Being a mom is a full-time job. But that doesn’t mean you must forget about yourself and dedicate all your 24 hours to caring for your baby. While that might be your maternal instinct, especially if you are a new mom, it is not always the best strategy. To be the best mother to your little bundle of joy, you need to ensure your practicing self-care first.
Postpartum self-care is all about taking a break to focus on yourself and show yourself some self-love. As moms, we often have to deal with many societal expectations on how we should “mother.” And if that wasn’t enough, there is always the self-doubt of, “Am I doing this right?”
The truth is there is no perfect mutual to follow. Every mother has their unique experience. But one thing we have in common is feeling overwhelmed, especially during the first few weeks. The transition to parenthood can often be stressful and uncertain.
If left unchecked, this stress and uncertainty can quickly turn into anxiety and depression. To avoid this, we need to spend more time and energy taking good care of ourselves and for the sake of our kids. And this can only be achieved if we get into the habit of postpartum self-care.
In this article, I’ll share ten essential self-care tips every mom needs to practice.
Get Yourself Some “ME TIME”
During postpartum, it’s easy to feel like you’re constantly putting the needs of your new baby before your own. However, it’s important to remember that taking care of yourself is just as crucial for your well-being as your child’s. That’s why it’s essential to prioritize some “me time” in your daily routine.
During those first few weeks of motherhood, it’s completely understandable that you might feel overwhelmed and lost in the chaos. However, focusing on yourself for a few minutes daily can help you maintain balance and rejuvenate. Whether catching up on a hobby or simply taking a quick nap, carve out some time for yourself every day.
To make the most of your “me time,” schedule it during your baby’s naptime or when they’re in someone else’s care. This way, you won’t have to worry about interruptions and can fully immerse yourself. By prioritizing self-care and getting little breaks, you’ll feel more refreshed and energized, and better equipped to handle the demands of motherhood.
Reconnect With Loved Ones and Build a Community
As a new mother, it’s natural to feel like your newborn is your entire world. However, it’s essential to remember that you have a support system of loved ones who can offer you guidance, encouragement, and a listening ear. Taking the time to reconnect with these individuals can provide a sense of comfort and help you practice self-care.
Whether it’s your spouse, family, or friends, reaching out to those who care about you can make a world of difference. A simple phone call or coffee date can offer a much-needed break from the demands of motherhood and allow you to share your experiences with people who care for and love you.
Additionally, you might want to start thinking about building a community of like-minded individuals. This is a valuable opportunity to learn and grow as a new mother. Joining parenthood groups on social media platforms like Facebook and Discord can help you connect with others who are going through similar experiences.
Surrounding yourself with people who can offer guidance and encouragement can help you navigate the challenges of postpartum life with greater ease and confidence.
Ensure You’re Eating Healthy
The postpartum period can be hectic, and sometimes you might get soo busy changing diapers and soothing your baby that you miss lunch or breakfast. Or end up eating no-so-healthy foodstuff. A nutritious and healthy diet is important for you and the baby during this stage. And it doesn’t need to be boring, nor do you need to eat bland food.
Consider adopting practical strategies such as meal prepping to make healthy eating easier and more manageable. By planning meals for the week ahead, you can ensure that you always have healthy and nutritious options in your fridge, even when you’re short on time.
When it comes to selecting the right foods, aim for those that can aid in postpartum recovery and lactation. Incorporating foods rich in Vitamin A, C, and Iron can help speed up your collagen formation and accelerate recovery. Additionally, staying well-hydrated is crucial for your health and milk production.
While it can be tempting to indulge in comfort foods, especially during stressful times, try to make healthier choices whenever possible. Eating well can not only improve your own physical and mental health, but it can also benefit your baby’s development and growth.
Relax, Rest, and Get Adequate Sleep
Babies can be a handful. And as a new mom, you might be too attuned to the newborn schedule that you forget about yours. This means if they are awake, you have to be awake. And when they are asleep, your to-do list is often too long that you might want to use any spare minutes to accomplish some pilling-up tasks.
Well, this can affect you and prevent you from taking the proper rest you deserve and need. Sleep and rest are important when trying to take care of yourself as well as your baby. They can make such a big difference to your state of mind and energize you to be the super mom you want to be.
Therefore, it’s important to prioritize sleep, even if that means asking for help from a trusted friend or family member to watch your baby for a few hours.
Finally, consider taking time to relax. Some relaxing activities you can try include:
- Catching up on your shows
- Reading a book
- Going for a postpartum massage
- Taking a long warm birth
- Taking a nap
Get Active With 5-Minute Exercise and Yoga
One effective way to alleviate some of that physical and emotional strain during the postpartum period is to get active. Engaging in physical activity can significantly impact your energy levels and overall mood. Fortunately, various simple and accessible exercise options don’t require a gym membership or extensive training you can choose from.
First, you need to get clearance from your doctor. Afterward, you can begin with gentle exercises such as stretching, postpartum yoga, dancing, and walking. These exercises can help you find your inner calm and alleviate any aches and pains. Walking is particularly beneficial for postpartum recovery. It provides a low-impact way to get some fresh air and exercise.
If you are unsure where to begin, seek advice from your doctor or a certified postpartum exercise specialist, like a doula. They can guide you through safe and effective exercises tailored to your needs. You can also find helpful exercise resources online, such as instructional videos on YouTube or postpartum exercise apps.
Incorporating physical activity into your postpartum routine can profoundly impact your physical and emotional well-being. By taking small steps towards a more active lifestyle, you can enjoy the benefits of improved energy, reduced stress, and increased mobility.
Got Stuck? Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help
As a new mom, it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed and stuck sometimes. After all, you are trying to balance caring for your newborn and yourself. Therefore, don’t hesitate to ask for help or accept it when it’s offered.
During the first few weeks postpartum, you’ll likely have family and friends reaching out with offers of assistance, so take advantage of their generosity. And whenever you feel overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to reach out.
It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to do everything on your own. If you need to attend to something else, consider enlisting the help of loved ones. They can help you accomplish the task or offer to babysit for a few hours, giving you a much-needed break.
You may also want to consider hiring a nanny or postpartum doula if you can afford it. They can provide invaluable support during the postpartum period, helping you navigate the challenges of new motherhood with ease.
Remember, asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Don’t be afraid to lean on your support system during this exciting but challenging time in your life.
Educate Yourself on Parenthood
Becoming a new mother can be both exciting and intimidating. For many first-time moms, caring for a newborn can be daunting, especially if they lack knowledge about the various aspects of motherhood. However, educating yourself on the subject can be empowering, helping you to strike a healthy balance between self-care and childcare.
By immersing yourself in learning about parenthood, you can gain the confidence and reassurance you need to care for your baby effectively. A good way to start is by listening to parenting podcasts, reading books, and watching informative videos. These resources can provide you with valuable tips on how to navigate the ups and downs of motherhood.
They say knowledge is power, and the more you learn about motherhood, the better you will make informed decisions about your child’s well-being. By investing time in yourself and your education, you can set yourself up for success and enjoy the parenting journey with greater ease and confidence.
Start a Journal or Get a Diary
As a new mom, it’s common to feel a range of emotions, including anxiety and feeling out of control. One simple and effective way to manage these feelings is by starting a journal or diary. Expressing your emotions and recording your experiences can help you process your thoughts and feelings, providing a sense of release and relief.
Writing down your frustrations and concerns effectively clears your mind of negative thoughts and helps you better understand your current emotional state. Additionally, keeping a journal can be a powerful tool for capturing those special moments with your child that a camera may not fully capture.
By setting aside time each day to reflect on your experiences and emotions, you can better navigate your new fulfilling life better. So go ahead and pick up that diary and start writing down your thoughts and feelings — you might be surprised at how therapeutic it can be!
Meditation is all about relaxing and clearing your headspace. It is one of the best postnatal care you should embrace. New mummies go through various kinds of discomforts that can stress them after delivering a baby. Meditation can help you calm your head space.
For beginners, here is a step-by-step guide to help you meditate.
Step 1: Find a quiet place and comfortable place to sit
Step 2: Close your eyes and place your hands on your lap.
Step 3: Start by breathing in for five seconds. Here, you want to focus on your breath and the fresh air coming in.
Step 4: Slowly breathe out through your mouth for seven to ten seconds. Do this while focusing on the warm air going out.
As you master meditation, you can increase the meditation to three to five minutes daily and increase the time as you get comfortable.
It is common for friends and family to want to visit you and your newborn during the postpartum period. They might be coming to see the baby, bearing gifts, or just coming to offer a helping hand. While these visits can be a source of support and joy, sometimes they can come at a less optimal time.
When this happens, they can disrupt your schedule and overwhelm you when you’re already adjusting to a major life change. This is why setting boundaries is crucial.
Setting boundaries doesn’t mean pushing loved ones away; it’s about communicating your needs and expectations clearly and respectfully. For example, you can politely request that they call ahead to ensure a time that works for both of you. This will help you manage your schedule, prevent unexpected disruptions, and allow you to prepare properly.
Don’t Feel Guilty, You Deserve Self-care
Caring for yourself is as important as caring for your baby during postpartum. It’s understandable to feel guilty about taking time for yourself, but it’s important to remember that self-care is not selfish.
Leaving your baby with a trusted caregiver or taking a few moments to yourself does not make you a bad parent. It’s normal to need a break, and doing so will help you recharge to be the best parent possible.
According to Psychology Today, Self-care can help replenish a parent’s energy, focus, and positivity. It also helps you set boundaries with your little one.
So, if you’re feeling guilty about taking a break, remember that you are doing the best for yourself and your baby. Prioritizing self-care is a sign of strength, and it will only make you a better, more resilient parent in the long run.