he doesn’t work every day so he’s with her most of the time. My mum helps out so we haven’t had to use a crèche.”
A straight talker, who’s happy to challenge on-air guests with robust questioning, Jennifer says motherhood hasn’t “changed me much when it comes to what I say or do at work” but it has made her “a lot more sensitive” when it comes to media coverage of children.
“I’m not very good at looking at any tragedy in the world – babies in lifejackets would be a weak spot for me.”
* Stay calm – it can take time for sleep patterns to normalise after having a baby.
* In early months, catch 40 winks or just rest and clear your mind a little.
* Don’t put pressure on yourself by thinking baby should be in a sleeping routine from the start.
* As long as it’s safe, let baby sleep wherever is easiest for you — whether in their crib or in a co-sleeper alongside you.
From sleep consultant Niamh O’Reilly
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