Childproof Your Health

empty plate, surrounded by raw vegetables( — Being a mom or dad comes with health benefits—lots of feel-good oxytocin from the cuddles, a reduced risk of breast cancer (really)—but a new study from the University of Minnesota Medical School pointed out some sneaky health traps parents can fall into, too. Avoid them with this expert advice.

You clean your child plate.

Calories add up quickly—the moms in our study easily took in 300 more calories per day than women without kids,” says study author Jerica Berge, Ph.D. “That could just be two leftover chicken nuggets.” Repeat after us: We are not human garbage disposals! Don’t feel bad about tossing your kid’s uneaten leftovers if they can’t be saved for another day.

Stress lives in the house, too.

Your many roles—chauffeur, nurse, mediator—can leave you frazzled. And chronic stress lowers your defenses against germs and viruses, and may increase your risk of depression, says Berge. So take some time to mother yourself.