As mothers, we often put ourselves last, making sure that everyone else is taken care of before we take care of ourselves. We get lots of reminders to look after ourselves first, bit too few of us take this advice, and lots of us don’t take the time to care for ourselves as well as we did. In fact, it’s not just okay to take care of yourself, it’s essential, especially when you’re postpartum.
Self-Care Tips For New Moms
Assemble Your Village
After the chaos of delivering a baby and everyone you’ve ever met queuing up to meet your new addition, it’s natural to want some more quiet time together as a new family. After a few days of getting used to parenthood, you can start to reach out to your friends, family, coworkers, or neighbors. Most of the people you love will probably be happy to give your the time or resources in exchange for cuddles with the baby.
Your in-laws might be willing to bring over dinner one evening a week for you. Perhaps your neighbor might be willing to mow the lawn for you. Call a friend who wants to visit you and ask them to pick up some essentials from the store for you. Accept offers to take the dog for a walk, run the vacuum around, or put through a load of laundry.
Find Your Sanctuary
We spend a lot of time getting the nursery ready, but often forget to leave any space for ourselves. Create a cozy nook in your home where you can relax. Plants and natural light are ideal for this. Think about what else you find relaxing, whether that’s a fish tank, a fireplace, or a water feature. A special chair can also help to define a space as yours.
Reclaim Your Day
Regularly taking part in a hobby, whether that’s knitting, listening to music, or meditating, can be very effective for combatting stress.
Make sure to leave yourself time to play. While your baby sleeps, you might be tempted to use the time to catch up on chores or work, but make sure you use at least some of that time for yourself, whether that’s baking, a nap, reading a book, or taking a quiet moment with a coffee.
Never underestimate how much a bath or a shower can help. Have someone else watch the baby, so you can take an undisturbed bath or shower and let yourself relax. Put out plants and candles in your bathroom to create a spa-like feeling. Sometimes, even only a quick shower can make you feel more human. If there’s nobody to watch the baby, a bouncer in the bathroom can give you the time to at least wash your hair.
Get Out Of The House
It’s very easy after having a baby to let your world shrink down to the confines of your home. Make time with friends to get out of the house. You can get a coffee, book a manicure, or take a walk in the park. Make some time together, with or without the baby, a ritual, so it doesn’t get forgotten.
If your baby likes going in the stroller or the car, take some time to explore. Go on a day trip to find a place you’ve never been or have always wanted to go. Or, leave the baby with family, and take a few hours to go somewhere on your own. Make time to do the things you liked to do before you had a baby.
Pursue A Passion With Your Partner
Life is busy, and it can be easy to forget to concentrate on your relationship. Healthy relationships take time and work. If you and your partner stop communicating, it can be easy for resentment to come to the surface.
Find an activity that you can do together that leans on your shared values. Maybe you both love to cook, so you could plan to make dinner together once a week. This is time together and helps you to eat a healthy and easy diet while breastfeeding. If you both enjoy exercise, learn a new sport together. Even just committing to a screen-free night to spend time together can help.
Take Care Of Your Body
Your postpartum body is still going a lot of changes, so you need to take care of yourself.
You might feel eager to get back to your pre-baby body, but remember that you still extra calories and nutrients if you’re nursing. Go easy on yourself, concentrate on eating nutritious food.
Drink enough water. A lot of new Moms are so busy that they forget to stay hydrated. Put slices of lemon or cucumber in your water to add some flavor, and keep a water bottle with you.
Plan in one day a week to sleep in while someone else looks after the baby. Try to sync your sleep with your baby to make up for being woken for night feeds. You can also try apps to help you fall asleep faster. Some Moms like to wear a comfortable sleep bra, with easy access for nursing, and breast pads to protect you from leaks disturbing your sleep.
Exercise can help you to have more energy and enthusiasm during the day. You might not have time to get to the gym, but you could try going for a walk or a run with a jogging stroller, cycling with the baby, or going a local exercise class aimed at Moms with newborns. Online workouts are a great way to fit in exercise at home. Start slowly, and be gentle with yourself.
Rid Yourself Of Mom Chaos
There will be some days where you feel like you can’t get going. You might feel scattered, tired, and fragmented from trying to do too many things at once and not doing any of them well. Hours can go by while you’re trying to get things done, but you don’t get the sense of accomplishment from completing anything.
Try to focus on a thing at a time. Even new babies can make a lot of mess, between diapers, clothes, burp cloths, towels, and bottles. It can be frustrating to feel like you aren’t making a dent in the mess. When you have days like this, try to pick one task, finish that, and only then move onto another.
Give yourself permission to let go. If you’re overwhelmed, forget dinner, and order in. Let the laundry and the dishes be for now. Put your phone on silent. Everything will still be there later. When you do feel overwhelmed, it can help to take a few minutes to write down everything that is running through your mind. Whether this is items that need to go onto your to-do list, ideas for work projects or moments that you want to remember, writing them down will help to clear your mind so you can concentrate.
Use Siri or Alexa. When you’re not sleeping enough and always being interrupted, it can be tough to keep track of what you’re doing. Virtual assistant software, like Siri or Alexa, can be used to remind you to complete important tasks. For example, ask her to remind you to reply to a text or put a load of laundry in.
Track important events and milestones in your baby’s life. Find a calendar or an app that you like and use. You can sync this up with your to-do list too. You can use an app to track the basics of baby care like, poops, feeding times, and naps, to help you stay on track.